Author: Shelley Hrdlitschka
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 259
My Rating: 5/5
Every year, the graduating students of Slippery Rock High plays a traditional game called Gotcha. Every participant is given a set of beads and a person that they need to tag. The goal is to collect as much beads from the other players as possible. The prize? A nice sum of cash.
Since it is banned due to the dangerous conditions a few previous students accidentally slipped into, the game goes underground. This year, the grade twelve students are excited to play Gotcha more than ever!
Katie is a role model student who is dragged by her best friend, Paige, into playing the game. At first, she refuses and tries to back out, thinking it is all stupid. Then she does something that gives her no choice but to become the Gotcha winner. Trying to get through the game, it becomes more life-threatening as the number of people untagged decreases. Katie loses her friends, her thrust among her peers, and possibly what she worked for her whole life.
The author have weaved a touching and realistic story about teen protagonist struggling to deal with her own personal problems and the ones around her. Katie is a girl you can feel sympathetic for even when her actions are wrong. Her betrayal to her friend may seem terrible at first but you need to be in her shoes before saying anything. Her home life is not so great either. She lives with an overweight mother who makes cookies constantly and her father just one day packed up and left. The teen is working hard to earn scholarships so she can break free from the environment she is in. I am quite envious of her. She is such a hard worker and it shows through. Me on the other hand is quite lazy and is addicted to the internet. I wish I am more studious like Katie.
The story totally grabbed my attention on the first page. I love how just one game sets off a series of misfortune. When a group of teens who are addicted to something, it can become quite scary. This novel reveals how frightening the human race can be. Gotcha is like a mind drug to Katie's classmates, tearing apart friendships and possible limbs as everyone is out to get each other. I could not put down the book and finished it as quickly as I could.
From beginning to end, the whole novel is gripping. I recommend this novel to every teen out there! Especially to the fans of I Know It's Over, another fantastic story written by the Canadian author, C.K. Kelly Martin.