A great paean to children's powers of imagination and obsession, but the understory about child abduction and murder is a bit too scary, strange, and grotesque for my tastes. The author has an ability to make the reader feel like they are playing the Egypt game themselves; participating in somber ceremonies in a dirt alleyway and creating Egyptian costumes from plastic jugs is as much fun for us as it is for the book's protagonists!
A friend of mine was surprised I never read this as a kid so I went back to read it as an adult. To be fair, adults are not the intended audience so my review may not be the best to judge whether kids will like it. I remember what I liked as a young adult, however, and I think this book would have been as painful to me then as it was to me now. I really wanted to like it, because I love ancient Egypt, I love suspense and the premise seemed promising. However, there was something unnerving about the whole thing that make it difficult to get through (in fact I kept putting it down, reading other things and then going back to it). The characters were not overly like-able and there wasn't much info to go on that made them interesting except maybe for April who you could tell was struggling with her mother really not wanting her. The pace was also painfully slow, with the occasional hint that something could happen but then, nope, nothing yet for another five chapters. The joy of the kids imaginative game was also made downright unnerving with the lurking of a child serial murderer in the neighborhood, which nowhere in the description does it suggest this book is about. I suppose that's maybe what the author wanted, to throw in that element of scary and mystery, but it's sort of deceiving for a kids novel to make it sound like it's about kids playing a mysterious game and then BAM throw in a child murderer. I don't know, it just didn't sit right with me.
A childhood favorite of mine!! A Newbury Honor book, and good for imaginative pre-teens or YA readers.
From the back of the cover:
"...the first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she's not sure they have anything in common. But she soon discovers that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop Melanie and April decide it's the perfect spot for the Egypt Game..
.Everyone thinks it's just a game, until strange things begin happening to the players. Has the Egypt Game gone too far???"
Newberry Award Winner - The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she's not sure they'll have anything in common. But soon they discover they both love anything associated with Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop, they establish the Egypt Game, performing ceremonies, collecting objects, and making a secret code.
"The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she's not sure they'll have anything in common. But she soon discovers that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop, Melanie and April decide it's the perfect spot for the Egypt Game.
Before long there are six Egyptians instead of two. After school and on weekends they all meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code.
Everyone thinks it's just a game, until strange things begin happening to the players. Has the Egypt Game gone too far?" (from back cover)
I skipped around and read a few chapters of this book, but based on what I've read, I would not recommend this book. The children in the book are disobedient to their parents. They roll their eyes at their parents rules and do not honor their parents. Those negative attitudes towards parents were not portrayed in a negative light in any of the chapters that I read. Furthermore, the kids in the book are summoned by Egyptian gods, looking for omens, sacrificing to gods, and the like. At the very least, this goes against the Ten Commandments, "You shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3, ESV). Also, while not portrayed in a positive light, murder is a big part of the storyline. The Bible says: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8, ESV). This book does not seem to fit these guidelines.