Jacqueline Green’s Truth or Dare takes the concept of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Pretty Little Liars to the small seaside town of Echo Bay. Artsy outcast Sydney Morgan and pretty, popular childhood BFF’s Caitlin Thomas and Tenley Reed receive mysterious dares containing hints to long-kept secrets. As with any self-respecting horror thriller, the attempt to keep these secrets hidden only leads to the need to keep even more secrets, and the girls’ lives quickly spiral into a seemingly never ending loop of jealousy and betrayal.
With a book like this, you don’t necessarily expect amazing character development, but rather a tense, gripping read. Unfortunately, the book falls short on both counts. It was an okay book – the writing style was solid, and the suspense was enough to keep me turning the pages. It just didn’t make me care enough to want to read more of the series (and a cliffhanger ending straight out of Pretty Little Liars indicates the story is far from done).
The characters were pretty flat, stock figures. I did sympathize with Tenley’s desperate desire to reclaim her popularity, as well as with Caitlin’s desire to be known for something beyond “perfect,” but not enough nuance was given these characters to make it really stick. Worse, Sydney, the loner who is traditionally the reader’s entry point into stories like this, is such a stereotype that it’s hard to feel invested in her at all.
The dares in themselves begin fairly innocuous then get more and more twisted. I like how for the most part, none of the girls knew the others were also receiving threats, and I also like how the threats were very personal, each dare revealing something new about one of the characters. Yet for some reason, there was little ratcheting of suspense – for the most part it felt like one dare after another with hardly a sense of movement in the overall story.
It’s all right. It just pales in comparison with both I Know What You Did Last Summer and Pretty Little Liars. I remember after reading Pretty Little Liars wanting to read the next book immediately, and the one after that, until I find out who A is and what their problem is. I felt no such urgency in this book, and even when the source behind the dares was revealed, I was surprised, but mostly apathetic. Read Pretty Little Liars instead.
Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.