Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: Dare Me, by Eric Devine

While Dare Me kept my attention with no problem, I did find the premise to be a bit far-fetched at times.

Ben, along with his friends, Ricky and John intend to have the best senior year ever. They plan to do a daring prank every month and post it to YouTube in the hopes that these pranks will make them famous.

After the first prank, Ricky reveals that it was a test, and since they did so well, they have a sponsor that will pay them based on the number of hits each video receives. All they have to do is sign the contract. Which they do. Without reading it. You can probably see where this is going.

The pranks are all potentially deadly and most would say too risky. But they get lucky, mostly, and at least they don't get killed. The hits go up after each prank. The money is rolling in. But something is fishy about their sponsor. It doesn't appear that he really works for the outdoor company that he claims to represent. I really didn't feel the part about the bogus contract was necessary, except it did allow for a money angle. You see, these boys each in their own way really need money.

There are some secondary characters and story lines that really make Dare Me worthwhile. Ben has a sister in college who figures out Ben is doing this. His father has lost his job, and they must move. There's a homosexual relationship -- or at least a hint at one. There's a bit of a love triangle. Ben works with his childhood friend, Alexia, and he's head over heels for her. But she has a boyfriend and she shows up at work with bruises on her arm. Chantel, Alexia's friend, suddenly shows a romantic interest in Ben.

These boys are under a lot of stress. Ben's grades are suffering and his SAT score is horrible. His chances of going to college are fading away. John is up for a basketball scholarship, and with each dare he worries that he's going to get hurt.

The relationships and dealing with these stresses are what make Dare Me a rich story. It's more than just the dares. The actual story drug at times for me, mostly during the execution of the pranks. I really liked the way it all ended, though. While a bit over-the-top, it was exciting, and I appreciated the resolution.

I'll recommend Dare Me to teen boys without hesitation. (Not that girls won't like it, but they'll pick it up on their own.) I don't think they will feel the drag of the pranks as much as this old lady did. It gets harder and harder to get back my teen mindset. While the dares may be the teen reader's favorite part, I think they will also appreciate the relationships, just as I did. They may not realize it, but there are lessons to be learned here.

Published by Running Press Teens, October 8, 2013
Copy obtained from the publisher
334 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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