cover image The Dare

The Dare

Natasha Preston. Delacorte, $12.99 paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-5937-0406-6

Academic focus is at an all-time low at senior Marley Croft’s high school, where, with three weeks left in the school year, dares of increasing complexity and danger are handed out to willing—and unwilling—soon-to-be graduates as part of a long-standing tradition of senior pranks. Rhett Wilder, the leader of the pranksters, comes from a rich and powerful family—and was also once Marley’s best friend. Rhett assigns Marley and her crew—including boyfriend Atlas, bestie Luce, and Luce’s boyfriend Jesse—several dares, the second of which turns deadly, leaving the group contending with an impossible situation that threatens to completely overturn their lives. As the teens attempt to move on from the event, they’re forced to lie to keep from being connected to the prank. Tensions increase, the group begins falling apart, and Marley finds that the others have started acting weird—and are aligning themselves against her. Though the novel’s outcome feels somewhat ambiguous, Marley is a smart and empathetic protagonist whose plans to save herself only reinforce this characterization in this ever-escalating suspense thriller by Preston (The Haunting). Characters are minimally described. Ages 12–up. (May)