Game or reality?

Even If We Break by Marieke Nijkamp

Publication Date: September 15, 2020

Summary from Amazon:

FIVE friends go to a cabin.
FOUR of them are hiding secrets.
THREE years of history bind them.
TWO are doomed from the start.
ONE person wants to end this.

For five friends, this was supposed to be one last getaway before going their separate ways―a chance to say goodbye to each other, and to the game they’ve been playing for the past three years. But they’re all dealing with their own demons, and they’re all hiding secrets.

Finn doesn’t trust anyone since he was attacked a few months ago. Popular girl Liva saw it happen and did nothing to stop it. Maddy was in an accident that destroyed her sports career. Carter is drowning under the weight of his family’s expectations. Ever wants to keep the game going for as long as they can, at all costs.

When the lines between game and reality start to blend with deadly consequences, it’s a race against time before it’s game over―forever.

Are you ready to play?

ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley for an honest review.


Unfortunately this story just never quite lived up to my expectations. I never found myself relating to any of the characters, which made it hard to get invested into the story and care about the outcome. The whole plot fell a little flat for me as well. There were parts that were good, but then the final reveal of the truth just didn’t quite make sense.

There were five points of view, which made it hard to get to know any one character well. But it also just seemed like all of the characters were not well fleshed out either. We only got to know them on the surface, nothing deep down that made you want to connect and care about them. Maddy was perhaps the only character that I felt anything for. She was stronger than she knew and I was really rooting her to survive.

I think the real issue I had with this book was the character’s lack of motivation, especially the one that is the killer. I got that these characters had all been close friends at one point but had fallen out with each other, but that was never really fully explained. At this point in their lives it was just the game that was keeping them together, and that just wasn’t enough. When the killer was revealed and why they were doing what they were doing I was just left thinking “what??” It just didn’t make sense or feel like a justification for murder.

The writing itself was well done, especially in the setting. Ms. Nijkamp is really good at setting a story and making you feel the urgency or creepiness of a setting. There was a part in the middle of the story when things really started to take off and I was excited to see where the story was going, but then just feeling nothing by the time I got to the end.

It is always hard to tell when reading an ARC how close to the finish product the book is. This one just felt a little rough and needed a little bit more fleshing out. Maybe the final book is better than what I read, or maybe this just wasn’t the book for me.

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