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Win Lose Kill Die by Cynthia Murphy - Review

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Where did I get it? The library! I walk past the teen section every week when I go to craft club, and often look at the new books. I was the first person to take this out!

What's it about? Liz is in her senior year at an exclusive boarding school called Morton. As far as I can tell, it's just two years, junior and senior, and students do something akin to A levels with a view to going to university. The school runs on scholarships, and kids are picked from sometimes difficult lives to attend the school. Liz is a member of the secret society Jewel and Bone, which means she will meet sponsors and donors and will be able to choose from the top universities. Jewel and Bone has some frankly weird history and also some bizarre rituals. But Liz is thrilled she's in. It means she is a prefect too. 

At the end of last year, though, there was an accident at school and the new head girl, Morgan, drowned in the lake, and Liz sustained a head injury that means she is still having a few health issues. But she's glad to be back at school and glad to meet new boy Cole. Jameela is now head girl, and Liz's friend Taylor's boyfriend Marcus is head boy. The kids all have a party on the roof, and Jameela has an asthma attack, but when she takes her inhaler she collapses and dies. 

Taylor is now head girl, but weird things keep happening, and she's not taking it well. Taylor and Liz's friend Kat starts to wonder what's going on. 

It's got everything you'd want from a boarding school book. Murder! Lies! A secret society! Parties! A cute love story and kissing in the back stairs! I really liked how much FUN it was as a book. I did guess some of the twists, but as usual I think that's partly because I'm an adult and have read a lot of books!

What age range is it for? 15+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Kat is bisexual, but it's not a big part of the story

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, Cole is Chinese and I think some other characters are people of colour, but again, it's not a big part of the story. But I did feel like Morton was a diverse place to be. Plus the headmistress is Indian! 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, Liz has got some residual issues from the lake incident, but they're not mentioned too much

Is there any sex stuff? No 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes - not illegal ones but poisons definitely 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, lots, and some of it is graphic 

Are there swear words? No. You may be wondering why I'm sayinf 15+ for this book - it's because of the deaths, which I found quite graphic 


What criticisms do I have? Almost none! It's a fun book. I would read something else by Cynthia and am looking forward to seeing her Northern YA Litfest

Would I recommend the book? Yes 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? Well I saw it in the library obviously! 


What do I think of the cover? It's cute, I like the listiness of it (totally a word)


What other books is it like? Well, I don't think it's unfair to compare it to the STAGS books by M A Bennett, although this one begins with the main characters on the 'inside', which I liked 

How many stars? Four out of five 


Where is the book going now? Back to the library when I'm next going!

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