The Only Game In Town

Thursday, January 5, 2017
He opened his eyes. At first he wanted to scream, but he was paralyzed with fear. In the mirror, around his head, was a swarm of black shadowy snakes. They seemed to cover his shoulders, feasting and biting. There was a host of the leechlike serpents wrapped around the bottom of his short right leg. Daniel stared in silent horror at the reflection of himself. Daniel felt as if he were a prisoner to so many things, things you couldn’t see or fight back against. He didn’t think it was fair. The boy sighed and put the number card back in his pocket as he went back downstairs. “You can’t fight it.” He said in deep discouragement. He got on his Super Wings bicycle. “You can’t fight something you can’t see and there’s no way to win anyhow. You end up Rank Blank. An outsider and an oddball. Daniel rode to the field, feeling dead inside.

Book: The Only Game In Town by John Bibee, Intervarsity Press, 1988

Genre: Fantasy/Allegory
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 12-16
Subjects: Identity, Friendships, Good vs. Evil
Summary: Rank Blank! Rank blank! You’re a nobody! Worse than a nobody! You’re a rank blank! The new game in town is the point system. Everything you do is broken down into points and your rank is shown on the board in town. You can purchase point cards that show exactly how many points you have in every single category. But Daniel, new in town, is a rank blank. He has no points, no information on him at all in the system. And it’s all because of his Spirit Flyer. If he would simply give it up, he could fit right in with the other kids, he could be popular even! But at what cost? Giving up the Spirit Flyer means he is giving up on the Three Kings and allowing the darkness to try to snuff out the light inside of him. But if he doesn’t, he will never fit in. And being an outcast in a new town is pretty much the worse thing Daniel can think of.
Notes: The Only Game In Town is the third in the Spirit Flyer Series. The series uses a flying bicycle to represent faith in Christ. The bicycles are made by the “Three Kings”. When a person chooses to believe in them, the bicycle arrives and will fly when they are trusting. The series takes place in an end times setting, with it finally ending at the rapture. Throughout the series, the struggle between good and evil is shown in those choosing to ride Spirit Flyers battling Goliath Industries, an organization that desires to see death and destruction. This book introduces a new character, a boy who moved to town for his mom to work for Goliath Industries’ factory. Daniel’s mom does not approve of his Spirit Flyer, nor does his sister. And apparently neither do the kids of Centerville. Daniel arrives right in the midst of Goliath Industries’ attempt to start controlling the children and adults through the point system. Everyone wants to be first and will do the things it takes to be first. Just like book two, it shows a character who has placed their faith in the Three Kings and is taking steps to walk away from it. The motivation for Daniel is acceptance from others. He has to make the choice to pursue what really matters, something more lasting than popularity. At the end, Susan tells Daniel “They may call us names and things, but let them. We won’t melt. We belong in the Kingdom of the Kings. We don’t have to play by the rules of the Point System either. It isn’t the only game in town. Royal love is more powerful than anything because it comes straight from the heart of the Kings.”
I highly recommend this book as well as the others in the series. It offers great spiritual value as well as a creative storyline and enough suspense and adventure to keep readers interested.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Romans 8:31,38 – What, then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


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