Lindsay Martin is faced with a tough choice: Does she give in to peer pressure and make her friends happy or does she do what she knows is right—even if it means losing her friends forever? Tween readers make the choice in this interactive story and see how the consequences change Lindsay’s life. Includes a contract and prayer to remind the reader of the importance of making godly decisions.
About the Author
Nicole O'Dell is a busy mom of six kids ranging from a 20-something military son down to 9-year-old triplets. She is a multi-published author in both inspirational fiction and nonfiction, a speaker for faith-based events, and the recipient of the ACFW's Editor of the Year award in 2013. She’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction, which offers readers alternate endings, allowing them to decide what the main character does, and the Diamond Estates series based on her experiences as a resident at Teen Challenge as a teenager. Her non-fiction for teens includes Girl Talk, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular advice column, and several devotional books. Nicole’s desire to bridge the gap between parents and teens is evident in her parenting nonfiction like the Hot Buttons series aimed at helping parents handle tough issues with their tweens and teens on subjects like dating, Internet activity, sexuality, prejudice, friendships, politics, and many more. She is also the author of Powerline365, a daily devotional for parents of teens, and the author of over 300 other devotional writings. Passionate about health, Nicole also works full-time as a marketing manager for Human Kinetics, a publisher of fitness resources. Early mornings or late evenings you can find her doing laps in a pool, biking on a country road near her home, or running some miles as she chases her triathlon dreams, including the Half-Ironman race she completed in 2017.
Read an Excerpt
Truth or Dare
By Nicole O'Dell
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2009 Nicole O'Dell
All rights reserved.
RULE THE SCHOOL
The first bright yellow light of day was starting to peek through the blinds covering her window. Lindsay Martin stretched and yawned as she slowly woke up. After tossing and turning much of the night, she was still sleepy, so she turned over and pulled the puffy pink comforter up to her chin and allowed herself to doze off for a few more minutes, burying her face in the coolest spot on her pillow.
But wait! Suddenly, Lindsey sat up quickly and threw back the covers, remembering that it was the first day of school. And, with no time to waste, she jumped out of bed.
She had carefully selected her clothes the night before; the khaki pants and screenprint tee were still hanging on her closet door, just waiting to be worn. But after thinking about it, they seemed all wrong. Frantically plowing through her closet for something different to wear, Lindsay pushed aside last year's jeans and T-shirts and found the perfect outfit: not too dressy, not too casual, not too anything. As an eighth grader, she wanted to look cool without looking like she was trying too hard—which was the fashion kiss of death. Confident that she had selected the perfect outfit, she padded off to the bathroom to get ready to face the day.
Happy with how she looked—jeans with just the right amount of fading down the front, a short-sleeved T-shirt layered over a snug longsleeved T-shirt, and a pair of sunglasses perched atop her blond hair—she bounced down the stairs, slowing as she reached the bottom. Just wanting to get out of the house and be on her way, Lindsay sighed when she recognized the smell of bacon coming from the kitchen. "Mom, I'm really not hungry, and I have to go meet the girls!"
"Now you know I'm not going to let you head off to school without breakfast, so at least take this with you." Mom held out Lindsay's favorite breakfast sandwich: an English muffin with fluffy scrambled eggs, cheese, and two slices of bacon.
Lindsay wrapped it up in a napkin so she could take it with her and gave her mom a quick kiss before rushing out the door. "Thanks, Mom. You're the best!"
Hurrying toward the school, Lindsay munched on her sandwich along the way. Nerves set in, and halfway through her sandwich, her stomach rebelled; she tossed what was left into a nearby trash can, where it fell with a thud.
After her short walk down the tree-lined streets, she arrived at the meeting spot—a large oak tree in the front yard of the school—about fifteen minutes early. Shielding her eyes from the sun and squinting in eager anticipation, Lindsay watched the street for the first sign of her three best friends. She expected Sam and Macy to arrive by school bus—they lived too far away from the school to walk, so they generally rode the bus together. Kelly lived close enough to walk, but her mom usually dropped her off before heading to her job as an attorney in the city. Lindsay was thankful that she lived so close to the school. She loved being the first one there to greet her friends each morning. Since her mom didn't have to leave for work and Lindsay didn't need to catch the bus, she had a bit more flexibility and could save a spot for them under their favorite tree.
