Darnit. No images.
The Game, or Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes (Simon and Schuster - Simon Pulse, re-edition) is a dystopia that was originally published in the 80s, and it revolves around a group of about ten kids who graduate from school and go out into the world. Except, in this future, your schooling is about the only thing determines your job, and despite good performance, these kids have been designated as Unemployed, a timely (for today) connection to the recession, and boy, do all the employed workers haaaaate them. The group ends up in an old warehouse, scavenging a little food and belongings where they can. Eventually, they are invited to the mysterious Game, where they enter a virtual reality and get to stay in that world until they endanger themselves. And then they lose. And lose again. But what’s the point of winning? Could it be that the Game isn't just virtual, and that their survival depends on surviving the game--and working together?
I loved the idea, but the dialogue is so stilted and old-fashioned I mostly had to read around it, and the ultimate ending was far too neat for my tastes. It's worth a look if you're very interested in dystopia or looking at SF over the years--or, if you're me, still searching for a SF book from when you were a kid that had something to do with a Game that a girl could understand and a boy couldn't, and then they both escaped from...something, and the girl was really shocked when she bought food and found out it was rabbit.