I have no idea what to say about The Believing Game by Eireann Corrigan. My feelings are so mixed that it’s crazy.
Greer Cannon never worried about being good. She shoplifted at every store she could find, she slept with every guy she could get her hands on, and she ate as little as possible. When she gets caught shoplifting one too many times, her parents send her away to McCracken Hill, a reform school for “bad” children. There, she meets Addison. He’s perfect in every way except for one: he is not in control of his own life. His “friend,” a forty-year-old man named Joshua, controls everything in his life, down to the friends that he has to his very actions. What is supposed to be a fun weekend at a Poconos mountain house turns into a creepy stay when Joshua tells the kids of an upcoming war against vegans. It is then that Greer discovers how much power Joshua has over these kids and how he has built this power on lies. Can Greer release his hold over her friends, or will they blindly follow Joshua, no matter what he asks of him?
This is an extremely hard review for me to write. The first half of this book was kind of annoying. It was like one of those horror movies where you’re screaming, “DON’T GO IN THERE!” but she goes in there anyway. Joshua was super creepy from the beginning and it was annoying how she kept thinking how weird he was and how wrong what he did and said was, but she never spoke up. When he overstepped his boundaries, she was like, “Someone has to speak up.” But no one ever did. So she didn’t either. She was a total sheep.
Greer and Addison’s relationship was so messed up. First of all, it was total insta-love (more like insta-lust) and I have no idea why she would even like him. He was really condescending. He said things like, “Greer that’s so ignorant,” and practically preached to the poor girl. I don’t know how she put up with it. She’s so attached to Addison that she’ll do anything for him (even let some creepy dude sleep in her bed) and she’s really dependent on him. It’s an unhealthy relationship.
However, the second half of this book was slightly genius. Only when Greer started to get suspicious and actually question what Joshua was doing (like any normal person would) the story got a lot better. For one, I no longer wanted to pound her head against a wall until she gained an ounce of common sense because she did that on her own. Back to Joshua: I have no idea why anyone would ever listen to him. I mean, he’s obviously a psycho. I wouldn’t touch that guy with a 39 ½ foot pole (Grinch reference, anyone?).
The genius in it was that it truly was frightening. This book showed how much power one person could have over a group. It also showed how some people preyed on the weak and that enough of the weak could become a strong army. It also demonstrated how desperate people will accept some lies, no matter how fantastic, if it suits their need.
And then there was the ending. There was nothing particularly sad about the ending; the words were happy, at least. But it still made me cry. There was just something about it that seemed really tragic to me. Needless to say, the ending, as well as the last 100 or so pages, was fantastic. The first half of the book was slightly annoying, but the last part of the book definitely made up for it. Oh, and one part of this book made me feel physically ill. For some reason that made this book so much more powerful.