Release Date: October 2013
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Author Site: http://ericdevine.org/
My Rating: 3.25/5
Source: Received for review from publisher
Cover: It goes with the story well and it’s sure to catch eyes on the bookshelf.
When Ben Candido and his friends, Ricky and John, decide to post a YouTube video of themselves surfing on top of a car, they finally feel like the somebodies they are meant to be instead of the social nobodies that they are. Overnight, the video becomes the talk of the school, and the boys are sure that their self-appointed senior year of dares will live in infamy. Every dare brings an increased risk of bodily harm, but Ben cannot deny the thrill and sense of swagger that come with it. The stakes become even more complex when a mysterious donor bankrolls their dares in exchange for a cut in the online revenue the videos generate. But at what point do the risk and the reward come at too high of a price? What does it take to stay true to one’s self in the face of relentless pressure?
The first word that comes to mind about Eric Devine’s newest YA novel is REAL; totally and frighteningly real! In a world where the next big thing is blasted all over the internet within nanoseconds Dare Me is a fast-paced story that will resonate strongly with the tech-savvy and YouTube crazed generation. Written in the perspective of a high school student in his senior year, Ben, Ricky, and John just want to make a name for themselves; leave some sort of legacy behind. Their mission: complete 10 crazy dangerous stunts throughout the school year and upload each of the videos onto YouTube. But when a mysterious and unknown donor starts funding things and taking control Ben starts to wonder at what price should this legacy come at? And how far is he willing to go to achieve it?
I liked Ben. It took a while… but I finally came around to liking him. (I’m sure the very climactic ending had a part in it) It was hard to relate to him at times. And he was too much of a follower in the beginning, even against his better judgment and even though he questioned so much of what was going on. But that’s high school life isn’t it? We’ve all done, or witnessed others do, crazy or stupid things even when it’s the wrong thing. I like that this novel mirrors real life. Even though I wanted to shake and/or punch Ben many a time I admired the final decisions he made and the courage he had to finally face the right path and set foot on it.
I didn’t like that the writing style seemed very choppy at times. Like maybe the author was trying too hard to write a certain way…? *shrugs* It was heavy in the beginning and then I only caught glimpses of it in the middle and end but by that time I wanted to know how the story ended so I didn’t mind so much. Basically… there were some minor faults to the book, but I could overlook them because there was also some good story-telling going down.
What really made the novel work for me was all the back-story going on besides the insane dares the boys were doing. Ben has a lot to deal with in his life: besides surviving the dares. His family is having financial issues, his older sister finds out about the dares, his childhood love interest is getting physically abused by her douchebag of a boyfriend (who happens to be the douchebag “big man” on campus), his grades are slipping, his said childhood love interest’s best friend all of a sudden takes a interest in him…I mean seriously high school is complicated enough. Why add death-defying stunts to the check-off list Ben??
Social media and social networking has become such a HUGE part of our culture that it sometimes scares me. Everyone is so “connected” at times that it doesn’t seem normal. But reality is the internet and real life has become so intertwined that it is in fact the norm. When something crazy or cool or outrageous happens how soon is it posted on the internet after being captured by some smart phone or other device?? Super fast! That’s how fast! Dare Me (along with many other books out there) sheds light on how far technology has come and just how much some lives revolve around it. I’m going to be checking out Devine’s other book Tapout and definitely his future work.