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Hopkins, Cathy. Truth or Dare Series. The princess of pop.

HOPKINS, Cathy. Truth or Dare Series. The princess of pop. 183p. 0-689-87002-7. White lies and barefaced truths, 182p. 0-689-87003-5. Simon & Schuster, Pulse. c2002. $5.99 each. JS

This new (to the US) series by the author of the Mates, Dates ... series is sure to be a hit with the same readers. Readers follow a group of friends: Becca, the girl who never thinks she is pretty, smart, or talented enough; Cat, who lost her mom and struggles with her new identity; Lia, rich and beautiful; Squidge, so named because he is always squinting his eyes to take video or photos; and Mac, the kind of boy every girl dreams of having as a boyfriend. There are other characters that help to make the core group of friends seem that much more real. Each story is set up with a Truth or Dare question posed by some member of the group. There is no clear indication on the books as in order within the series, but it would help for readers to read White Lies and Barefaced Truths first as the characters are introduced more clearly in that story. While definitely a British import, readers should have no trouble enjoying the universal humor, questions, and friendships explored. If Louise Rennison or Jaclyn Moriarty are popular in your library--school or public--these belong on your shelves.

In White Lies and Barefaced Truths Cat is dared to talk to Ollie, Lia's gorgeous brother, on behalf of Becca, who is too shy to talk to him herself and has a secret crush on Ollie. Cat tries to refuse to do such a task. but she finds herself talking to him while on the beach trying to sort through her feelings about losing her mother. Now Cat has a bigger problem--she likes Ollie and does not know how to tell Becca the truth. This sets up Cat's turmoil over lies and truths. After keeping track of how many lies she tells in a given day, she begins to think herself a horrible person and vows to only tell the truth. This, however, does not end well as she finds herself in trouble with teachers with detention for saying how she really felt about an assignment, in the doghouse with Becca for telling her the pimple on her face is very noticeable, and so forth. Readers see Cat struggle with balancing truth and honesty with the feelings of her best friend, Becca, and her boyfriend. Squidge--who she wants to break up with, though she cannot seem to find the right time to tell him.

Fans of American Idol will love Princess of Pop. Our cast of friends dares each other to enter London's Prince and Princess of Pop competition. Becca is recovering from a humiliating audition for the school musical and has never felt herself good enough to follow through on anything. After the dare is set, all five friends enter the competition even though they know only Cat and Becca stand a real chance at making it to the finals. The story follows Becca as she tries to find a place somewhere between her dreams and fear of failure. This is primarily Becca's story, but readers get a real sense of all the friends by how they support Becca in her struggle to find her true self. Readers follow the competition, including the rehearsal, decisions about song selection, and judges who don't hold back their opinions. Stephanie Squicciarini, Teen Services Libn., Fairport P.L., Fairport, NY
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Author:Squicciarini, Stephanie
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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