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Literature / The Bailey Game

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"Every school has places that you can find if you want to, if you don’t want people to see you. That was important in the Bailey Game – being secret."

The Bailey Game is a novel by Celia Rees. It was published in 1994.

The plot of the novel centres on Alexandra "Alex" Lewis, a schoolgirl, and her new classmate, Lauren Price. While Alex is rather well-liked among her peers, Lauren is an outcast. Initially the students' hostility towards Lauren is subtle, but soon they become openly hateful and start to pick on her, led by Sandra "Sandi" Mitchell and Greg Simpson. Alex is horrified, as something very similar happened to a boy named Michael Bailey several years ago, and it did not end well for him.


This novel provides examples of:

  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: In order to intimidate Lauren and Alex, Greg Simpson threatens not only them, but also Lauren's little sister Caroline.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Lauren Price is ostracised and picked on by her classmates. When Alex stands up for her, she becomes a victim as well. Also, in the past, Michael Bailey was a victim of this.
  • Alpha Bitch: Sandi Mitchell.
  • Anachronic Order: The narrative switches between the past and the present.
  • The Bully: Greg Simpson.
  • Cheerful Child: Lauren's sister Caroline.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": As shown in Chapter 2, Sandi will only respond to her nickname, and won't even react if you call her by her full first name.
  • Driving Question: What happened to Michael Bailey?
  • Extreme Doormat: Sandi's "best friend" Andrea Bowman. In the flashbacks, Michael Bailey comes across as this as well, considering that he never shows any kind of resistance against the bullies.
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  • Gang of Bullies: The Bridge Boys.
  • Girl Posse: Sandi Mitchell is usually surrounded by one.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Alex in the backstory.
  • History Repeats: On a much smaller scale than usual, but still.
  • Jerkass: Greg Simpson.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
  • Love Martyr: Andrea Bowman.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Caroline.
  • Ouija Board: Caroline owns one, and at one point in the novel, she tries to use it to communicate with Michael Bailey's ghost.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil
  • The Reveal: Chapter 19, where the full story of what happened to Michael Bailey is revealed.
  • Tears of Remorse: Alex, when she remembers her involvement in the class's bullying of Michael Bailey.

Example of: