Title: The Game of Love and Death
Author: Martha Brockenbrough
Genre: Historical Young Adult Romance
Length: 329 pages
The book opens in 1920 when Love and Death begin a new game. Love picks a Caucasian baby, Henry, as his player while Death picks a black one, Flora. Who will win? Fast forward seventeen years. Henry is now an orphan living with his friend’s wealthy family in Seattle. Playing his cello brings him happiness. Flora lives with her grandmother and sings in the jazz club she co-owns with her uncle. She dreams of becoming the first black pilot to fly across the world.
Love and Death’s pawns now begin to interact. Love needs Henry and Flora to choose love above all things. As Love’s player, this comes easily for Henry. However, Flora fights against her feelings for him because she knows falling in love with Henry is not the smart thing to do as a black woman in 1937. Little do they know there are greater beings throwing aides and obstacles their way, in the form of people, as they fight to for their players to win their game.
The majority of this book takes place in the spring and summer of 1937.
This was a very interesting book. I highly recommend it as a book club read as there are many aspects and layers to discuss. Even the question, who is the protagonist? could lead to a lengthy discussion. I also believe the book would appeal to both women and men, unlike typical romance novels.
I love that the book is so original, which makes it memorable for me. The only other book I’ve read with a similar character is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (another great read by the way) where Death plays the narrator. However, the story is completely different. The Game of Love and Death is told in third person from a variety of points of view, primarily Love, Death, Henry and Flora. The chapters are very short which leads to faster reading.
I listed the genre as historical young adult romance. It was listed as different genres depending on the website, so I included them all. I believe it would appeal most to readers who enjoy romance novels because love is the focus of the book. I listed it as historical since it takes place in 1937, and the author did her research to make sure the setting was appropriate. However, learning multiple facts about the 30’s was not the focus. As for Young Adult, it would be classified as such because the protagonists are both 17 years old. However due to the times, the characters, Flora in particular, do not behave as today’s teenagers. Flora is living an adult life with adult responsibilities. Therefore, I expect today’s adults would identify more with these characters than today’s teens. But the content is perfectly appropriate for a younger reader.
I am a member of two book clubs, and we read a variety of genres. Plus, as a Young Adult author, I am constantly reading YA books to improve my writing.
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