The Game of Love & Death (A YA Book Review)


I had the privilege of meeting Martha Brockenbrough at the Midwest Writer's Workshop a few years ago. It's also where I purchased this book. I started it that year, but after 20 pages got distracted and didn't pick it up again. This month I was looking for some standalone reads and recalled that I'd barely started/never finished this book.

I like to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible so here goes. For me this book is 3.5-3.75/5 stars, but I rounded up. I liked the idea behind this book: the enigmatic nature of love and death. It was an easy read and the chapters were short and alternated between Love, Death, Henry, and Flora but remained in the third person. I also liked the messages this book sent about choosing love over fear and being authentic to your true nature.

That said, I felt like this book was sometimes trying to be too many things at once. There are so many topics covered: interracial relationships during the 1930s, homosexuality, aviation, jazz, the aftermath of The Great Depression, and several other tragic historical events as explained through Death's eyes. A lot of these topics are relevant to the era of the book, but I feel they're not necessarily the heart of the book. The book is a parallel between Henry and Flora's relationship (as well as its impact) and Love and Death's relationship, but sometimes all the busyness felt distracting. Overall, it's a well-written, diverse read with an intriguing premise about fate and the choices we make.

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© 2020 by Jennifer L. Kelly