It Started with a Dare Review
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When 15-year-old CG Silverman moved to the posh Pennsylvania suburb of Beaubridge, she figured that her new life would be pretty much the same as her life in Philadelphia had been. She expected to be just another faceless nobody in the high school sea—only, this time, she’d have to survive without her best friend, Alex. But on her first day at Beaubridge High, CG meets Alona Spelton, the school’s queen bee, who immediately welcomes the stunned new girl into her exclusive group of friends.

CG doesn’t exactly fit with Alona and her high fashion followers, but she’s never been popular before, and she’ll do anything to stay that way—even if it means telling a few lies to make herself seem more interesting. In no time, she earns a reputation as the group’s rebel—and she even starts a steamy secret relationship with a gorgeous older guy. But of course, it’s just a matter of time before CG’s lies start catching up to her.

Author Lindsay Faith Rech’s young adult debut, It Started with a Dare, tells a cautionary tale about the dangers of pretending to be someone you’re not, just to fit in. Anyone who’s battling her way through high school (or who’s managed to survive it) will be able to relate to the pressures, the expectations, and the anxiety that CG struggles with throughout the book. She may be different—the kind of girl who prefers Janis Joplin to Justin Bieber and who wears whatever’s cheap and comfortable—but even CG isn’t immune to the allure of her new school’s In Group.

Still, the story’s been done before—and as CG digs herself deeper and deeper into a big pit of lies, readers will cringe, knowing that her whole made-up little world will eventually come crashing down around her. It makes for a difficult read, since you’ll know what’s going to happen—and it isn’t pretty. Rech rarely deviates from the usual chick lit formula—and although she successfully makes her point in the end, she doesn’t really offer anything new.

The characters, too, are familiar: the well-meaning outsider, the loser with a heart of gold, the poor little popular girls who, deep down, are just as troubled and insecure as everyone else. Readers are supposed to care about CG—and hope that everything will work out in the end—but the things that she does are often so selfish and hurtful that they often override her redeeming qualities.

Though there’s a valuable lesson to be learned in the end, the run-of-the-mill plot and selfish characters tend to make It Started with a Dare a frustrating read. For an insightful and entertaining take on teen popularity, I recommend renting Mean Girls instead.

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