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Girl in the Arena
Cover of Girl in the Arena
Girl in the Arena

As a modern gladiator's daughter, Lyn and her family live by the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association. But those rules can turn against you. When Lyn's seventh father dies in the ring, his opponent, Uber, captures Lyn's dowry bracelet-and her hand in marriage. To win her freedom, Lyn will do what no girl has done before: enter the arena and fight her father's murderer-even though she's falling in love with him. A mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence. Lise Haines is Writer in Residence at Emerson College, has held a Briggs-Copeland lectureship at Harvard, and was a finalist for the PEN Nelson Algren Award and the Paterson Fiction Prize. She is the author of two adult novels, In My Sister's Country and Small Acts of Sex and Electricity, as well as many essays and short stories. Girl in the Arena is her first work for young adults. She lives in the Boston area.

As a modern gladiator's daughter, Lyn and her family live by the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association. But those rules can turn against you. When Lyn's seventh father dies in the ring, his opponent, Uber, captures Lyn's dowry bracelet-and her hand in marriage. To win her freedom, Lyn will do what no girl has done before: enter the arena and fight her father's murderer-even though she's falling in love with him. A mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence. Lise Haines is Writer in Residence at Emerson College, has held a Briggs-Copeland lectureship at Harvard, and was a finalist for the PEN Nelson Algren Award and the Paterson Fiction Prize. She is the author of two adult novels, In My Sister's Country and Small Acts of Sex and Electricity, as well as many essays and short stories. Girl in the Arena is her first work for young adults. She lives in the Boston area.

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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 12, 2009
    Haines's first book for teens offers an altered version of the modern world, with a public hungry for violent, on-camera combat. Lyn, the “daughter of seven gladiators,” has grown up in Glad culture with a mother who has made a career out of being a Glad wife—she is resigned to public life and the way TV audiences relish making sport out of her family's many tragedies. When Lyn's seventh stepfather is killed in the arena, rules dictate that she be betrothed to her father's murderer, the gladiator Uber. The spotlight turns on Lyn as cameras follow this unlikely, staged courtship, as well as Lyn's eventual trip into the arena to face her fiancé. The novel's present-day Boston setting and pop culture references (designers like Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier dress the gladiators) feel off, pulling readers out of the story. Haines's neo-Gladiator world hangs on readers' ability to reimagine today's celebrity-obsessed culture accommodating gruesome, televised fights to the death, and shaky world-building makes this a tall order. Ages 14–up.

  • School Library Journal

    November 1, 2009
    Gr 9 Up-In a not-too-distant future Boston, 18-year-old Lyn has come of age in the male-dominated, corporate-controlled culture of the neo-gladiator lifestyle. All seven of her fathers were champion Glads, trained warriors in the style of their ancient Roman predecessors. Lyn's mother knows how to be the perfect Glad wife in order to provide a comfortable life for her daughter and for eight-year-old Thad. Then, Lyn's last father dies in combat, and her family will be abandoned by the Gladiator Sports Association unless she marries Uber, the fighter who killed him. Her mother is not permitted to marry again. What follows is Lyn's journey to autonomy and a new life for herself and Thad after her mother commits suicide. Pop-culture references make Lyn's world seem familiar to readers, and clever new technologies make the story plausible without taking it too far into science fiction. Haines's protagonist is street-smart, socially conscious, and wise all the way through, even when she begins to have feelings for Uber. Readers will appreciate that her victory comes from life on her own terms and not merely romance."Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VA"

    Copyright 2009 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
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Lise Haines
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