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About The Book

They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen’s Gambit in this “stunning…unforgettable” (Publishers Weekly) thriller set in the world of competitive Scrabble, where a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.

13 points
noun: a substance that speeds up a reaction without itself changing

When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It seems that even though Najwa is trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Azalia Suhaimi

Hanna Alkaf is the author of The Weight of Our SkyQueen of the TilesThe Girl and The Ghost, and Hamra and the Jungle of Memories, as well as coeditor of the young adult anthology The Grimoire of Grave Fates. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has spent most of her life working with words, both in fiction and nonfiction. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her family.

About The Reader

Why We Love It

“Hanna is so good at writing winsome, charming characters while also exploring real teenage issues through them. Though Najwa suffers from PTSD and is struggling with grief and anxiety, her challenges don’t define her; throughout the story, she never loses her sharp, sarcastic, and biting sense of humor, and, as a result, is such a loveable main character. The characters and their relationships with each other is what makes this book so memorable, along with the unique setting of ot being set at a Scrabble competition.”

—Deeba Z., Editor, on Queen of the Tiles

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (April 19, 2022)
  • Runtime: 8 hours and 39 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797146669
  • Grades: 7 and up
  • Ages: 12 - 99

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Awards and Honors

  • NYPL Best Books for Teens
  • ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults - Top Ten

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