The Bitch Cup

Young Adult - Social Issues
426 Pages
Reviewed on 09/13/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Bitch Cup is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama, intrigue, and suspense subgenres. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and was penned by author Zachary Ryan. Readers are whisked away on a thrilling and suspenseful journey through the halls of Lincoln High School, where a ruthless tradition unfolds. The story revolves around a perilous game known as The Bitch Cup, where students' deepest secrets become weapons, exposing them to a brutal and potentially deadly elimination. This novel presents a gripping exploration of high school dynamics, power struggles, and the lengths to which individuals will go to protect their reputations.

Author Zachary Ryan gives readers the short, sharp shock of being transported back to the intensity of high school, where cliques, rivalries, and hidden agendas rule the day. The characters are complex and multifaceted, each harboring their own secrets and vulnerabilities as their stories build upon one another, creating a web of intrigue and suspense that feeds on itself and spirals perilously out of control. It delves into the dark side of human nature and the lengths individuals will go to in order to protect themselves, with a clear flair for contemporary dialogue that perfectly balances dark suspense with convincing teen-speak. Ryan has crafted a compelling and thought-provoking novel that sheds light on the complexities of adolescence and the power dynamics within a high school setting, all wrapped up in a highly exciting, unpredictable, and satisfying plot. Overall, The Bitch Cup is a gripping read that will leave you pondering the lengths you would go to protect your secrets, and I would not hesitate to recommend it for YA readers everywhere.

Stephanie Chapman

Zachary Ryan’s The Bitch Cup is a high school drama featuring several main protagonists and a song to accompany each chapter. Lincoln High School has an annual Bitch Cup contest where the players expose the secrets of their rivals. The competition this year is fierce, and The Shadow Queen’s entry promises intrigue. Katheryn is blackmailed into participating when the Shadow Queen threatens to reveal her past. The Devil’s Harpies, Hannah, Khloe, and Natasha, find the Shadow Queen negotiating to hide their secrets if they could uncover those of Christine, Vicki, Madison, and Beth. As secrets are revealed, the disappearance of the losers becomes alarming and the police ask questions. Vengeance, abandonment, shame, and unrequited love are boiling under the surface, and The Shadow Queen will not allow the players to escape unscathed. Who is this mystery entity?

Zachary Ryan created an intense drama full of suspense. The wild card player, The Shadow Queen, seems to stalk people. However, the competition has many character-driven subplots. The multiple perspectives allowed me to understand the motivation behind each person. I laughed when two homosexual boys were allowed to compete, as it meant the Bitch Cup is not just for girls. Voices haunt Katheryn and Cole experiences guilt. Natasha stunned me because she was obsessed with her ex-boyfriend. I was never popular in school, but I could relate to each person's need for validation. Backstabbing is commonplace among high school girls today and is realistically portrayed. Unexpected secrets are revealed. The inclusion of teachers and administration employees added a shock factor to the plot. The ending is haunting and offers a sequel. Readers who like mysterious and character-centered high school dramas will enjoy this book.

Rosie Malezer

The Bitch Cup is a gripping horror story by Zachary Ryan. In the aftermath of a horrific scandal, Kathryn changes her name, surname, home address, and high school to get a new start in life just in time for graduation. Her first day at Lincoln High School was a tad different from what she'd been used to. It involved the announcement of The Bitch Cup - a competition where contestants are forced to learn the deepest, darkest secrets of their fellow competitors before graduation, thereby eliminating them. The reigning Bitch Queen is Val, who pulls names out of a hat after nominations commence. This year, however, it is not long before elimination has a whole new meaning. People are starting to disappear after their secrets have been revealed to the world. Initially, fellow students believe the missing contestants have departed out of shame, but the discovery of their dismembered bodies seems to tell a different story. A mystery entrant - The Shadow Queen - has wannabe-bitches horrified, and now the clock is ticking as graduation approaches. Will the deadly culprit be revealed before it's too late?

I must admit I was a bit hesitant at pulling The Bitch Cup off the shelf as it is outside my usual genre, but I am so glad I did. Zachary Ryan's murder mystery had me on the edge of my seat from the outset. With two major dramas taking place at the same time, it took a re-read of some sections to get my head around the story. The relationship between the characters (parents, teachers, neighbors, and fake friends) was brilliantly conceived and presented. I am sure that every reader will empathize with one or more of those taking part in the competition and understand their reasons for doing so. Zachary Ryan is amazing at hitting his mark and I feel that it won't be long before we have a new prodigy in the Stephen King mold. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to mature audiences aged 15 years and over and look forward to seeing what comes next from this talented author.