A surfing competition, some serious skateboarding and several puzzling mysteries are the ingredients for an awesome beach vacation.
Children's Literature - Anne HevenerRhys hopes to become the next junior surfing champion at the Easter Surfing Competition, but he and his friend Toby have more to worry them than just riding the waves. When Toby's surf bag goes missing on the beach, the two friends are drawn into a minor game of whodunit that introduces them to a couple of suspicious skaterboarders and Brad, a potential new friend (or foe?). While the book's setting in the world of surfing and skateboarding is clearly meant to appeal to tween and teenage boys, there is a surprising lack of action in this story. Most of the plot is moved along through long passages of rather stilted dialogue, and when the story finally arrives at the much-anticipated surfing competition, the telling feels rushedit is anti-climatic and ultimately predictable. A theme that one should not be too quick to make assumptions about peopletied primarily to the brother-sister skaters that the boys meet at a skate parkis unconvincing, and some sideline attempts to address issues of family dynamics are never sufficiently developed. The "dare" of the title refers to a bet that Rhys and Toby have made regarding the competition outcome, but the stakes of the dare are not high, and neither is the reader's investment in how it concludes. Though the storytelling is disappointing, the book does present an example of a loving, respectful family, and a solid friendship between two teen boys, who set goals and work hard to attain them. Reviewer: Anne Hevener
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