Movie Game, by Michael Ebner (2016)

Ages 16-25
Movie GameIt’s been three years since Joe’s girlfriend suddenly died on the same night he caught his mother in bed with someone not his father. His father left the family and never came back, and his mother abandoned her nearly-adult children to move in with her lover. Joe’s now 17, has regular sex with a girl who already has a boyfriend, and devotes all his time to movies. A cinephile who stalks and threatens the talkers and popcorn-chewers who disrupt his film experience, Joe lives in the family home with his sister, Loren, who fools the neighbours by regularly hanging her mother’s clothes on the line. Finishing university with no social life to speak of, Loren has a job offer in Paris but won’t walk away from her responsibilities. Joe’s circle of friends” consists of exactly one person – a movie usher who lets him slip into the cinema as often as he wants. The rest of his gang are simply victims for the Movie Game, in which competitors seek to stump each others’ knowledge of films and stars. And the FBI is watching Joe. Got all that? Stay with me. No parental involvement, bad behaviour, illicit sex, occasional drugs, and an aversion to reality. Pretty much sums this one up. It’s a coming of age novel in which Joe seeks to deal with his guilt and pain and ultimately confirms his understanding of the world – adults are unreliable liars, family is both everything and nothing, and you can pretty much always get away with anything, regardless of how illegal, immoral, or unbelievable it is, if it’s motivated by a strong sense of what’s right. This is a darkly comic mystery that reads like a blockbuster movie script, focused more on the explosions than the characters. Think Superbad crossed with Mission Impossible. Indeed, you will likely enjoy it if you are as movie-obsessed as Joe. Too self-absorbed new-adult for me, with few consequences and fewer characters with any redeeming qualities. My thanks to publisher Pen and Picture for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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