Truth or Dare – Non Pratt
Release date: 1st June 2017
Review by Suzanne Curley
The best way to describe Truth or Dare, the latest creation from YA novelist Non Pratt, is that it does not shy away from issues, without turning into an "Issues Book"; a fine balance that relatively few authors achieve. It tells two sides of the same story, and you quite literally flip the book over to reveal the ‘other side of the story’, which is a clever touch.
The novel tells the same story from the points of view of Claire and Sef, who record a series of Truth or Dare videos in order to raise money for Sef's brother's stay at a neurological rehabilitation unit following an accident and severe head injury. The Truths and Dares begin innocently, answering when they last picked their nose for example, but become more extreme as the story progresses. The dare scenes are lively, funny and will undoubtedly capture the imagination of the YouTube generation. It highlights the power of social media to raise awareness of great causes; something that has seen some fantastic movements in the past few years (we all remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge), but also shows the consequences when these challenges are taken too far.
A particular scene which stuck with me was when Claire begins volunteering at ‘The Rec’, where Sef’s brother Kam is residing. She is told that after brain injuries patients’ physical appearances often change. And when she sees Kam for the first time, having lost control of his facial muscles and lost the ability to walk and talk, her thought process was almost identical to my own, when I visited someone I cared about in a similar place. The smiles and cheeriness within the room and the tears outside were all too familiar, and Non Pratt captured the emotion of those moments with accuracy and sensitivity.
Truth or Dare also raises other issues faced by teenagers, such as racism, online bullying and sexual assault. It has echoes of Thirteen Reasons Why, a YA novel recently made into an extremely popular TV series that has brought the issues of bullying and sexual assault into the public consciousness. Although Truth or Dare is far more light-hearted, it nonetheless highlights what many teenagers deal with daily. The problem with the “Boys Will Be Boys” attitude and the issue of sexual assault within schools not being taken seriously is a problem that needs more attention given to it, and this book does just that.
This book was enjoyable and educational and covers a multitude of subjects and creates many talking points for teenagers and parents of teenagers.