The bus pulled into the driveway, squealing as it slowed. It paused to wait for the crowd of students to move through the crosswalk. When it finally parked, the doors squeaked open and students began to pour off the bus just as Kelly's mom pulled up to the curb right in front of Lindsay.
"Bye, Mom!" Kelly grabbed her new backpack out of the backseat and jumped out of the car. At almost the same time, Macy and Sam exited the bus after the sixth and seventh graders got off.
Excitedly the four girls squealed and hugged each other under their tree, never minding the fact that they had been with each other every day for the entire summer. They shrieked and jumped up and down in excitement as if they had been apart for months. They were eighth graders. This was going to be the best year yet. They each felt something more grown-up and exciting about the first day of eighth grade, and they were ready for it.
With a few minutes to spare before the bell rang, the girls stopped and leaned against their tree for a quick survey of the school yard. It was easy to identify the sixth graders. They were nervous, furtively glancing in every direction, the most telltale sign of a sixth grader, and had new outfits and two-day-old haircuts. The girls easily but not fondly remembered how scary it was to be new to middle school and felt sorry for the new sixth graders.
The seventh graders were a little more confident but still not nearly cool enough to speak to the eighth graders. Most students, no matter their grade, carried backpacks, and some had musical instruments. Some even had new glasses or had discarded their glasses in favor of contacts.
"Look over there." Kelly pointed across the grassy lawn to a student. A new student, obviously a sixth grader, struggled with his backpack and what appeared to be a saxophone case. Two bigger boys, eighth graders, grabbed the case out of his hands and held it over his head. They teased him mercilessly until the bell rang, forcing them to abandon their fun and head into the school. The girls shook their heads and sighed—some things never changed—as they began to walk toward the doors.
Kelly and Sam both stopped to reach into their backpacks to turn off their new cell phones before entering the school—it would make for a horrible first day of school if they were to get their phones taken away.
"You're so lucky," Macy whined as she watched Kelly flip open her shiny blue phone, which was carefully decorated with sparkly gems. Sam laughed and turned off her sporty red phone, slid the top closed, and dropped it into her bag. Macy's parents wouldn't let her have a cell phone until high school.
"When did you guys get cell phones?" Lindsay asked.
"I got mine yesterday, and Sam got hers on Saturday," Kelly explained. "My mom wanted to have a way to reach me in case of an emergency and for me to be able to reach her. I'm not supposed to use it just anytime I want to."
"Same with me. I might as well not have it. I can call anyone who has the same service or use it as much as I want to on nights and weekends, but that's it," Sam complained.
"It's still way more than I have. You're so lucky," Macy said emphatically.
Lindsay sighed and agreed with Macy while she smeared untinted lip gloss onto her lips. "I have no idea when I'll ever get to have a cell phone. My mom thinks that they are bad for 'kids.'" She rolled her eyes to accentuate the point that she not only thought she should have a cell phone but that she definitely disagreed with the labeling of herself and her friends as kids. "She won't even let me use colored lip gloss. She thinks I'm too young."
With their cell phones turned off, backpacks slung over their shoulders, lip gloss perfectly accenting their skin tanned by the lazy days of summer, and their arms locked, the four best friends were ready to enter the school to begin their eighth-grade year.
Seeing their reflection in the glass doors of the school as they approached it, Lindsay noticed how tall they'd all become over the summer. Four pairs of new jeans, four similar T-shirts, and four long manes of shiny hair—they were similar in so many ways but different enough to keep things interesting.
Kelly Garrett was the leader of the group. The girls almost always looked to her to get the final word on anything from plans they might make, to boys they liked, to clothes they wore. She was a natural leader, which was great most of the time. Her strong opinions sometimes caused conflict, though. Sam Lowell, the comedienne of the group, was always looking for a way to entertain them and make them laugh. She was willing to try anything once, and her friends enjoyed testing her on that. Macy Monroe was the sweet one. She was soft-spoken and slow to speak. She hated to offend anyone and got her feelings hurt easily. Then there was Lindsay. She was in the middle, the glue. She was strong but kind and was known to be a peacemaker. She often settled disputes between the girls to keep them from fighting.
