Truth and Dare by Liz Miles (Editor)

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Truth and Dare by Liz Miles (Editor)

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: A real mixed bag, this is hard to recommend overall but contains at least a few real gems. Notable standouts are Sherry Shahan's Iris and Jim and Courtney Gilette's Never Have I Ever.
Buy? N0 Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 384 Date: May 2011
Publisher: Robinson
ISBN: 978-1849015868

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I love anthologies, especially ones containing a host of unfamiliar authors, so when I was given the chance to get my hands on a collection of twenty stories by writers who, in the main, I hadn't encountered before, I jumped at it. The selection, however, of this score of tales about slipping on the stepping stones of life left me feeling curiously unsatisfied in many cases.

The theme mentioned above is a wide one, and it feels perhaps too wide. There's no particular thread holding this collection together except that they're all for teens. Of course, if the quality had been high enough, that wouldn't have been an issue. To be honest, though, I spent much of a large amount of the stories wondering what the point was in both the anthology as a whole and certain stories in particular. There seem to be far too many where nothing much happens and the writing isn't good enough to make me overlook that. I can cope with functional prose or lacklustre plots, just not both at the same time. There were a couple of times when I felt like throwing this one across the room having read two or three bad offenders in a row!

Except at every point I was ready to give up, something drew me back in. Firstly it was Sherry Shahan's Iris and Jim, the tale of an anorexic love affair which is far more powerful than should even be possible for a story weighing in at only six pages. Then, Courtney Gilette's Never Have I Ever – which feels positively epic compared to Iris and Jim but is just as powerful in its own way, dealing with a girl and… well, that would be telling. While that pair are my favourite, Ellen Wittlinger's Rules for Life and Death is a moving study of a girl's reaction to the death of the boy she's admired from afar for some time, and Shelley Stoehr's Somebody's Daughter successfully gets into the heads of three very different teens – and one of their mothers - before and during a party which quickly gets out of hand.

Overall, I don't feel able to recommend this as a book but really enjoyed the above four stories and would certainly say they're well worth checking out if you're able to either borrow it from a library or if the stories themselves become available elsewhere. (On a side note, I'm loving the amount of short stories that are hitting the Kindle at the moment and if they appeared there would happily buy all four – hint to the publisher!)

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: For a fantastic young adult story collection I really enjoyed Kiss Me Deadly by Tricia Telep (Editor).

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Buy Truth and Dare by Liz Miles (Editor) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Truth and Dare by Liz Miles (Editor) at


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