Ben and his friends hope to make their senior year one to remember—and maybe even become “weblebrities”—by filming a series of dare videos with an escalating level of danger. Besides not dying while car surfing or jumping from a bridge into a quarry lake, their goal is to get more and more hits online and keep their identities a secret. Thanks to a little ingenuity and a mysterious corporate sponsor, the boys are suddenly all anyone can talk about, and the stakes start to involve a lot of money. In a culture where online audiences are always ready for the must-see link of the moment and corporations are eager to capitalize on user-generated content, Devine’s (Tap Out) story takes on a chilling reality. Between dares, Ben faces an unwelcome family move, has his first sexual experience, and grows closer to his pizza-shop coworker Alexia, who’s fascinated by daredevil boys but involved in an abusive relationship. An adrenaline-inducing read about teens getting in over their heads as they try to make something of themselves. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
“The extreme dares will appeal to boys, but readers of both genders will identify with the fear and uncertainty Ben and his friends face...With timely subject matter yet universal themes, this novel should be a popular one.”
"Though sometimes the emotional intensity is discomforting, it has sweet parts that keep the reader smiling."
"This follow-up to Tap Out (2012) should further establish Devine as a go-to author for gritty stories about guys fighting on the fringe. . . . [W]onderfully inarticulate characters and subtle insight into our culture of quick but damaging fame."
"In a culture where online audiences are always ready for the must-see link of the moment and corporations are eager to capitalize on user-generated content, Devine's story takes on a chilling reality. . . . An adrenaline-inducing read about teens getting in over their heads as they try to make something of themselves."
"Devine's examination of the teenage boy's need for adrenaline is admirably complex . . . Astute and riveting."
“Riveting and fast paced, this book is hard to put down. I recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 14 and up.”
With his dad laid off, broke, and selling their house, and his crush dating an abusive guy, high school senior Ben Candido figures he has nothing to lose when Ricky asks him and their friend John to complete ten dares over ten months. At first, Ben loves the adrenaline rush and attention when the masked Daredevil Crew's stunts are uploaded to YouTube. Soon, though, the dares become more dangerous, and it is clear that someone other than Ricky is behind them. Ricky finally reveals that a businessman named O. P. will pay them for each YouTube view they receive, and the trio blindly signs his contract. As the school year progresses, the teens risk their lives to keep money coming into their pockets. Tensions grow as their identities are slowly discovered, and a final showdown between Ben and a classmate has him wondering if he will make it through high school alive. Dare Me's premise is compelling; however, some of the dares are odd (one time the Daredevils dress like turkeys so hunters will shoot at them), O. P.'s motives are never clear, and the finale involving an injury by corn stalk is laughable. The author also repeatedly reminds the reader why Ben sticks with the dares (first he wants the glory, then he does not want to let his friends down, and then he needs the money), most likely to reinforce his own weak reasoning. The fact that Ben's older sister keeps his secret is also questionable. Buy this book only if readers are asking for more contemporary, edgy fiction starring high school guys. Reviewer: Deena Viviani
Dare Me is a story about a teen and his friends, their desire to be seen, and what they are willing to risk for that visibility. Their plan seems simple: complete ten dares in ten months during their senior year. Though sometimes the emotional intensity is discomforting, it has sweet parts that keep the reader smiling. Just like the author's other novels, the theme of truth and consequences definitely applies. Reviewer: Maia Raynor, Teen Reviewer
Fully attuned to the adrenaline-fueled appeal of dares, Devine deftly conveys the dire consequences that can ensue once the first step is taken. Ben, a perfectly normal high school senior, and his buddies Ricky and John pull an amazing stunt, which they post anonymously on YouTube, hoping for "weblebrity." What comes their way is a contract promising them money if they continue to do ever-more-dangerous dares. When not filming dares, narrator Ben works as a pizza-delivery guy and longs for popular co-worker Alexia, who's attached to a bad boy. His reflections on physics, English class and math become more penetrating as the ante ups with each completed dare. Adding in cameraman Trevor changes the equation only a little. Trev is a nerd and a target for bullies, but he's also exceptionally smart and a quick thinker. As the stunts continue, Ben begins to have his doubts. Further complicating matters, Ben's dad is out of work, and Ben's sister wants to do a paper on their macho antics for her college psychology class. Devine's examination of the teenage boy's need for adrenaline is admirably complex, and he frames it within an engaging and realistically foulmouthed narrative. Ben reflects, "This is larger than us, and we're already in motion and gaining speed. The natural course is to let this run take us where it's going. There are no brakes in freefall." Astute and riveting. (Fiction. 12 & up)
Gr 8 Up—Ben and his two friends want an epic senior year, so they decide to complete a series of dares and post videos of them online. The boys cover their faces and call themselves the Daredevil Crew. Their first videos go viral, and suddenly they are the talk of the school. A sponsor appears with lots of cash to pay them, but wants each stunt to be more dangerous. The feats start to interfere with life rather than enhance it. School and the authorities try to find out who belongs to the Daredevil Crew, and Alexia, a girl Ben has known and cared about for many years, gets mixed up in the violence. His falling grades and his family's financial problems mean going to college may no longer be an option. The teen tries his best to deal with his situation while questioning all the reasons the boys keep doing the stunts. The story culminates in a horrific fight that ends in serious and long-lasting consequences for everyone involved. The extreme dares will appeal to boys, but readers of both genders will identify with the fear and uncertainty Ben and his friends face. The story shows the aftermath of poor choices and how one person's actions can have a ripple effect far beyond what was expected. With timely subject matter yet universal themes, this novel should be a popular one.—Diana Pierce, formerly at Leander High School, TX