Review: Dare Me

Dare Me book cover
Image from Eric Devine

Title: Dare Me

Author: Eric Devine

Genre: Contemporary

Back Cover:

It’s simple: complete ten dares in ten months to achieve greatness. Ben Candido and his friends Ricky and John are convinced that this will make their senior year legendary. But simple becomes complicated when their videos go viral and the mysterious funder of the dares makes increasingly dangerous demands. Broken bones, Kevlar vests, tasers…while Ben may make his mark in infamy, will it come at the cost of the rest of his life?


Admittedly, this isn’t a book I would normally read. But I liked the idea of some high school boys taking on dangerous dares for “greatness.” And then I read the first line: “There is no doubt that one of us will die.” That settled it – I was going to read this book.

I don’t want to do one of my regular reviews, where I talk about the characters and plot twists and everything. I think that would ruin the magic of the book.

I’m not sure exactly what to say about Dare Me. It was … different.

The boys were completely crazy. Jumping off bridges, shooting themselves with tasers, self-destructively insane. Yet it made perfect sense. I could relate to their desire for – I don’t know what to call it. Infamy? Attention? Doing something outside the status quo?

I liked Ben and hated Ricky and wished John would grow a spine, but strangely enough, Ben’s older sister Ginny was my favorite character. I didn’t think I would like her at first, but I did. She was caring and concerned for her little brother, even if she could be manipulative. If I had a big sister, I would want her to be just like Ginny.

I didn’t expect a whole lot out of this book, except death-defying dares. Dare Me overdelivered. There were death-defying dares. But there were also abusive boyfriends, a mixed-up romance, and a family falling apart, friendships being built and crumbling and rotting from within. And a bittersweet but perfect ending.

It was suspenseful. Dark. Violent. Heartbreaking. And beautiful. A quote from Kirkus Reviews on the cover called it “Astute and riveting,” and that describes it, if inadequately. But I’m not sure the words exist for what this book is.

The storyline, most of the characters, the unnecessary violence … many times, the book repulsed me. But somehow, I connected with it. So even though I didn’t like the book in the sense that I enjoyed it as entertainment, but I loved it in the sense that it spoke to me. I have no better way to describe my reaction to Dare Me than, I didn’t like this book, but I loved it.

UPDATE: Eric Devine tweeted a link to my review!


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