________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 24 . . . . February 27, 2015


Push. (The Game, Book 2).

Eve Silver.
New York, NY: Katherine Tegen Books (Distributed in Canada by HarperCollins Canada), 2014/2015.
341 pp., trade pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-0-06-219221-9.

Subject Headings:
Combat-Juvenile fiction.
Games-Juvenile fiction.
Science fiction.

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

*** /4


“You aren’t a lone gunman, Jackson. When we’re on a mission, I can’t be the girl who blindly follows orders, no questions asked. You should have told me.”

“And if you freaked out? Drew attention to us? Jeopardized the mission?”

“Because telling me would have been so much more likely to freak me out than letting things blindside me, letting me see it all happen right in front of me?”

“Miki, you’re a control freak. If I’d told you in advance, you would have second guessed yourself, seen each scenario before it played out. Tried to twist it to conform to your mental plan. And that could have gotten you killed.” He pauses. “The way it panned out, you were confronted by a situation; you reacted without overthinking. You’re trained for battle, Miki. That’s what kendo did for you. So let your training take over.”

Anger flickers and flares. I hate that he did this. That he high-handedly made decisions for me. But that’s his job – at least, it is when we’re in the game. He’s the leader. He’s supposed to make decisions. I doubly hate it that I know he’s right about the control thing.

“So you did it because I’m not capable of knowing the truth and thinking it through?” I snap, not even meaning to. It just comes out. “Because I’m just a bundle of raw nerves? Is that what you think of me? Is that who you think I am?”


I push to my feet, pace away, then back again. He’s not totally wrong. I do get panic attacks. I do have anxiety. But not when we’re on a mission. On every mission, I’ve done what I had to, done it with a cool head and a fair amount of logic.

Because I’ve been dumped right into the thick of things. No forewarning, no time to agonize and second-guess.

Which backs up Jackson’s claim that his way was the right way. I ball my fists, angry with him. Angry with myself.

He catches my hand and draws me back down next to him on the step.

“It isn’t just about me. Or you,” he says. “It’s about the rest of them. Was I supposed to tell them, too? Drag you aside and whisper it in your ear?”

“However you want to spin this in your own mind, whatever justifications you have, you didn’t just omit information, Jackson. You lied. When we first respawned in the hallway, you said it was like Vegas. You said no one outside the game would get hurt.”


“The Game” trilogy continues with Push, this second book, aptly named since the Drau cross a boundary and push into the real world while Miki continues to feel she has been pushed into the entire game scenario without any warning and certainly without any consent on her part.

     The novel opens just where volume one, Rush, ends, and readers wonder whether Jackson is merely missing in action or has, in fact, been killed. Once again Miki, Luka, and Tyrone are pulled into the world of gaming as they do their best to defeat the Drau and prevent them from taking over the planet. While reading the books in order would provide the necessary foundation to understand exactly what is happening, Silver does a good job of filling in most of the important details within the first few pages.

     At the end of this book, readers may feel they have more questions than answers, and presumably Silver will reveal all in the final book. The Committee speaks with Miki but rather than explaining what is happening, they seem to confuse matters, and readers begin to wonder if they are, indeed, the positive force they pretend to be. Jackson’s sister, Lizzie, has been presumed dead for five years and yet she – or someone who has assumed her persona – appears to not only be alive but able to help Miki and Jackson in their quest to fight the Drau. Another unanswered question.

     In this volume, the fighting scenes of the team’s various missions are downplayed, and the author concentrates more on the character of Miki and her developing relationship with Jackson. While the romance will appeal to some readers, those who choose the book for its adventure and science fiction qualities may be somewhat disappointed. Other themes also emerge which have little to do with science fiction and aliens, but a great deal to do with the coming-of-age of Miki and the other characters. Miki is still grieving the death of her mother and continues to worry about her father’s drinking. Her friendships with both Carly and Jackson highlight the theme of keeping secrets. When is it okay to keep secrets from those who are most important to you? If you simply omit to tell the truth, is it still a lie? These are questions which Miki must face and attempt to resolve.

     The plot of this second novel revolves around the emotions of the characters, and so the action is less fast-paced and exciting than in the earlier book. As well, it would be interesting to learn more about the Drau. They are “the bad guys”, but Silver doesn’t really explain their motives for taking over the world, and one assumes it is simply greed on their part. As well, they seem to be an amorphous blob, without any characteristics other than merely being evil. All Drau look alike, act alike and, presumably are merely clones of one another.

     Like Rush, the first volume of the trilogy, Push is fun to read, retains readers’ interest throughout, and ends with a cliff-hanger which will have fans eagerly awaiting Crash, the third and final volume of the set. Is Push a classic? Perhaps not, but still entertaining.


Ann Ketcheson, a retired high school teacher-librarian and teacher of English and French, lives in Ottawa, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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