The cover looked fun, but the story was dumb.
It Started with a Dare by Lindsay Faith Rech
Tomboyish Cynthia Gene Silverman moves to a wealthy suburb, reinvents herself as CG, and find herself promptly absorbed into the ruling class of her new high school. Convinced that she has to stand out to fit in, CG constructs a tower of lies atop a foundation of poor decisions that will inevitably crush her. That’s pretty much it for plot.
This book is not even worth the energy I have already spent reviewing it. It reads as though written by a high-schooler and falls dully short of the melange of Mean Girls and Pretty Little Liars it was aiming for. CG is somehow desperate for approval from her peers even as she feels superior to them. She claims to be a nice person who has changed a lot into the lying, scornful, manipulative hussy we see by mid-novel, but since we meet her as CG and not Cynthia Gene there is no evidence that she was ever a decent person other than her own word. The dialogue is flat, the attempts to build tension fall limp, and it all seems more than a little far fetched. If the author had gone in a campy direction it might have worked, but she plays it straight while incorporating ridiculous plot elements like a fifteen-year old (who by all accounts has yet to “blossom”) being mistaken for a woman in her mid-20s in both online conversation and after face time in lingerie and a masquerade mask with a teacher she sees on a daily basis.
It is pure fantasy. The fantasy of a nigh-unlikable girl who sees the world as beneath her even as she would like to plunder its riches. Her friends range from shabbily veiled tropes to cartoon villainesses, and despite CG’s (universally acknowledged) average-to-plain looks and hideous personality she has her choice of every male character with a name in the book.