Amid complete chaos—students talking, locker doors slamming shut, high fives, and whistles—the first day of school began. There was an assembly for the eighth graders, so the four girls headed toward the gymnasium together rather than finding their separate ways to their first classes.
The girls filed into the bleachers together, tucking their belongings carefully beneath their feet so nothing would fall through to the floor below. The room was raucously loud as 150 eighth graders excitedly shared stories of their summers and reunited with friends.
The speakers squealed as the principal turned on his microphone and tried to get everyone's attention. "Welcome back to Central Middle School. Let's all stand together to recite the Pledge of Allegiance."
Conversations slowly trailed off to a dull roar as teachers attempted to create some order in each row. The eighth graders shuffled to their feet and placed their right hands over their hearts to recite the pledge. The principal began: "I pledge allegiance to the flag...."
Lindsay joined in, but her mind wandered as she looked down the row at each of her best friends. She thought back over the great summer they had just enjoyed. Together, they had spent many days languishing in the hot sun by Kelly's pool. She remembered the day when Sam got a bad sunburn from lying on the tanning raft for hours and not listening to the girls when they suggested that she reapply her sunscreen. She had wanted a good tan, and she paid the price. Kelly had the bright idea of using olive oil and lemon juice to take away the sting—she thought she'd heard that somewhere—but all it did was make Sam smell bad for days, along with the suffering that her burns caused.
They also had gone shopping at the mall whenever Sam's mom would pile them into her SUV and drop them off for a few hours so they could check out the latest fashions and watch for new students—boys in particular. Their favorite mall activity was to take a huge order of cheese fries and four Diet Cokes to a table at the edge of the food court so they could watch the people walk by.
They had a blast burying each other in the sand at the beach whenever Macy's dad took a break from job hunting to spend the day lying in the sun. One time they even made a huge castle with a moat. The castle had steps they could climb, and the moat actually held water. It took them almost the entire day, but the pictures they took made it all worthwhile.
They had also shared a weeklong trip to Lindsay's Bible camp. It was a spiritual experience for Lindsay, who used the time to deepen her relationship with God. She enjoyed being able to bring her friends into that part of her life—even if it was just for a week. Macy, more than the others, showed some interest and said that she'd like to attend youth group with Lindsay when it started up again in the fall. All four girls enjoyed the canoe trips—even the one when the boat capsized and they got drenched. They swam in the lake and played beach volleyball. The week they spent at camp was a good end to what they considered a perfect summer.
Although there was a certain finality to their fun and freedom with the arrival of the school year, there was excitement, too, as they took this next step toward growing up together. Lindsay took a moment to imagine what it would be like in the future. In just one year they would start high school together. After several years, they would head off to the same college and room together, as the plan had always been. At some point, they would each find someone to settle down with and get married. They had already figured out who would be the maid of honor for whose wedding. That way they each got to do it once. And they would be bridesmaids for each other. Then they would have children. Hopefully they would have them at around the same time so their children could grow up together, too. Beautiful plans built on beautiful friendships ... what more could a girl ask for?
"... One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The Pledge of Allegiance ended, and all the students sat down to hear about the exciting new school year.CHAPTER 2
THIS IS REAL WORK
Second period—the dreaded class two periods before lunch—seemed to drag on forever with lunch still two hours away and the day stretching on so long ahead of it. But not for Lindsay, Kelly, Macy, and Sam; they loved second period this year. Not only was it their favorite class—home economics—but it was also the only class that they all had together. It was like a little break in the day.
On the first day of school, Mrs. Portney, the much-loved home ec teacher, allowed them to break into groups of four. It would be in those groups that the class would work on cooking, sewing, and other craft projects. Of course, the Lindsay-Kelly-Macy-Sam group was a nobrainer, and the girls quickly arranged their seating so they could be together.
