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About The Book

A Black teen desperate to regain her Ivy League acceptance enters an elite competition only to discover the stakes aren’t just high, they’re deadly, in this searing thriller that’s Ace of Spades meets Squid Game with a sprinkling of The Bachelor.

You must work twice as hard to get half as much.

Adina Walker has known this the entire time she’s been on scholarship at the prestigious Edgewater Academy—a school for the rich (and mostly white) upper class of New England. It’s why she works so hard to be perfect and above reproach, no matter what she must force beneath the surface. Even one slip can cost you everything.

And it does. One fight, one moment of lost control, leaves Adina blacklisted from her top choice Ivy League college and any other. Her only chance to regain the future she’s sacrificed everything for is the Finish, a high-stakes contest sponsored by Edgewater’s founding family in which twelve young, ambitious women with exceptional promise are selected to compete in three mysterious events: the Ride, the Raid, and the Royale. The winner will be granted entry into the fold of the Remington family, whose wealth and power can open any door.

But when she arrives at the Finish, Adina quickly gets the feeling that something isn’t quite right with both the Remingtons and her competition, and soon it becomes clear that this larger-than-life prize can only come at an even greater cost. Because the Finish’s stakes aren’t just make or break…they’re life and death.

Adina knows the deck is stacked against her—it always has been—so maybe the only way to survive their vicious games is for her to change the rules.

About The Author

Minnie Yang

Joelle Wellington grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where her childhood was spent wandering the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Her love of the written word led her to a BA in creative writing and international studies. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading and when she’s not doing that, she’s attempting to bake bread with varying degrees of success or strengthening her encyclopedia-like pop culture knowledge. Their Vicious Games is her first young adult novel. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 25, 2023)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665922425
  • Grades: 9 and up
  • Ages: 14 - 99

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Raves and Reviews

"In this debut thriller that calls to mind the Japanese dystopian film Battle Royale (2000) and the American horror film Ready or Not (2019)....Readers are rewarded with heart-stopping reveals. A twisty chronicle, filled with equal parts glory and gore, of an outlier who transforms into a modern “final girl.”

– Kirkus Reviews , May 15, 2023

"Elegant prose and complex characters spin us through the lavish maze of the Remington Estate—a breeding ground of secrets, lies, and competition—in a richly woven thriller that explores the lengths one girl will go to succeed in a world of classism and corruption."

– Ryan Douglass,  New York Times bestselling author of The Taking of Jake Livingston

"Fiendishly thrilling. Joelle Wellington's debut will shake you up and rock you to the core."

– Kit Frick, author of I Killed Zoe Spanos and The Reunion

“A fresh and daring debut with quick-witted prose, wild plot twists, and unflinching insights on power and privilege. An absolute thrill!”

– Jessica Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of They Wish They Were Us

“Wellington pens a brutally honest and haunting cautionary tale of what it means to survive in a world that wasn’t built for you, exposing the lie that is meritocracy and the unrelenting toll that being a final girl takes. A bloody tale spun masterfully, Their Vicious Games is a dark delight.”

– Faridah Abike-Iyimide, New York Times bestselling author of Ace of Spades

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