Review: Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green

book coverARC: 416 pages 
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: May 14, 2013
ISBN: 9780316220361
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Truth or Dare #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

When a simple round of truth or dare spins out of control, three girls find it’s no longer a party game. It’s do or die.
It all started on a whim: the game was a way for Tenley Reed to reclaim her popularity, a chance for perfect Caitlin “Angel” Thomas to prove she’s more than her Harvard application. Loner Sydney Morgan wasn’t even there; she was hiding behind her camera like usual. But when all three start receiving mysterious dares long after the party has ended, they’re forced to play along—or risk exposing their darkest secrets.
How far will Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney go to keep the truth from surfacing? And who’s behind this twisted game?
Set against the backdrop of Echo Bay, an isolated beach town haunted by misfortune,
Truth or Dare is a highly charged debut that will keep readers in suspense from beginning to end.

Caitlin and Tenley are best friends and two of my most popular girls in school. Sydney is a loner who finds solace behind the lens of her camera. But when someone starts leaving the three girls dares that threatens to reveal their secrets if they do not follow through, things quickly spiral out of control.

Each girl had experienced horrible tragedies and/or have a horrible home life--Sydney has a serial cheater of a dad and has pyromaniac tendencies; Tenley lost her dad and was left with her superficial mom; Caitlin was kidnapped when she was younger and is plagued by nightmares, is being pressured by her mom about Harvard, suffers from panic attacks, etc. Hence, they all have secrets they do not want to get out. But no matter the drama and awfulness the girls faced there was disconnect between myself as a reader and their characters. Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney went through terrible ordeals but I couldn't hurt or fear for them and fully empathize with theim as I wanted to. The way they were written felt almost clinical, they were missing that heart that makes you care for them.

What impressed me most was that Truth or Dare gave me the run around, trying to figure out who the sinister darer was. Usually, I am able to figure out who the bad guy was early on whenever I read mystery novels but, here, it took me a while. I had a theory as to who it was (and I was right!) but it was not until a major clue at about the last fourth of the book that I was 100% sure. I really liked that it kept me second guessing myself throughout.

Truth or Dare is a bit of a monster book at over 400 pages and the build up was huge and exciting to that final confrontation with the darer. Like I said, it gave me quite a run around trying to figure out who the bad guy was. Unfortunately, parts of that final confrontation was glazed over (I really wish the comeuppance of the darer wasn't told in a flashback after the event), which made it a bit of a let down. Also, the mystery continues on to book two and there were plenty of unanswered questions which was frustrating.

Okay, this is sounding like a negative review when I did ENJOY Truth or Dare.

It's one of those books that despite its major flaws, I still liked it. Because while I was disconnected to the characters and the ending left me frustrated, the mystery was engaging and the horrible secrets and drama was exciting. I kept reading wanting the next clue as to see if my bad guy theory was correct, I wanted to see what horrible thing the darer will make the girls do next, I wanted to see how the boy dramas and BFF dramas will all unfold... All of that was very readable.

I gotta say though, I found Truth or Dare a better read than The Rules for Disappearing (the other mystery/triller I've read this month).

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