Friday, May 4, 2012

Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare (You’re Invited to a Creepover #1)
P.J. Night
$5.99, Paperback
Simon Spotlight, 2011
January 27th, 2012

Genre: Horror
Age: 8+
Description: During a game of Truth or Dare at her sleepover, Abby admits to having a crush on her long-time best guy friend and next door neighbor, Jake. Later that night as the girls sleep, Abby receives a text message warning her to stay away from Jake if she knows what’s good for her. Abby doesn’t want to though, especially when Jake invites her to the upcoming school dance. When the warnings get more threatening (spying in windows, a ruined blouse, a note and lock of hair left in her dresser drawer), Abby needs to uncover the truth—is it a jealous classmate or could it really be the spirit of Jake’s old girlfriend who died in a hit and run accident the year before?
Opinion: The format of this series alone will attract readers. The covers for all the books are artfully done managing to have a creepy cool effect at the same time. The edges of the pages are all blackened out so when the book is closed the sides are all black which gives a nice, ominous feel. Each chapter heading has oozing blood and the back of each book includes a Creep-o-Meter which rates the scariness of the book on a scale of one to five (this one received a three). In regards to the text of the story, it is a very run-of-the-mill ghostwritten (P.J. Night is a pseudonym for multiple authors—this one is really written by Ellie O’Ryan) style which reminds me a lot of the mass produced horror books for tweens when I was growing up in the late 1990s. The sentences are short and a simple vocabulary is used. This would be a great chapter book for those just advancing past shorter transitional books that are looking for something scary. While the ending is a little out there, it is still relatively believable and Abby shows a grown up level of understanding and maturity. Of course, the very end does leave readers with one last shocker—because if it didn’t it wouldn’t be a true horror story!

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