Exp. Pub.: July 1, 2010
One night, a group of friends playing games on the beach led to a dare, one with deadly consequences. Besties Erika and Bryn jumped off the pier and into the chilly ocean, but only Bryn made her way back out again. After drowning her grief with drugs and alcohol and forced by the court to go through a mandatory stay at rehab, her parents move her an hour away to start over at a new school. High school was hard enough just being the new girl, especially when you suffer from a heavy case of survivor's guilt, but when messages begin pouring in from Erika's old account, Bryn completely loses it. Now she keeps seeing her best friend everywhere - and it's making her absolutely nuts!
Sorry, but this one just didn't work for me. Bryn came off wimpy and weak, and when someone clearly began screwing with her, she wouldn't tell anyone. Not her friends, not her parents. And she felt everything that happened to her was Erika's doing - who she didn't believe was a ghost, but alive somewhere pissed that Bryn moved on with her life. Her new friends turned out to be anything but. One is an office aid and snoops through Bryn's file, and when Bryn argues she didn't have the right to do that and needed to keep it to herself, she was mad! Like it's a huge inconvenience for her to keep her trap shut now that she knows some things about Bryn's past - who's trying to leave a tragedy behind and start a new life. And when a flyer goes around teasing a friend about something the entire school seems to know anyways, all but one of her so-called friends blame her - without any kind of evidence - and absolutely throw her under the bus. Great friends you've got there.
Also, I'm not entirely convinced of Bryn's phobia. As a competitive swimmer from the age of four on, being in the water was second nature to me. Sorry, but if a friend of mine got sucked out by a riptide, I might develop an aversion for swimming in the ocean, but what does that have to do with a pool? I'm not going to fear walking because I tripped and broke my ankle. And I'm not suddenly going to fear drowning in a pool when I'm the experienced swimmer than I am. It was awful luck, but riptide's are fierce, and even the best swimmers can struggle getting out of them. And speaking of riptides, how come all the adults seemed to know about it, but their kids didn't? Tell your freakin' kids people! You live near the beach and you know eventually they're gonna go swimming at night!
I also felt the ending was really abrupt. Some things were left unanswered and I find that highly unsatisfying. For instance, we never truly learn who wanted the punch spiked, because if a certain student did it at request of someone else, it would've had to have been a student at school to get him to agree. We're never told how it is all these phone calls and tweets and such were being sent to Bryn. When she dialed one of the phone numbers harassing her, she was told the line couldn't dial out. And I'm not a tweeter, but wouldn't these leave a trace over the internet? Even if they were private, wouldn't she be able to show them as proof of harassment if she didn't delete them? And her own phone is apparently used to get her old friends in trouble. Is the person hounding her some kind of hacker? Hell if I know, because nothing is ever explained. And we're told a certain family member of Erika's had an unhealthy obsession, but we were never really given any kind of insight on that. Like why? What kind of obsession? Jealousy? Sexual interest? There's a meaningful story there somewhere but it goes completely untouched. And as for the eye witness to the account, how could someone who couldn't swim and hanging out on the pier go unnoticed by all that night? Doesn't make much sense to me, because it was never addressed.
For me, Dare bobbled in the ocean for a bit, then shot straight to the bottom like an anchor. Too many plot holes made me feel unsatisfied, and at times, straight up annoyed. I do have a couple of Hannah Jayne's others novels, and I can only hope those will make me feel better about her work.
ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire for honest review.