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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