The only thing Girl in the Arena did was make me ask questions, and not in the way it was intended to. I still can't figure out when exactly the novel is supposed to be set: if it's in an alternate-reality or in the near future or... what? I don't understand why, if this is set present-day, the government is letting gladiator fights happen. Surely they could stop it any second. Or what about human rights people?
I was also pretty bored by most of this book. It was very, very repetitive until the very end when Lyn actually went into the arena. It seemed like nothing happened through most of it besides everyone avoiding the paparazzi, Allison being off-the-wall constantly (it always annoys me when people call their parents by their first name, like Lyn called Allison), and everyone freaking out about Thad. Not to mention that Thad was not only autistic, but he also made random, chilling prophecies that everyone thought was completely normal. What? And every time he did make one, the characters would ignore it like every other time he had made a prophecy the exact thing Thad said would happen didn't.
There was way too much emphasis on the fact that Lyn is "the daughter of seven gladiators." I swear, if I heard that phrase one more time I was going to throw the book. Lyn mentioned the fact that she was bald and now had a scar the shape of a T in the back of her head at the most random, pointless times.
The formatting of this book, also, was obnoxious and pointless. It added nothing to the story. Every time someone was speaking I usually had to reread the lines a couple times to figure out when they were actually speaking or when they were tagging the dialogue. For instance (I opened to a random page, which happened to be 28):
—I wrote down a name and number for you, he says.
—LeRoy Gangstonguay? New York? And he would be?
—He works in Ceasar's Incorporated. He's down in New York headquarters. If you're ever in a bad strait, this is the guy.
—I don't want this, I say, trying to hand it back to him.
—Just hold on to it. And look, the other thing. . . He pushes the nose of one of his shoes into the wood chips packed around the bench. —Don't feel like you have to come tomorrow.
—No, I want to be there, I say.
It was so distracting, trying to follow when a character was speaking or when their words had faded into actions. I don't understand what
Lise Haines was trying to accomplish by not using quotation marks, but whatever the reason was it made this book one star instead of two.