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July 17, 2013 • Cee • Reviews

Jacqueline Green - Truth or DareTruth or Dare by Jacqueline Green
May 14, 2013

Poppy/Paper Lantern Lit
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When a simple round of truth or dare spins out of control, three girls find it’s no longer a party game. It’s do or die.

It all started on a whim: the game was a way for Tenley Reed to reclaim her popularity, a chance for perfect Caitlin “Angel” Thomas to prove she’s more than her Harvard application. Loner Sydney Morgan wasn’t even there; she was hiding behind her camera like usual. But when all three start receiving mysterious dares long after the party has ended, they’re forced to play along—or risk exposing their darkest secrets.

How far will Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney go to keep the truth from surfacing? And who’s behind this twisted game?

Set against the backdrop of Echo Bay, an isolated beach town haunted by misfortune, Truth or Dare is a highly charged debut that will keep readers in suspense from beginning to end.

myreview

First sentence: “The water was everywhere.”

A lot is said about a book when –1. I feel a sense of dread, 2. I have to force myself to continue reading, and 3. I cannot come up with at least two things I like about the book. Truth or Dare is one of those books.

This book reminded of I Know What You Did Last Summer, only because it’s set in a coastal town (with docks and everything), a festival every summer, and a mysterious person stalking them, as well as Pretty Little Liars because of the notes aspect. When I began reading it, I felt the prickly sensation on the back of my neck that this plot was going to be a typical/tired thriller story about notes and revenge with truth or dare mixed into it. Nothing new or truly suspenseful to keep me on the edge of my seat. Nothing was at stake for the girls, yes, their reputations would take a huge blow if their secrets were revealed, but nothing life-threatening like the promise of death.

Truth or Dare is about three girls – Sydney (the loner who does not come from money), Caitlin (the overachiever who seeks excitement), and Tenley (the popular one who recently moved back to town) – who are faced with a threat to their reputations when a mysterious person leaves them notes with dares that they must do or else. It’s set in Echo Bay, a town where a few girls, named the Lost Girls, drowned by Phantom Rock during Fall Festival.  I will cut to the chase – I didn’t like any of girls. (How is that even possible?) They felt like shells, they held no substance. Yes, the readers get their back story – their quirks and problems – but I never connected with them. They were insufferable and had no redeeming qualities. They were bullies, and they never own up to it. Just because you give these girls a long list of problems does not mean the girls are well-developed characters. (You have to actually slow down and try to attempt at a resolution like having the girls confront their problems, which the girls do not do at all.) So much information is thrown at the readers that I’m not surprising that nothing stuck.

Another issue I had with the book was that I wasn’t concern with the “who-is-this-mysterious-darer-slash-blackmailer,” rather each girl’s personal problems. I wanted to see the problems (like adultery, bullying, homosexuality, kidnapping) be flushed out more and eventually be resolved (or at least have them deal with it/address it more), but that didn’t happen. Important issues are never dealt with in this book; especially bullying, which is extremely important in this because it’s the reason why the darer decides to take revenge. We are supposed to move on from these problems because the plot isn’t necessarily about it? Bullshit. That’s not cool.

Another issue I had was Caitlin’s kidnapping (which happened before the start of the book). I thought it would play a bigger part in the story because the first time we are introduced to her is at the therapist office, talking about her nightmares. And from time to time, Caitlin’s memory is shown to be slowly coming back to her (but it’s somewhat awkwardly placed throughout the book). But alas, the kidnapping has no impact on the story whatsoever.  Also, the identity of her kidnapper was never revealed, which made me want to rip apart the book.) If you are not going to deal with the kidnapping or any of the issues that were brought up in the book, do not even dare to mention it. I want a little resolution. (I think it would’ve been 100 times more interesting, albeit a bit cliché, if the kidnapper played a bigger role in the book. That would’ve probably kept me on the edge of my seat because I really wanted to know who the kidnapper was, not the darer/blackmailer.)

And that ending. We find out the identity of the darer/blackmailer extremely fast. There isn’t time to slow down. I would’ve liked for more hints at the person’s identity. Be flushed out more. And man, of course we end the book with an ominous “you think this is over, but this is just round one.” Why wasn’t I surprised by the ending? Now, the question is: is the darer really dead? Or is it another person taking the original darer’s place? Honestly, I may pick up the next book to see if Caitlin’s kidnapper is identified. Maybe.

The only thing I liked about the book was the superb writing. Other than that, I think you’re better off watching I Know What You Did Last Summer or Pretty Little Liars than reading this book.

gradeD+