Book review by Aarene Storms: A Game of Fox and Squirrels

Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Game of Fox and Squirrels by Jenn Reese

11-year-old Samantha and her older sister Caitlin have abruptly left their home in Los Angeles to live in Oregon with an aunt they've never met. 

Sam just wants to go back -- back home, to her parents, to her friends, and to the way her life was before she said something that changed everything.

When Aunt Vicky gives Sam a mysterious card game, Sam falls in love with the beautiful animal characters in the game: the clever squirrels, and especially the charming fox Ashander.

Ashander promises her an adventure and a reward, and Sam accepts the challenge. But somehow, the rules keep changing, and Sam isn't sure she can ever win this game.

Thinly-veiled metaphor often puts my teeth on edge, but this story was so deftly written that I kept turning pages and hoping that Sam and Caitlin would get the happy ending and safe home that every child deserves.

I won't spoil the ending for you, but I will say that it pleased me very much. The author's note at the back of the book is beautiful, and her website contains not only extra resources for those facing domestic abuse, but also rules for the actual card game -- including ideas for winning.

References to physical and emotional abuse, but no violence towards children on the page. This book may upset some readers; it might reassure others. Recommended for ages 10 to adult.

Aarene Storms Teen Services Librarian
King County Library System
astorms@kcls.org



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