Truth or Dare
Author: Barbara Dee
Published September 20th, 2016 by Aladdin
Summary: 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.
In this funny, touching coming-of-age story, Lia learns that it’s possible to face the hardest truths–as long as you have the right people by your side.
Review: I haven’t read any Barbara Dee books until now, and I now see why so many of my middle school girls like her stories. The drama in Truth or Dare (sadly) feels so real to the girl drama I witness as a middle school teacher. Although parts may be a bit exaggerated a bit from the truth, it works to get the point across which I think is often needed when dealing with social situations in middle school to help the reader see the consequences.
I also really liked the truth of Lia’s family, their grief, and the struggle between Lia’s aunt’s eccentricity and Lia’s family’s rigidity.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Truth or Dare was written for middle grade girls. It is a story that will help them with so many transitioning issues when it comes to puberty and friendship and school. This is a must have for libraries and classrooms.
Discussion Questions: Why did Lia lie during Truth or Dare?; How did Lia’s Aunt Shelby change Lia’s life?; What are the signs of a bully?; Do you think bullying can be hereditary?; Why do you think girls compare themselves to other girls so much?; Which of Lia’s friends really cares for Lia as she is?; Why does Lia have collections? How do they help her?
Flagged Passages: “By ‘okay’ I’m not saying we weren’t sad about Mom because we were. I mean, we were incredibly sad. But Nate had his baseball team, and I had my friends, plus the constant hugs and attention of the Mom Squad. And whenever I felt jittery or lonesome at home, I’d pick up a book, or I’d sort through my collections. And time would pass–sometimes too much time–while I organized tiny things by color or size.
But especially at night, in the minutes before I drifted off to sleep, I’d feel a kind of dull ache in my chest, a missing-Mom ache. When I got that ache, I couldn’t distract myself with marbles or books. Or with anything else, for that matter. And more and more, especially lately, there were things I wish I could discuss with her–not with Dad, or Val, or anyone else.” (p. 23)
Read This If You Loved: The Summer I Saved the World…in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz, Still a Work in Progress by Jo Knowles, Camp Rolling Hills by Stacy Davidowitz, Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker by Kristina Springer, Audition & Subtraction by Amy Fellner Dominy, Drama by Raina Telgemeier