Posted in Fiction, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

Boarding school thriller: Assassin Game

assassin gameAssassin Game, by Kirsty McKay, (Aug. 2016, Sourcebooks Fire), $10.99, ISBN: 9781492632757
originally published July 2015 as Killer Game

recommended for ages 12+

Cate attends an isolated boarding school where, every year, a select few are chosen to play a secret game called Killer. One person in the group is designated the Killer, who will play pranks on the rest of the group, “killing” them – put a rubber snake in a desk, a brightly colored water pistol fired at just the right time – as long as it doesn’t get out of control or disrupt classes, the faculty and staff tolerate The Game. Cate is thrilled to have been chosen, because she feels like she finally belongs in this school of “superkids”: geniuses and rich kids, all. At first, the game progresses as normal, but soon, one of the players has taken the Game too far, and Cate is next on the Killer’s list. Can she figure out who the Killer is in time to save herself?

I love good thrillers, and if they take place in an out-of-the-way location like a school, library, old hospital, even better. The Assassin Game has a great setting: a Welsh boarding school in the middle of nowhere, and an interesting cast of characters, but it does take a little while to build up steam. It’s a quick read, and there are some great pranks, plus high school friendship/relationship drama to bring things to a simmer and add some fuel to the whodunit fire. There’s not a lot of depth to the characters, but there doesn’t really need to be; that’s not what this book is about. You learn what you need to about them, and you learn enough to try and figure out motivations and who would have reason to burn whom.

If you have readers that like a slow-burn thriller with a satisfying payoff, give Assassin Game a shot.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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