REVIEW | All the Wicked Games | Lauren North

I requested this one on a total whim because I liked the cover and I’ve been really enjoying thrillers this year. I’m really glad that I did because ALL THE WICKED GAMES pushed every single one of my buttons and had me reading in a frenzy to try and finish the story and get answers.

Thanks to Transworld Publishers for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.


Character - 8 Atmosphere - 9 Writing - 6 Plot - 9 Intrigue - 10 Logic - 8 Enjoyment - 9 Rating: 8.43 / 4 stars
Rating: 8.43 / 4 stars

About the book:

Are you ready to play?

Best friends Cleo and Rachel spend their evenings pretending to be people they’re not, inventing elaborate stories to escape the monotony of their real lives. It’s all harmless fun – until they play the game on the wrong person…

It’s your move now.

Five years later, Cleo is still struggling to come to terms with the night that destroyed her friendship with Rachel and almost cost them their lives. And then she receives a text: Rachel is missing. Have you seen her?

There’s only one person to blame.

Wracked with guilt for failing Rachel the last time they were in danger, Cleo races to find her friend. But could the past be repeating itself? Only this time, they’re caught up in a far darker game.

The rules don’t matter when the goal is revenge.

What did I think?

I requested this one on a total whim while I was on a marathon thriller kick. I’m really glad that I did. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this half as much as I did, and I read the majority of it in one sitting. For all my sins, when I was a teenager I spent far too long on online chatting sites, so the ‘game’ that Rachel and Cleo played was both realistic and horrifying to me. The atmosphere of this book was unbelievably tense, making me increasingly anxious as Cleo tried to find her ex-best friend, the intense feeling of being watched coming through the text in a visceral way. That atmospheric feeling only got stronger as I got further in the book, and it builds to a crescendo in a fantastic way.

ALL THE WICKED GAMES has a past and present timeline, the present being Cleo searching for Rachel and the past being the events that led up to their friendship fracturing event. I liked the way that these were balanced. I didn’t feel like either storyline was being forgotten, and the way that we were fed information meant that I could start piecing together what was going on using both storylines as clues. Even with those clues, I was never quite sure what was going to happen next, and I loved how wrong-footed I felt during the last half of this book. I raced through to the ending so fast because I needed answers before I could sleep.

This is the only time I’ve ever regretted reading one of my ARCs so far in advance – because now I desperately need to talk about the ending of this book but I don’t know a single person who’s read it yet as of writing this review in May. The ending hit me like a punch, and no matter how much I thought I had unravelled of the mystery at the heart of this thriller, it still had more to shock me with. This is a pretty quick read, with all my favourite parts of the psychological thriller genre wound together in an impressive and unsettling way.


Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon | Book Depository
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Release Date: 1st September 2022


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