review: truth or dare

I picked up Truth or Dare by Non Pratt because I was falling into a slump reading Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufmann. I definitely made the right choice because i could easily get into the mood to read again with this book and managed to finish it within days. Despite some problems that I had with the book, overall i enjoyed the story and i'm rating it 4 out of 5 stars!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A powerful and moving novel about bravery from the Guardian's "writer to watch" Non Pratt, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green and Holly Bourne. How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you're willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

I liked that the first half of the book was in Claire Casey's point of view, and that you're supposed to flip the book around and read it from the back for Sef Malik's point of view. This is the first book that i've read that recaps events but from another character's perspective, and i thought it was a really clever way to reveal more about what a character is going through, rather than immediately presenting the two perspectives one after the other. It makes you realise that there's more to a person's life then what we see from only one point of view. I enjoyed seeing Sef from Claire's perspective first and then actually reading out his own perspective from the beginning, which turned out to be a lot darker and depressing. The book turned a lot more serious once we read it from Sef's point of view, and when we find out the real reason why Sef behaved the way he did.

So in this book, Claire and Sef create a YouTube channel to make truth or dare videos so that they can raise money to pay for Sef's big brother, who suffered from a terrible accident, so that he can continue to get proper care. I really enjoyed reading about the painful process of producing a successful channel, because I myself am very familiar with YouTube and the vlogging community. Seeing the characters go through the same steps of filming, editing, and struggling to attract enough viewers was quite fun and definitely relatable. The idea of making videos of confessions and dares is a little bit cringe-y because I personally wouldn't watch those kinds of videos, but i guess it works for the story and it sounds realistic enough.

My main issue for this book is its poor attempt at diversity. Even though this book is technically a POC book because Sef Malik is, if i'm not mistaken, a British-Pakistani, but him and his family seem so Westernized that I could hardly learn anything that seemed exclusive to their culture. It was implied that Sef didn't drink alcohol and he was used to getting racist and discriminating comments, so a part of me started to believe that maybe he was Muslim. But then later he and his family celebrated Christmas and I just got hella confused. Adding to the fact that his entire family had Arabic names (Yousef, Amir, Farah), I think the author had a great opportunity to take the diversity to a whole new level. Even if she wanted to portray the Malik family as liberals or just non-traditional British Pakistani, I wish there had been more religious or cultural discussion. It could even have worked if another character just asked them about it. Non Pratt also attempted to introduce us to an asexual character, which I thought was pretty great but i wish we got to know more about that character's story.

Other than that, I quite enjoyed the book. I felt like the characters were realistic and relatable. Surprisingly, i could relate to Sef more than I could relate to Claire. Sef is the type of person who avoids something that is painful or hard for him. It does sound cowardly and weak, but honestly it's something very human that a lot of people probably go through. It's great to see this in a character, and to see it portrayed quite honestly. No he's not the ideal character, and i definitely didn't fall in love with him, but i liked seeing how vulnerable he can get. I also really liked his relationship with his brothers.

Overall, I would recommend this book for contemporary lovers, but not to those who expect to discover in depth about POC characters because they won't be impressed by the attempt in this one.


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2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Kamalia has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.