I'm looking for the name of a book about a video game that makes its players do cruel acts in real life in order to be able to continue playing the game. The main character is a teenage boy. The game is distributed using CDs, and for some reason the other students try to avoid giving a copy of the game to the main character, but he does somehow end up getting one. The climax is when the game makes a player try to kill someone in real life. The game was originally one where the players had to do kind things in real life, but something that I can't remember happened that involved the target of the game's assassination attempt, so the creator changed the game in order to cause the death of this person. If I remember correctly, the book had a red cover and the title was one word. Any help would be appreciated!
That's Erebos (2010) by Ursula Poznanski.
When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.
Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.
Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur.
Red cover indeed:
It's a good book, definitely worth a read.