A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Truth or Dare is about teen girls who are targeted for dangerous dares, which ultimately result in the death of two young women. Other characters are drugged, drowned, hospitalized, and more -- but while the violence is pervasive, it's never very visceral. There's some kissing and taboo flirtation between a girl and her new stepbrother. Characters also throw parties and drink until drunkenness. One protagonist takes prescription anxiety pills and ends up in the hospital after taking too many. In the end, this is mostly titillating fluff, though it could open up some thoughtful discussions about popularity or even how this book compares to similar titles like Pretty Little Liars or The Lying Game.
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What's the story?
Set in a wealthy East Coast beach community, TRUTH OR DARE is a series starter starring three pretty teens: overachiever Caitlin; her best friend, Tenley, a popular mean girl who recently moved back to town; and poor, outcast Sydney. When Tenley starts a game of truth or dare at a party, she just wants to have some naughty fun -- but later, Caitlin, Tenley, and Sydney all start receiving cryptic dares. Some of these dares force the girls to betray one another to keep their own painful secrets hidden, and soon accusations are flying. Meanwhile, the Fall Festival is approaching, a weekend celebration during which -- over the years -- three other pretty, popular, rich girls have drowned in the ocean. Will one of the three protagonists be joining the Lost Girls club?
Is it any good?
This cinematic book races from a gripping first scene to a dramatic conclusion. And the unfolding plot reveals plenty of scandalous details: There's a kidnapping victim, a pyromaniac with anger issues, a possible romance between step-siblings, and plenty of other salacious material that will keep readers speed reading through to the end.
Of course, close readers won't be surprised by the rather overwrought conclusion, but the author certainly leaves enough room to explore more mysteries in the next installment. In the end, Truth or Dare isn't a book that will stick with readers in any deep way, but teens looking for some light reading to keep them entertained on vacation may want to throw this one in the beach bag.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about outsiders. There are several characters in this book who are suspicious mostly because they have a low social standing. Is it true that we often fear those who are different or plain weird? Is that fear justified?
Do you think this book will become a movie? How do you think studios decide which stories to turn into films? If this one makes the cut, who would you cast in the starring roles?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love mystery and suspense
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