Title: Truth or Dare
Author: Non Pratt
Publication date: 1 June 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary
Truth: I loved this book.
Dare: Try to read it without falling in love with it too.
Some dares, much like the one above, are just impossible. Truth or Dare is the story of Sef and Claire, who meet when Claire starts volunteering at the clinic where Sef’s brother, Kam, has been staying since an accident left him with severe neurological disabilities. Despite Sef’s initial reluctancy, they work together to try to raise enough money to keep Kam in the specialist clinic. This leads to them setting up a YouTube channel where they fulfil different truths and dares in return for donations from viewers.
Adopting on-screen personas as ‘Truth Girl’ and ‘Dare Boy’, the dares get more and more extreme, until they need to promise something really big in order to get enough money in. It’s a dare that threatens to ruin their relationship, but is it worth it to help Kam?
Having adored all of Non Pratt’s previous books, I had high expectations of Truth or Dare and it didn’t disappoint. Non really gets teen voices in a way that is authentic to teens of 2017 but also reminiscent of those teenage experiences that are universal, irrespective of time.
The standout aspect of Truth or Dare is the expert handling of a dual narrative. We first read the story from Claire’s perspective, then again from Sef’s, before reaching the ending which skips from one to the other more rapidly. I was completed sucked into Claire’s viewpoint and then had to completely re-evaluate my perspective on events when I read Sef’s. It was great to see the differences between Claire’s view of him and how he viewed himself. I appreciated how he really was just an average teenage boy, excited by girls, struggling with with his flaws and trying to work out who he is, rather than the slightly romanticised character that Claire first introduces us to.
I also applaud Non for actually understanding YouTube, from the basics of setting up and maintaining a channel to the complicated dynamics between ‘big YouTubers’ and those just starting out. Unlike in many other YA novels, it didn’t feel like YouTube had been forced into the story, without any research, in an attempt to be ‘down with the kids’.
Truth or Dare is on track to being one of my top YA releases of 2017. Go get it!