Paul’s Game


Book: Paul’s Game

Author: Mary Towne

Jacket Illustrator: Bill Teason

Publisher: Dell Pub Co., reprinted  1983

ISBN-13:  978-0385292481 Hardcover

ISBN-10:  0385292481 Hardcover

ISBN-13: ‎978-0440966333 Paperback

ISBN-10: ‎0440966337 Paperback

Language level: 3

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 13-16

Rating: **** 4 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: Mystery

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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Towne,Mary.  Paul’s Game (Published in 1983 by Delacorte Press, 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York City, NY  10017).  Fourteen year old Andrea Howard lives in a medium sized town called Cameron somewhere in New England with her father Ted, mother Alison, both of whom are lawyers, and her adopted little four year old brother Duong, a Vietnamese kid born in the heat of the Malay Peninsula who has had tuberculosis and is cared for by a professional nurse, Mrs. Clarita Sorensen, and their cat Micawber.  Andrea’s older sister Laurie is a model in New York City, and her older brother Bruce is in college at Brown.   Andrea is a freshman in high school, and her best friend since second grade is Julie Marek, who lives with her parents and older brother John, a junior basketball star in high school upon whom Andrea has a crush.

One rainy afternoon, quite by accident, Andrea and Julie discover after a few simple card tricks that they’re the perfect ESP team. Shy and insecure Julie is an uncanny receiver for Andrea’s telepathic messages.  When Julie’s talent is revealed at a party, a strange junior named Paul Deveraux, a new boy who is a loner and has an air of condescension or disdain, takes a sudden interest in her.  There’s something cold and almost frightening about him, and later Andrea is disturbed to see that Julie, who now spends all of her time with Paul, is becoming more like him. She shoplifts some tapes at a record store, steals a blue sweater from a girl at school, and starts smoking.  Andrea feels sure that Paul intends to involve Julie in some mysterious evil scheme.  Could he be using Julie as his receiver, trying to “program” her to obey him?   If so, what is his ultimate goal?  And how does it affect the relationship between Andrea and Julie?

In addition to some common euphemisms (e.g., gee and gosh), the “h” word is used as an interjection rather often, along with phrases like “for God’s sake” and “Oh God.”  There are instances of dancing, “passing a joint around,” and drinking wine and beer, as well as references to having sex, reading orgy novels, and getting an abortion.  And a lot of “boy-girl” stuff typical of a public school atmosphere occurs which some parents would feel is not appropriate for fourteen year olds. The plot is for young adults, a little more grown up than for use with elementary school kids. This book is certainly a captivating and intense thriller that will definitely keep the reader’s attention.

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