A series written by L. J. Smith. The Forbidden Game tells the story of Jenny Thornton, a girl who buys a board game for her boyfriend's birthday party. She finds herself drawn to the strange boy who sold her the game. When her and her six friends start to play the game, the fun quickly turns to terror as they are sucked into the game. The first three books in the series are:
- The Hunter, 1994
- The Chase, 1994
- The Kill, 1994
The Forbidden Game contains examples of:
- Axe-Crazy: Book two opens with the perspective of a boy obsessed with hunting.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: When Julian makes it clear that Jenny will be his prize should they lose the game, Tom tries to tackle him. Then Julian starts the game for real, nightmares and all.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Used In-Universe. After an accident at her Grandfather's house, Jenny was covered in scratches, her clothes were torn and she refused to talk to anyone. Jenny's friends had been under the assumption that her Grandfather had hurt her before disappearing, but after confronting her memory in the game they eventually find out it was the Shadow Men.
- The Fair Folk: The Shadow Men.
- The Game Plays You: The entire premise of the first book's story is that a bunch of teenagers play an evil role-playing game. They make characters and have to navigate through a model of a house.
- Gilded Cage: Compared to what Julian could be doing the settings for the first two books qualify.
- The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Julian originally sells the Forbidden Game out of a shop located in the middle of a mural that disappears as soon as Jenny leaves it.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: What Julian is offering Jenny without quite understanding why it would be frightening and horrible for her to completely give in.
- Love Triangle: Jenny, Julian, and Tom are part of one.
- Nice Guy: Tom. It's why Jenny cares about him so much.
- Satellite Love Interest: Tom is not characterized as much in The Hunter, but gets some Character Development in the other books.
- Stalker with a Crush: Julian acts this way towards Jenny.
- Took a Level in Badass: Jenny mainly but all of the friends to some extent.
- Villainous Crush: Julian towards Jenny. He even compares it to Hades and Persephone.