Truth or Dare

Common Sense Media says

Popular, rich girls star in shallow, sexy series starter.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Reluctant readers may be able to make their way through this long book -- and ask for the next in the series. 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.

Positive messages

There's a lot of problematic behavior here, including bullying. But the three different protagonists learn to work together to stop someone who's trying to ruin their lives.

Positive role models

There aren't many characters who act as role models, though Sydney's hardworking nurse mom really tries to help her daughter during a difficult time. And some of the characters remember moments when their friends were really there for them.

Violence

Kidnapping, drugging, pyromania, downing, murder -- and dangerous pranks that leave two girls dead. But none of it is told in great detail, and while the violence is pervasive, it's never very visceral.

Sex

A few kissing scenes and some heavy flirtation between a girl and her new stepbrother (including an intimate back rub). A teen is secretly dating the father of another high school girl. Scantily clad teens, sexual dares, and mentions of a boob job.

Language

A few uses of words like "crap," "bitch," "a--hole" -- and a few "holy s--t"s thrown in.

Consumerism

A few ]mentions of brands/products like Botox, Southern Comfort, Neutrogena, and Steiff Bears.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters throw parties and drink until drunkenness. One protagonist takes prescription anxiety pills and ends up in the hospital after taking too many. A picture of two protagonists shows cocaine in the background.

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.

Parents say

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Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

  • How does this book compare to Pretty Little Liars or The Lying Game? Are we meant to be envious of the pretty, popular prank-playing girls -- or read these books as cautionary tales?

  • 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?

Book details

Author:Jacqueline Green
Genre:Mystery
Topics:Friendship, High school, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Poppy
Publication date:May 14, 2013
Number of pages:400
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Truth or Dare was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old January 11, 2015
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Secrets of the past

Do you like books with action and adventure, cliffhangers and more? If so you should read Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green Tenley Reed, Caitlin Thomas, and Sydney Morgan are ordinary senior year high schoolers. Tenley wants to reclaim her fame by throwing a party. Caitlin [her best friend] helps spread the word. Sydney Morgan wasn’t even there. She was elsewhere hiding behind the camera. These girls are polar opposites, their pasts nothing alike, but one thing connects them all. It all starts the day after the party. They are forced to play a game .Truth or dare .I know right sound lame. But this isn’t the silly party fun game. This twisted game forces the three girls to do horrible things [each one getting worst and worst] or risk having their deepest secrets [the ones no-one knows about] exposed. As they go along who can they trust? Who will betray them? I felt like I could truly connect with each and every character because of how Jacqueline Green made them so real and so lifelike. She did such a good job describing their thoughts and emotions that I felt like I personally knew them. For example, I felt like I could totally understand the fear, realization, and horror that Caitlin Thomas was feeling aboard the Justice. Or just how far each of them is willing to go for one another. In my opinion Truth or Dare has a great plot is, an exciting, action packed trilogy that will have you on the edge of your seat till the very end, and the fact that it tells the true price of loyalty and bravery.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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