“The Julian Game” Entangles You in its Web

By Mara Shapiro

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Very few books can combine the way teens utilize the internet with a non-cheesy storyline; however, Adele Griffin accomplishes this in “The Julian Game,” a story about how teenagers can get wrapped up in the lies of the internet.

Raye Archer is the typical, studious teenage girl. She attends an all- girls school, Fulton, on the school’s prestigious Sophie Fulton-Glass scholarship. She is by no means a part of the Group, the pretty comittee headed by mean girl Ella Parker. In fact, Raye is the opposite; she’s an outsider, and so is her best friend Natalya Zawadski, a certified Sci-Fi guru.

Raye and Natalya are having their typical Saturday night fest of brownies and the Syfy channel when Natalya decides to make a fake Facebook account. Raye quickly accepts her plan and the two create Elizabeth, a beautiful girl who has just recently moved from Poland and is attending the local university. She is the vessel to add Fulton’s brother school, McArthur’s, hot boys. Quickly all the boys accept Elizabeth’s request and the two girls have their fun and return to school Monday.

Ella Parker, the head of the popular girls, is struggling with her Chinese class when she asks Raye to tutor her. Raye quickly comes to Ella’s aid in hopes of being invited to a party. While tutoring at Raye’s house, it is revealed that Ella had a nasty breakup with the most-wanted boy at McArthur: Julian Kilgarry. Ella wants to make Julian pay for hurting her, and Raye decides to tell Ella about Elizabeth, who, of course, has already been accepted by Julian.

Through Elizabeth, the two girls lead Julian on and even set him up to attend a party where Ella knows he will be beaten up because of the presence of another boy with whom Julian is having an argument, all the while making him talk to Elizabeth online. Ella relishes hurting Julian, but Raye quickly becomes uncomfortable after meeting Julian and developing a crush on him.

Raye tries to back off and even tells Julian that she is Elizabeth and that Ella is after him, but Ella doesn’t want to stop the game and she doesn’t want Raye to stop playing either. How far will Ella go before Raye takes matters into her own hands? And how nice of a guy is Julian really? Is he just the stereotypical jock, or is there more to him?

“The Julian Game” exemplifies how the internet can really be a dangerous place. It’s as easy as a few clicks of a button and a pretty Google image to make a fake account. The part that I found a bit unrealistic (or at least I hope so) was that all the McArthur boys bought into “Elizabeth’s” scam and accepted her friend request right away. 

Another point I respected about this book was that the supposedly perfect Ella was not so perfect. Her family expects her to live up to her Harvard sister’s standards and she suffers from OCD. Just because Ella’s school life looked so appealing to Raye it didn’t mean that  Ella’s home life was equal in perfection.

Overall, this book really addressed important issues. The Facebook issue was the biggest, but the book also demonstrated how far people will go to become popular; Raye even takes some inappropriate pictures for Elizabeth’s account in order for the scam to seem more believable and to gain more trust from Ella. “The Julian Game” takes the reader into a world of lies in the best sort of way. I would reccomend it specifically to anyone who uses social networking sites.