The first project for the class was to make a stuffed pillow—but not just any stuffed pillow. This one had to be special, unique, and creative. They were allowed to use felt, stuffing, and any other craft materials they wanted. Things like pipe cleaners, movable eyes, glitter, rhinestones, fabric markers, and stencils were all available to be used by the class. Or they could bring things from home to contribute to their project. They had ten minutes to put their heads together to decide what to make.
"What about a teddy bear pillow?" Lindsay suggested.
"No, someone makes that every year," Kelly said, shaking her head. "We want to do something really interesting."
"Hmm. How about a rainbow pillow?" Lindsay tried again.
"Nah, too boring," Sam replied.
"Oh! We could make a bicycle pillow with real wheels that spin." Macy suggested.
The girls laughed. "Who would want to lay on that?"
"We could do a big heart that says 'Macy loves Tyler' and put an arrow through it," Kelly teased Macy.
"Yeah, right." Macy laughed.
"I know!" Sam said, getting excited. "Why don't we do a Mrs. Portney pillow?"
The other girls just looked at her for a minute, not quite sure if she was serious or if she had lost her mind—or both.
"Well, we could make it really fluffy, just like Mrs. Portney. We'll put an apron on the pillow, just like the one Mrs. Portney wears. We'll give the pillow a cute pair of round glasses made out of felt and use a shiny fabric as the glass part."
"Yeah," Kelly jumped in, liking the idea and adding some suggestions. "We can put scissors, pencils, and a tape measure hanging out of her apron pocket."
"We'll put her in a navy blue dress just like the one that Mrs. Portney wears all the time," Macy added.
"And then," Lindsay jumped on board, "we'll make it a gift to Mrs. Portney when we're done."
All four girls agreed that it was a winning idea, and they just couldn't wait to get started. They looked around the room and saw that the other groups were struggling over ideas and having a difficult time getting started.
"Class, when you have your ideas, please just write them down on a slip of paper, along with the names of the students who are in your group, and turn it in to me before class is over today."
"Uh, Mrs. Portney?" Sam hesitantly raised her hand.
"Yes, what is it, Samantha?" Mrs. Portney asked. She was the only teacher who didn't annoy Sam when she called her by her full name.
"Well, we were just wondering...." Sam spoke for the group. "Can we keep our pillow idea a secret until we're done? It's kind of a surprise."
"Oh?" Mrs. Portney grinned at the possibilities and shifted her glasses down so she could peer at the four girls over the top of them. "I suppose that would be all right, even though it's highly unusual. But then again, what else should I expect from you four? As long as you understand that if you don't tell me what you're doing, I can't help guide you in the process. But even without my help, you're still responsible for every part of the project in order to get a full grade."
"No problem, Mrs. Portney. Thanks!"
The bell rang, and it was time to head off to their separate classes. Kelly had English, Macy had math, Lindsay went to social studies, and Sam headed off to PE.
* * *
"Ugh! What happened to summer?" Kelly lamented to her friends as they slumped toward the cafeteria for lunch after third period on Wednesday during the second week of school.
"I know exactly what you mean," Lindsay replied. "I thought they had to give you a few weeks before they started piling on the homework, but I think I already have two hours of homework for tonight, and the day is only half over."
"So much for eighth grade being so great," Sam laughingly agreed as she collapsed in her seat to eat her lunch.
"What's with you?" Lindsay asked Macy when she noticed that Macy had hardly said a word since they met up by their lockers a few minutes before.
"Oh, nothing really," Macy said unconvincingly. Her friends just looked at her, waiting, not about to let her off the hook that easily. "Well, it's just that my math class is much harder this year, and I barely made it through last year's class. My mom has been talking about a tutor, and I don't want to have to do that." She dejectedly slumped her shoulders and dropped her head onto her arms after pushing away her lunch tray.
"Can we help?" Lindsay offered. "We could help you study. I have the same class as you, and Kelly is ahead of both of us."
