Review Blog

Dec 20 2012

I Dare You by Aleesah Darlison

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Lightning Strikes series. Walker Books, 2012. ISBN: 9781921977510.
(Ages: 8-12) 12-year-old Ben has moved with his family to the big city and he's not happy about it, especially as he has had to leave his beloved bike behind. Things only get worse when he accidentally steps on the school bully's foot and makes an enemy before he even makes it to his first day of school. From then on things go from bad to worse as Ben is forced to complete stupid dares like putting a frog in his teacher's desk and tipping snails over the nerdiest girl at school. How can he say no when otherwise Marty will show everyone the embarrassing photo of Ben and his annoying little brother or get his Mum fired from her new job? As if it's not hard enough to cope with the big move and having the school bully on his back Ben's chances at making friends are being ruined because of the silly things he has to do for the dares. Can he manage to make things right again before everything gets out of control?
This is a simple story with a lovely message about how family looks after each other and how bullies can be dealt with if people stand up for themselves and each other. By the end of the story Ben realises that he loves his little brother despite his annoying habits and that parents aren't perfect but they do their best. The themes of bike-riding and bullying make this an appealing and relevant book for middle primary boys in particular.
These Lightning Strikes series books are modern and popular with both younger readers and older reluctant or high-interest low-ability readers.
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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