Dare You to Lie is maybe a little too daring for its own good


Dare You to Lie wants ever single plot point it can possibly get together without stopping to think about how that might play out.

Dare You to Lie, sent to me by Tor Teen, is pretty clearly meant to be the start of a new series from Amber Lynn Natusch. (Goodreads does not list any subsequent works planned yet.) That’s about the only way to explain how Kylene Danners runs into more crimes than your average Law & Order marathon.

Granted, it’s not all bad with this book; there’s a snappiness to it that helps keep things bouncing from thread to thread without really lingering enough on them to let you think too hard about what’s going on here. Although the blurb on the front cover draws comparisons to Riverdale, that show is stylish enough and has compelling enough characters to make it a little easier to deal with how plot points come and go. Kylene’s realistically flawed and still traumatized from everything that’s happened to her. Things do go wrong for her, but it’s hard not to see where there are bits that feel a little too easy all the same.

What stood out more was how Kylene talks about other girls at school. Most of them get dismissed, even if they don’t really do anything but be seen by Kylene. Unfortunately, that goes unexamined. Sure, she’s a senior in high school — and I don’t think anyone’s completely unlearned these behaviors by that age — but it’s rough nonetheless. Her relationship with Tabby, the new Canadian girl who also happens to be an excuse to go to all the events Kylene wants to avoid, only throws how Kylene thinks about other girls into sharper relief.

However, there are some legitimate thrills and scares to be had here. Natusch handles these scenes well enough, never making Kylene seem stronger than she probably should be, especially not when dealing with high school football players who may be involved in many of the aforementioned crimes.

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Ultimately, whether or not you’ll be coming back for more of Kylene’s adventures depends on how you handle all of the different plot threads and if you’re ready to leave some of them hanging as the obvious sequel hooks. Be warned, though: the book deals with a ton of sensitive topics, including sexual assault and abusive relationships.