Thirty years ago, a little girl went missing from a quiet Devon village, and nobody’s life was ever quite the same again. Now, the past has come calling and Anna must go back to Mapledon to find out the truth about what really happened to her friend. She’s not the only one who wants some answers about the past, though, and every question asked seems only to raise more, none of which anybody wants to answer.
Told in dual timelines between the events of 1989 and the present time of 2019, Sam Carrington does a masterful job of slowly revealing snippets of the truth, letting us discover the story along with Anna and Lizzie, who were both just kids back at the time of the tragedy. There are some heavy themes explored here as a lot of adults did some terrible things to the children they should have been protecting; while it’s not graphically described, child sex abuse occurred as did violence towards children, parental gaslighting and more. The community is described several times as a ‘Stepford wives’ village, and it becomes steadily more clear that there was indeed a pressure to conform which must have been absolutely stifling for anyone who didn’t quite fit.
The twists and turns of the story are riveting, but I struggled to empathize much with Anna and Lizzie, the two who seem to be the principal protagonists, and I have to admit I didn’t find the ending particularly satisfying; the book went out with more of a whimper than a bang. Overall, I’d give it four stars.
I Dare You is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.