The Forbidden Game. By L.J.Smith. (2010). New York, N.Y. : Simon Pulse. ISBN-10: 1416989404.

Plot Summary

Jenny Thornton has always suspected that there were supernatural elements in the world. Only, she wanted to forget, because when Jenny was very small, something happened to her grandfather. Now, all Jenny cares about is pleasing her boyfriend, Tom. She wants to get him a very special birthday present, so she picks up a game from a mysterious bookstore with a breathtakingly good-looking gamekeeper. The gamekeeper is Julian, a shadowman. He loves Jenny and wants to keep her in the shadow world forever. Her only chance to escape is to play Julian’s deadly game of nightmares, while keeping her friends safe from harm.

Reader’s Annotation

He has eyes only for her, and he is drop dead gorgeous. But dead is what Jenny and her friends will be, if they can’t escape from Julian’s house of nightmares.

Critical Evaluation

Jenny Thornton starts out as a boyfriend-pleasing wimp, but she grows tremendously throughout the novel, when she needs to protect her friends and keep from succumbing to Julian’s many charms! Readers will easily fall in love with Julian, as well.

The writing is not striking at first, but the characters are endearing and well-imagined. By the end of the story, Smith has fuly captured her readers with the game that she has created. Just remember, you are your only master!

About the Author

L.J. Smith has been writing since the 1980s. She wrote her first book, Night of the Solstice, between graduating high school and graduating college. She then worked as a special education teacher, but now writes full time.

Her books range from stories about vampires, werewolves, and witches, to psychics and Norse mythology. All of them share one thing: stories about soulmates and fate, dashing male characters, and female characters that must use their wits to escape from evil!

Smith’s books always contain elements of romance, the supernatural, and the relatable.


-Supernatural Romance

Curriculum Ties

-Mythology, particularly Norse mythology

Booktalking Ideas

-Have you ever had to overcome a nightmare? Join Jenny as she does just that!

Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 14-16

Challenge Issues


Why did you include this book?

I was delighted to see that The Forbidden Game has recenty been republished. Many of L.J. Smith’s books are now bestsellers, and her series, The Vampire Diaries, has been successfully been adapted into a hit t.v. show.


About thesuperlibrarian

High School Librarian and obsessive reader! On a mission to read as many SUPER YA books as possible!
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