Review: Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green

Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green

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.

Tenley, Sydney, and Caitlin all grew up in Echo Bay. Tenley and Caitlin were best friends before Tenley moved away. Now she’s back, but Caitlin has a new best friend. In contrast, Sydney has always been a loner. Each of the girls has a secret she’s been keeping about her past.

On the last Saturday night of summer, Tenley throws a party and starts a game of Truth or Dare. It’s a kids’ game and they’re far too old for it, but it’s her tradition. Not long after that, each of the girls receives a note with a set of instructions: another game of Truth or Dare. If they don’t follow the instructions (the dares), the mystery note sender will publicly reveal some truths. This continues with further dares, against the backdrop of the beginning of the school year and Echo Bay’s Fall Festival, as Tenley, Caitlin, and Sydney try to determine who is behind the notes and how to get them to stop.

I’m a little disappointed in Truth or Dare. When I first heard about it earlier in the year, I knew immediately that I wanted to read it, but the pacing of the book is surprisingly slow for a suspense book. It took me a lot longer to read than I would have expected. I even put it aside several times to read other books.

The main problem, I think, is that I don’t care much about any of the three main characters. They’re stereotypes: the loner, the spoiled popular girl, the popular good girl who everyone loves and who can do no wrong (her nickname is even Angel). I’m more interested in the story of the Lost Girls, three Echo Bay girls who died during the Fall Festival over the years, than I am in Sydney, Tenley, and Caitlin, although I do appreciate that Tenley and Caitlin have a real friendship. With Tenley being the Queen Bee, it would have been easy to make their relationship as shallow and superficial as she seems to be.

Even though I’m not as in love with it as I expected to be, the cliffhanger ending makes me want to continue the series. I’ll probably continue reading, or at least seek out spoilers if I can find them. I’m hoping the next book is more fast-paced than Truth or Dare. There are several plot points that don’t seem very relevant to Truth or Dare (Caitlin’s kidnapping a few years ago, Tenley’s and Sydney’s crushes on Tenley’s new stepbrother, the identity of Emerson’s older boyfriend) but I expect them to be worked into the next book.

3 stars