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Estelle: Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green

Truth or Dare by Jacqueline GreenTruth or Dare by Jacqueline Green ( twitter | web )
Part of a series.
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 416
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: high school, town curse, secrets, truth or dare
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley (Thanks!)

Summary:  Three girls — Sydney, Tenley, and Caitlin — are targeted in a dangerous take of truth or dare, which threatens to unveil their darkest secrets unless they follow suit. In the meantime, Tenley is back in town for the first time in years and wondering if she will fit in like she used to, Caitlin is running for class president and still feeling side effects from her kidnapping, and Sydney maintains her loner existence, hoping to study photography in college next year and deciphering the behavior of her “boyfriend.” With the Fall Festival approaching and the anniversary of “The Lost Girls” curse at Echo Bay, anything can happen.

At one point, I didn’t think I would finish Truth or Dare. But it was sort of like a game of Clue, I just had to figure out who was stalking these girls, making them do outrageous things to prevent their deepest, darkest secrets from being exploited. So I kept reading, I got completely sucked in, and I stayed up until almost 2 a.m. to finish.

And I felt major disappointment.

While Green’s writing is pretty strong (especially when it comes to characterization and navigating these tangled plotlines), I felt like Truth or Dare tricked me. Big time. In 400 pages, there was no reason why the ending had to feel rushed, totally lacking emotion, and left me with a cliffhanger.

THE KING OF ALL CLIFFHANGERS.

This is why I rarely invest my time with a series. It has to be getting RAVE reviews from my most-trusted friends for me to pick it up because I refuse to pay for three books just because. I prefer books in a series to hold on to some of its secrets but for them to also feel complete on their own. I don’t want to feel pushed into reading book two for any reason except I want to continue on a journey with these characters. I should never feel like I lost 400 pages of my reading time to be left with not one single resolution.

With three characters like Sydney, Caitlin, and Tenley, there is no shortage of storyline though. Sydney does not come from a well-to-do family like many in Echo Bay and works hard, using photography as a de-stresser, and figuring out what the guy of her dreams (Guinness) really wants from her. Caitlin and Tenley are old best friends, reunited and starting their senior year together. There are some growing pains because Caitlin has a new close friend (Emerson) and Tenley’s not sure where she stands. But she’s super confident and ready to take the school by storm, yet again. She’s always been known for her killer parties and crazy games of truth or dare, which is how our story get its start. With her squeaky clean reputation, Caitlin is involved in every activity imaginable and hoping to win class president, all the while dealing with flashbacks from her kidnapping, unsure that the right man was framed for the act.

Whew! It’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

Super drama (think Gossip Girl), everyone suspecting the other, and the giant mask a town “curse”… life for these three turns into an even bigger mess than it was initially. It’s pretty terrifying to think that someone knows details about your life that you have never ever shared with anyone.

(One thing I was curious about: how Green would handle new step-siblings with an obvious attraction to each other? Go figure that I found that interesting and hated that a smaller character was sleeping around with the family member of one of our main girls.)

In the thick of Truth or Dare, I felt just as glued to growing mystery and suspense as I did reading R.L. Stine books (Goosebumps and his other thrillers) back in the day. I was slowly going through the cast of characters trying to figure out the culprit before I hit the last page, but, alas, I feel like I ended the book with less knowledge than I had when I started. And the worst part? Less of a desire to find out the particulars.

Cue the big, old sigh.

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May 29, 2013 - 12:20 pm

Alexa Y. - This definitely sounds like Pretty Little Liars – high stakes, lots of drama and interwoven stories. It sounds exciting, but not quite the type of thing I’d want to read at this particular time. It’s bad enough having to deal with cliffhangers in my fantasy series; I can’t imagine dealing with a cliffhanger in a series like this one!

May 27, 2013 - 11:59 am

Rachel - So I know we talked a little bit about this book earlier this week, but for some reason after reading your review I want to read it now. Like, I can totally see why it wasn’t for you, but this sounds like the kind of thing I love. I love crazy cliffhangers because they always mess with my brain. Oh, and this sounds like Pretty Little Liars or some other teen show like that and I love those so I could definitely see myself liking this one.

May 25, 2013 - 9:59 am

Kelly - This sounds EXACTLY like Pretty Little Liars! Friends who are reunited, a new best friend finding it awkward to fit in with the old best friends, one girl’s love of photography, one girl who is Miss Super Academia, Class President straight-A student, someone knowing intimate details of your life that you thought you hadn’t shared with anyone…

If it’s written anything like that TV show (I haven’t read the books), then I can see why you wouldn’t be able to put it down!

Frustrating that it ends on such a killer cliffhanger though. Like you, I like for the main issues to be resolved and for me to continue with a series out of love for the characters – not out of a desire to get the answers to book one.

May 25, 2013 - 6:12 am

Lori - I have a very love hate relationship with cliffhangers. I think I’ll probably skip this one. Thanks for the fab review!

May 24, 2013 - 2:54 am

Laura @ the Booksmartie - Mhm…it’s weird, somehow…your review made me really, really curious about the series 🙂 I mean, I should actually do what you said you do: not start every YA series that’s out there, cause I usually end up confronted with a pile of books to read and characters to remember without really caring about the books or the characters anymore. Anyway, I didn’t really know what to expect from this book from just the synopsis, but your review gave a really good overview and now I find myself really excited. Probably also because, if I do like a series, I don’t mind cliffhangers 🙂 Definitely thanks for the great review!

May 23, 2013 - 7:48 pm

Janita @ Book, Interrupted - I think I can live with that cliffhanger. Is still sounds like an interesting read, but I’ll probably wait until at least the next book comes out to get to it. Great revewi!

May 23, 2013 - 4:48 pm

Vy - Hmmm I’ve been seeing some raving reviews but I’m not exactly a fan of the super drama. And oh my goodness those cliff hangers. They cause so much pain but yet I still read it. Thanks for the great review, Estelle!

May 23, 2013 - 2:49 pm

Mel@thedailyprophecy - Oh boy, I hate cliff-hangers. If there is one thing I can’t stand.. I hate it when I am forced to read the other books in order to understand the story. I need a bit of closure.. I’m not going to read this one any time soon, thanks for the warning.

May 23, 2013 - 12:05 pm

elena - UGH CLIFFHANGERS!!!! i totally agree with you. that’s why i try (keyword: try) to wait until a series is done to binge. i can see why you would stay up late to read this book. it def sounds like a page turner and would make a good, soapy teen show.

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