Review: Truth & Dare edited by Liz Miles

Posted 13 March, 2011 by Danny in / 1 Comment

edited by Liz Miles
Publishing: May 10, 2011
Links: Indiebound
(find this book at YOUR local independent bookseller!)
Book provided by Book It Forward ARC Tours for fair review
Synopsis from Goodreads

Truth & Dare is a collection of short stories confirming the truth we all know– high school is painful–and written for those who dare to be different. These edgy short stories are told from the point of view of the quirky, cool, but not necessarily popular teens, who are dealing with all the pressures of growing up–school, friends, music, relationships, parents, and just plain fitting in.

This collection features some of the hottest writers in the teen genre, including: Jennifer Boylan, Sarah Rees Brennan, Cecil Castellucci, Emma Donoghue, Courtney Gillette, A.M. Homes, Jennifer Hubbard, Heidi R. Kling, Jennifer Knight, Michael Lowenthal, Liz Miles, Saundra Mitchell, Luisa Plaja, Matthue Roth, Sherry Shahan, Gary Soto, James St James, Shelley Stoehr, Sara Wilkinson, Ellen Wittlinger, and Jill Wolfson.


One of the things I enjoy about reading collections such as this is that it introduces me into a bunch of phenomenal new (to me at least!) authors and this collection did not disappoint!

In the over twenty stories included in this book I met edgy, raw characters, characters who were funny and sad and frightening characters who made me laugh, cry and cringe in both shared humiliation and horror. The writing was fresh and compact, delivering stories of surprising depth given their brevity. Like, “Iris and Jim” by Sherry Shahan which tells the tale of two severely anorexic teen lovers. Or “Somebody’s Daughter” by Shelley Stoehr where multiple points of view combine to tell the chilling events of a party gone wrong when the adults have all checked out of their children’s lives.

But not all the stories are so brutal in their setting. Some, like “Never Have I Ever” by Courtney Gillette tell the simple and ever complicated story of falling in love, in this instance two girls finally finding that other soul that understood them.

Others, like “Headgear Girl” by one of my favorite authors, Heidi R. Kling, tell of horrors more mundane and how even amidst humiliations that seem to pile one upon another unending (a.k.a. the average sophomore experience or as the author herself chooses, 80’s movie classic “Sixteen Candles”) a girl can gain power by “owning” the very things that moments before made her want to crawl into her book bag. And when Heidi’s character Cher finishes her monologue in this story, I wanted to stand and give her a slow-clap standing ovation à la another 80’s teen classic, Lucas:

I apologize for the bad clip, but it’s really all I could find
for this scene which many consider
the seminal moment of the slow-clap in the teen movie genre.

Bottom Line

I loved nearly all of these vignette and I plan to read more by the authors I met in this book.

I give it 4 out of 5 books!

Final Notes

If you love the YA genre and you’re looking to find some powerful new (to you) voices, this book is DEFINITELY one to check out!!! And it’ll be showing up at your local independant bookstore (yes and at Amazon and all the other big boxes) this May. Just in time to check out some new books for the summer!

Now go and get lost…in a book!

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