Title: Truth or Dare
Author: Barbara Dee
Recommended for: Grades 5 -7
Call Number/Link: J Fiction Dee, B.
Synopsis: Lia’s four best friends have always been there for her, in good times and bad. It’s thanks to the loyal supportive friendship of Marley, Abi, Makayla, and Jules that Lia’s doing okay after her mom dies in a car crash.
But the summer before seventh grade, Lia’s feeling out of sync with her friends. And after a vacation up in Maine, Lia returns home to find her friends…well, different. For one thing, they’re arguing more than ever. Also, they’re competing. And some of them are making her feel like a “late bloomer.”
When her friends launch into an extended game of Truth or Dare, Lia tells a lie about her summer just to keep up with them. Then she tells another lie. And another. Soon, it’s hard to remember what’s a lie and what isn’t. Friendships are threatened, boys are getting kissed (or note), and Lia’s wondering if there’s anyone to confide in.
Review: Okay, the only thing I had a small issue with that in 7th grade most of the girls hadn’t heard of/played truth or dare. That seemed a bit unrealistic, but I understand it was to set up what follows. And what follows is fantastic. It’s all about the strains of friendship, bullying, and finding where you belong. I love how the Dee tackles the whole Queen Bee thing and how sometimes it’s so easy to follow when you know it’s not right. And even when you try to stand up to the bullies, it doesn’t mean you’ll handle it correctly. Lia makes some pretty big blunders, but I’m glad she was able to own up to most of them.
The other thing I really loved was the talk of puberty. It’s a big deal to get you’re period and start “blooming” and all that jazz. It’s so easy to feel like you’re “left behind” when all your friends are hitting that milestone. I loved Lia’s journey through this and the realization that being a late bloomer is okay. I think a lot of girls at that age struggle with that so it was nice to see a book tackle that nicely.
I think girls in 5th – 7th grade who may be struggling with some of the same milestones and issues will love this book and get a lot out of it.