Truth or Dare

*CAUTION: Contains major spoilers*

Title: Truth or Dare
Author: Jacqueline Green
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Pages: 389
Genre: Mystery
Source: Library
Rating: 1/5

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.

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This book simply didn’t work for me. It was basically a Pretty Little Liars/Burn for Burn rip-off, only not nearly as suspenseful. I felt like the lack of suspense was a little pathetic, actually, considering it was played up to be so dramatic and all. Throughout the whole book, I just kept waiting to feel that edge of anticipation, but it never came, partially because the plot was so predictable. I also didn’t think Green’s methods of inciting suspense were very effective. Whenever she gave hints about who the darer could be, she actually wrote “_________ could be the darer!” I think the reader would know what she was getting at even without her explicitly pointing it out.

The characters were also a huge issue for me, which is never good, because plot and characters are pretty crucial to a story, as you all know. They were just so cliche and boring and generally unlikeable that I couldn’t bring myself to care about their “darkest” secrets being exposed. Sydney, Caitlin, and Tenley were a combination of the worst high school cliches in existence: the misunderstood loner, the goody-two-shoes (I mean, even Caitlin’s nickname is Angel, for crying out loud! How lame), and the spoiled rich girl. These cliches are basically the extent of each character’s…well, character, so simplified they couldn’t get an ounce of sympathy from me.

I also felt the secrets were pretty boring and honestly a little stupid. I despise Tenley as a character, and would probably hate her guts in real life, too. This girl is a pageant competitor who gets a boob job, and the darer threatens to spill her secret right before a major competition. However, it’s never explained whether it was Tenley or her mother who wanted her to get the boob job, so I didn’t know whether I should feel sorry for her or just continue hating her. Another thing about Tenley: She assumes the world revolves around her. I hated the fact that she just assumed Sydney was the darer because she’s a loner and poor and of course everyone wants to antagonize the poor little rich girl.

At least Caitlin had the good sense to question Tenley’s perception of Sydney, but even Caitlin turned out to be a boring character. NEWS FLASH: Nobody is that perfect. Caitlin in general was a pretty unrealistic character, from her facade of perfection to the dramatic night that darer tried to expose. I thought she would be more interesting due to the kidnapping incident, but even that turned out to be a bust when she FREAKING DIES for no reason when she remembers who took her (prediction: it was the crazy aunt that whoever-the-fuck mentions at the end. Also, apologies for swearing, but this book is making me angry. And NOT in a good way). There is no reason Caitlin needed to die.

Sydney was the one I tried to like. She has her pyromania issues, and her romance with Guinness (which, by the way, is the dumbest name I’ve ever heard), but even with her I just didn’t connect. Her fire-starting didn’t actually CAUSE the accident, so I’m not sure why she was so supposedly terrified of the darer revealing what she and Guinness had been doing that night. I guess I get the fact that she’s embarrassed/ashamed of her condition, but even that didn’t make me feel much for her. Guinness was also a big turn-of for me in terms of liking Sydney, because he was obviously a jerk and didn’t treat her well. Just…no, Guinness, no. I know you have a shitty name, but really?

This is the second worst debut I’ve read this year, and I hope I don’t get to a third. If you’re already at two or three crappy 2013 releases, don’t add this one to your list.

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