‘You’ll want to know where she is. The missing woman. Melissa Moore. Mel. You’ll want to know where she has gone and whether I had something to do with it. Of course I did. We both know that already. That’s why I’m here.’
Ava has – and she is tired of playing the victim. She is ready to take revenge.
Bullied mercilessly throughout her high school years, Ava knows that she must put the past behind her in order to move on – but she can’t. Not until she has exacted catastrophic revenge on the people who damaged her badly.
Ava is cunning and clever – unwilling to dive straight in without a proper plan, she watches her victims from a distance, observing every detail of their lives until she garners enough information to infiltrate their perfect little worlds.
First, she watches Saanvi. Supremely successful and at the top of her architectural firm, Saanvi has it all together – or so it appears. But we all do bad things when we think no one is watching, and it isn’t long before Ava uncovers a secret that could destroy Saanvi’s life and career.
Next, Ava watches Cass. But Cass is too busy trying on wedding dresses and testing cake flavours to realise that Ava has caught her red-handed, betraying her fiancé. Nothing says ‘revenge’ quite like ruining someone’s future marriage.
Finally, Ava watches Mel. Always the ringleader, Mel is the one who hurt Ava the most – which means she deserves the most brutal revenge of all. But Ava’s plans are cut short when Mel catches onto the game she is playing – and plays the game right back.
The Spite Game by Anna Snoekstra is a clever, gripping tale of the demons that we carry throughout our lives, and the damage they can cause if we fail to let them go. Snoekstra has a natural talent for thriller writing – her words are sharp and impactful, every sentence purposeful and observant, her character building equally as impressive. Ava is endlessly intriguing – her mind works in such mysterious ways, and it’s interesting to read a book narrated from the perspective of someone who displays sociopathic traits rather than from the victim’s or investigator’s viewpoint.
A lot of the tension within the book comes from Ava’s questionable reliability as a narrator. With the narrative shifting between the past and the present, the reader can’t help but wonder if Ava’s memory of events is entirely accurate, and she acknowledges this herself: the details have blurred with time, lost their sharpness in contrast ‘to all that came after.’ This air of uncertainty is sustained throughout the novel, adding a page-turning suspense that lasts till the final page.
The book raises a lot of moral questions too, particularly about revenge. Is it ever okay to wreak revenge on someone who has hurt you? Do two wrongs make a right? Is Ava a victim, or a perpetrator?
If you are looking for a thrilling read to chill your spine and distract you from the ever-rising humidity this Spring, or just to escape from everyday life, then we can’t recommend The Spite Game by an outstandingly talented Australian, enough.
About the author:
Anna Snoekstra was born in Canberra, Australia in 1988. She studied Creative Writing and Cinema at The University of Melbourne, followed by Screenwriting at RMIT University. Her first novel, Only Daughter, was released in 2016, and is currently in the works to be turned into a feature film with Universal Pictures. Her second, the acclaimed Little Secrets, was released in 2017. Her first novel for Young Adults, the bestselling Mercy Point, is out now. Anna She currently lives in Melbourne with her husband and tabby cat.