Excerpted from Truth or Dare by Nicole O'Dell. Copyright © 2009 Nicole O'Dell. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents4 RULE THE SCHOOL,
5 THIS IS REAL WORK,
6 SLEEPOVER PARTY,
7 TRUTH OR DARE,
8 SUNDAY SCHOOL,
9 HOSTESS MACY,
10 YOUTH GROUP,
11 I DARE YOU!,
12 IT'S DECISION TIME!,
13 DARING TO BE DIFFERENT,
14 OUT OF THE CLUB,
15 MAKING AMENDS,
16 I'LL DO IT,
18 THE FREEDOM OF FORGIVENEE,
19 My Decision,
21 BACK COVER MATERIAL,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an awesome book. Its my favorite in the series. I like the way you can choose wich path the main character takes. HAPPY READING!!
This is an excellent book for a young girl. It uses relative situations with girls "tween" ages to show decisions they may be confronted with peers and consequences of wrong decisions and rewards of better decisions. I foresee many young girls reading this series and having opportunity to choose ahead of time what decision they would make if found in a similar situation. It could very well save many young girls from future heartache as well as show them, if they have already made some bad decisions, God can show them how to turn things around if they will turn to Him and receive His help. I think women; especially Mother's, will also like these.
When I was younger we had the "Choose your adventure" books where you would be reading the story and then periodically you would make a choice about what was happening in the book and then go to a corresponding page to see what the results of that decision were. I loved those books. My husband did too. They don't make those anymore. Now Nicole O'Dell has come along with something even better for my daughters! She is developing this series of books called "Scenarios" where she has a wonderful storyline in each book with great characters and then about 9 chapters into the book the main character is presented with a dilemma and they have to make a choice. You are then instructed to make your choice and then turn to the corresponding page. You then read the next three chapters where the consequences are played out accordingly. Then there are 3 more chapters with the alternate ending. I love these books! In the first one there are 4 best friends starting 8th grade and having weekly Friday night sleepovers. They start playing Truth or Dare every week and eventually Lindsay is dared to do something she knows she shouldn't. One of the friends says she has to do it or she's out of their group. Does she risk her morals or her friends? I am so glad that Nicole has started this series!
When I was growing up, I adored the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I would try out every scenario and keep my thumb held in place so I could go back and switch my decision to get a different outcome. The problem with those books though was that they usually involved situations that I would never find myself in and therefore couldn't really relate to. Therefore I was pleased to hear that there were these books coming out that were in the same vein as the CYOA books but involved real teens and tweens in situations that come across in life. This books deals with the ever popular game of Truth or Dare and the subject of peer pressure. Girls of this age deal with this issue pretty much every day of their lives and it's good to know that there are books out there that tackle this topic and try to help guide them in making good decisions. The characters in this book have to make choices about how their actions will affect their lives and whether they end up suffering the consequences of their mistakes or reaping the benefits of their smart choice. It was refreshing to see Lindsay have a good relationship with her parents and that it was easy for her to talk to them about almost everything. As much as I enjoyed the book I did have a few qualms with it however. The first was I felt that the girls acted a bit young for eighth graders. I only say this because other mainstream YA books that feature girls that age, the characters act older. I'm not implying that they should be acting like adults or even older teens and worry about subjects like sex. It's just even in a series like The Baby-Sitters Club, 13 year olds were acting more mature and had responsibilities. In this book there's a lot of giggling and the girls seems to be very naive. I honestly don't know any 13 year olds who don't know that buying alcohol as a minor is illegal. It just seemed to take away from the story because it seemed so highly unlikely that this could happen and that the parents, who are otherwise good role models, never told their daughter this. The other thing was there are several sermons in the the book such as one of the characters goes to church or at youth group. While there's nothing wrong with it, I just felt it was really out of place for a YA book. I'm not a fan of reading sermons even in adult fiction and it sorta made me lose interest during those few pages.I think that some target age readers might feel the same way about that especially if they aren't Christians. It just seemed a bit wordy and a little preachy. I'd much rather see the message lived out in the story rather than just words dictating it. Other that that, I did enjoy reading this book. It was a fun read and it was really cool to make a choice at the end. Since I have that habit of choosing every scenario, I read both and was pleased with the outcome of each. This is a really unique series idea and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books and making more decisions! While the series is marketed as young adult, I would classify this one as being more tween-centered (10-13).