The Dare (Fear Street #21) by R. L. Stine (Book Review)
Plot: Johanna Wise has always longed to be part of Dennis Arthur’s rich, popular crowd, and she can’t believe it when he finally asks her out. She’ll do anything to keep Dennis but when he dares her to kill their teacher she is not so sure. Will she really kill for love?
My Review: The way teenagers are conveyed in Stine’s works have always amazed me. Because he captures them well. Or at least what I remember teens in the 90s being like and this book is really no different. Heck, these days kids are a LOT worse.
This is the story of Johanna, a girl who is not popular or rich, but wants to fit in with those that are. She soon gets her wish, but I’m sure by the end of the book completely regrets it all.
You see Johanna overhears one of the popular boys, Dennis, getting yelled at by their history teacher. Dennis is a hot rich jock (we know this because Johanna keeps going on and on about it throughout the book) who expects special treatment from his teachers, and generally gets it, except of course from Mr. Northwood. Johanna accidentally bonds with Dennis over his teacher problem by joking around making up silly ways to kill their teacher. Only Dennis later really takes it into consideration.
Soon Dennis is making out with Johanna (even though he has a girlfriend) and he’s inviting her to hang out with his friends. Even including her in their game of dare they all constantly play. The dares are pretty childish, and Stine could have had a lot of fun with this concept but he didn’t really go far with it unfortunately. Johanna is SO wrapped up in Dennis it isn’t even funny. Seriously, it starts to get a little annoying. She’s obviously quite a fool. And of course Dennis dares Johanna to kill Mr. Northwood.
Stine often uses fantasy as part of his books. Its no different with this one. Johanna often has violent thoughts, and often they are expressed in the book for a few pages as though they were actually happening. The chapter ends and the next one starts off stating “no, that didn’t really happen”. This occurs a few times throughout the book and it soon becomes cheap and expected.
One major thing about this book that I found utterly unbelievable was that the WHOLE school eventually became part of a bet on if Johanna would really kill her teacher or not and this goes on for days, yet nobody of authority caught onto it? Pretty far fetched.
We also don’t really get to know much about the characters other then Johanna, who so badly wants to fit in, she drops her best friend for the crowd who’s only using her and almost ruins her entire life because of it.
Overall: In the end The Dare is extremely predictable. But it’s a very fast read. I got through it in one sitting of about an hour to an hour and a half. Crazy when I think how these books used to take me a few days to get through in Jr. High. The Dare was interesting, but not one of the better Fear Street books.