Girl in the arena has been compared to Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games, and parallels can be drawn between the violent cultures in both books, but the stories in each book are both totally unique. The world of Girl in the Arena is one very much like today, but with a neo-gladiator sub-culture. This neo-gladiator world is violent and tightly controlled - a mix of reality television, war, and violence as entertainment taken to a terrifying new level. The world of neo-gladiators was colorfully imagined. I could some people accepting and participating in a sport as violent and crazy as this. After all, wars are waged around the constantly. Kids play violent video games as entertainment. Those in media openly acknowledge that sex and violence sells. A sub-culture of neo-gladiators seems like a stretch at first, but is it, really? Lise Haines did a wondeful job of explaining the motives and behavior of her characters, which is no small feat, considering the fact that she had to convince readers that her characters would willing lead the neo-gladiator lifestyle. Lyn, the protagonist, was an interesting character. She was so torn between the lifestyle in which she had been raised and her little brother, but she also wanted to flee her life and leave her violent past behind. All of the characters were well formed - I felt like I knew them, even though they were all secondary to Lyn.Personally, I could have used a little more emphasis on Lyn's romantic relationships. I felt like I only got to see the beginning of the relationship, then was abruptly cut off, leaving me wondering what would happen next. If there is another book planned, then I don't mind the ending, otherwise I'm curious!Ratings (out of 10):Plot: 10Characters: 10Writing: 10Romance: 9Originality: 10Total: 49/50 (A)Though like The Hunger Games in some ways, Girl in the Arena really isn't like any other novel I've read. You want necessarily like Girl in the Arena if you liked the Hunger Games, but I think fans of Dystopian YA will find a new favorite in this novel!