From the Bellevue Literary Review
“This is how we play the game: pink means kissing; red means tongue. Green means up your shirt; blue means down his pants. Purple means in your mouth. Black means all the way.”
A group of eighth grade girls, from the working people side of the tracks, play a game at recess where they leave themselves open to the desires of their male classmates. When a new girl, Grace, comes to town, she is a year younger so they abandon the game to help Grace with her new school. She is a willing novice to things like stealing, makeup, sneaking into adult movies. There is a constant acceleration of what they teach her, but most of it at her request. But for a long time, they refuse to show her how to play the "game."When she insists, there is a Lord of the Flies scene where the girls initiate her. This is a fairly brutal story, not so much that anything too frightening happens, but in how badly the girls behave. Ng is the author of LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE which had a fair share of brutality too. Ng is a skilled writer and the story won a Pushcart Prize.