The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith description:
When Jenny buys a game for her boyfriend, Tom, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the guy behind the counter. There is something mysteriously alluring about Julian’s pale eyes and bleached-blond hair. And when he places the Game into her hands, she knows their connection is comething deeper.
But as Jenny and her six friends begin to play the Game at Tom’s birthday celebration, a night of friends and fun quickly turns into a night of terror and obsessive love. Because the Game isn’t just a game – it’s the seven friends’ new reality, where Julian reigns as the Prince of the Shadows.
One by one the friends must confront their phobias to win the Game. To lose the Game is to lose their lives. And that is only the beginning…
The book I have is all 3 of the series in one: The Hunter, The Chase, The Kill, and so I’m going to rate it all together. It’s definitely different from a lot of things in the paranormal young adult world. All the Shadow Men are just evil, they prey on one’s fears and want you to die from them. It’s a very twisting novel, beginning with them having to play a game they get sucked into and must fight their way out of, but even those that make it out aren’t done playing yet because the Shadow Men will never truly let you go. Because it is all 3 books you get to see the characters changing, going through life or death situations that no one believes is really happening, relationships falling apart while others grow stronger. It’s an intense story that takes you beyond the plane of our existence into another that even they are not sure truly exists even while they’re there. The world of shadows is just there to trick you, to mess with your mind, and as each game gets harder there’s a bigger and bigger chance that they won’t make it out alive.
I also love Julian. He’s an enigma, he’s not your every day villain that you just hate. He’s the youngest of the Shadow Men, and he is evil and yet you wonder if he really is in love with Jenny. It makes the tale even more complicated since you know they should never be together, and still wonder if somehow she may fall for the mysterious boy.