Book Review: "Truth or Dare" by Nicole O'Dell

Lindsay Martin is faced with a tough choice: Does she give in to peer pressure and make her friends happy or does she do what she knows is right—even if it means losing her friends forever? Tween readers make the choice in this interactive story and see how the consequences change Lindsay’s life. Includes a contract and prayer to remind the reader of the importance of making godly decisions.

When I was growing up, I adored the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I would try out every scenario and keep my thumb held in place so I could go back and switch my decision to get a different outcome. The problem with those books though was that they usually involved situations that I would never find myself in and therefore couldn't really relate to. Therefore I was pleased to hear that there were these books coming out that were in the same vein as the CYOA books but involved real teens and tweens in situations that come across in life. This books deals with the ever popular game of Truth or Dare and the subject of peer pressure. Girls of this age deal with this issue pretty much every day of their lives and it's good to know that there are books out there that tackle this topic and try to help guide them in making good decisions. The characters in this book have to make choices about how their actions will affect their lives and whether they end up suffering the consequences of their mistakes or reaping the benefits of their smart choice. It was refreshing to see Lindsay have a good relationship with her parents and that it was easy for her to talk to them about almost everything.

As much as I enjoyed the book I did have a few qualms with it however. The first was I felt that the girls acted a bit young for eighth graders. I only say this because other mainstream YA books that feature girls that age, the characters act older. I'm not implying that they should be acting like adults or even older teens and worry about subjects like sex. It's just even in a series like The Baby-Sitters Club, 13 year olds were acting more mature and had responsibilities.
In this book there's a lot of giggling and the girls seems to be very naive. I honestly don't know any 13 year olds who don't know that buying alcohol as a minor is illegal. It just seemed to take away from the story because it seemed so highly unlikely that this could happen and that the parents, who are otherwise good role models, never told their daughter this. The other thing was there are several sermons in the the book such as one of the characters goes to church or at youth group. While there's nothing wrong with it, I just felt it was really out of place for a YA book. I'm not a fan of reading sermons even in adult fiction and it sorta made me lose interest during those few pages.I think that some target age readers might feel the same way about that especially if they aren't Christians. It just seemed a bit wordy and a little preachy. I'd much rather see the message lived out in the story rather than just words dictating it.

Other that that, I did enjoy reading this book. It was a fun read and it was really cool to make a choice at the end. Since I have that habit of choosing every scenario, I read both and was pleased with the outcome of each. This is a really unique series idea and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books and making more decisions! While the series is marketed as young adult, I would classify this one as being more tween-centered (10-13).

Truth or Dare by Nicole O'Dell is published by Barbour (2009)


  1. I totally think this book was geared towards my 10 year old daughter! She told me that she knew drinking was illegal, but she didn't know that it was illegal to purchase it -- not that she'd every try she said! She couldn't get enough of this particular story. I think you're right that the girls' behavior was probably more typical for younger girls, but I think mainstream fiction often times has the girls acting way too old! I think it comes down to the individual girl! :)

  2. Thanks for the great review. It's good to hear different perspectives and I'm so glad you liked the book. You'll probably like books 3 and 4,which are due for release in April. They have slightly older characters with more mature situations like retail theft at a first job and performance enhancement drugs on the swim team.

    Thanks again!


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