Summary for the Book "The Game" by Teresa Toten

by Shaunta Alburger

"The Game" is a book for young adults that tackles heavy themes, such as child abuse and teenage alcohol and drug use. It's set in a New York City psychiatric hospital, and features a teenage girl as the protagonist. The main character overcomes her problems and starts to heal from an abusive past with the help of new friends.


"The Game" tells the story of Dani Webster, who ends up in a psychiatric ward after attempting suicide with vodka and drugs. She meets two boys who become her friends, and learns to face the abuse she has suffered at the hands of her perfectionist father. The book also explores Dani's relationship with her sister Kelly, with whom she has played the secret game of the title in an effort to vanquish the evil in their lives.


The major themes of "The Game" are family, friendship, mental health, self-destruction and abuse. The main character and her sister play a game in order to distract themselves from the abuse they suffer from their father that involves role-playing hunting and killing an evil being. As Dani heals and bonds with her friends at the hospital she finds herself in, she realizes she must save her sister for real and that she needs those friends to help her.


Dani Webster is a troubled, abused teenaged girl. Her sister is Kelly. Dani and Kelly's father plays an important role in the story as well, as the embodiment of the evil the sister's fight during their role-playing game. At the hospital, Dani bonds with two boys; Kevin is a homosexual teenager whose parents have hospitalized him because they can't face the truth about him, and Scratch is Kevin's roommate and is being treated because he cuts himself.

About the Author

Teresa Toten is a Canadian author of books for young adults. In addition to "The Game," she has written a book called "Onlyhouse" about a teenager growing up as an immigrant and a trilogy of books set in the 1970s called the Blonde Books. She has also written a picture book called "Bright Red Kisses." She moved to Canada from Croatia as an infant.