There is no doubt that one of us will die. I’m not hoping for it, just considering the probability: three of us, ten stunts, each “death defying.” At least that’s the plan: spend senior year completing one dare a month. Why? So we’re legends by the end.
When Ben Candido and his friends, Ricky and John, decide to post a YouTube video of themselves surfing on top of a car, they finally feel like the somebodies they are meant to be instead of the social nobodies that they are. Overnight, the video becomes the talk of the school, and the boys are sure that their self-appointed senior year of dares will live in infamy. Every dare brings an increased risk of bodily harm, but Ben cannot deny the thrill and sense of swagger that come with it. The stakes become even more complex when a mysterious donor bankrolls their dares in exchange for a cut in the online revenue the videos generate. But at what point do the risk and the reward come at too high of a price? What does it take to stay true to one’s self in the face of relentless pressure?
From Booklist This follow-up to Tap Out (2012) should further establish Devine as a go-to author for gritty stories about guys fighting on the fringe. It begins as “the best senior prank ever”: 10 months of dangerous dares uploaded to YouTube and performed anonymously by 17-year-old Ben and his buddies John and Ricky. But after their first stunt—car surfing—goes viral, a mysterious businessman offers them a contract to increase the danger of each dare in return for $1 per page view. Right away a stunt goes bad, but leader Ricky won’t let the other two back out. If they do, they will have to return the cash, which each of them desperately needs. Add in a side story about a girl Ben likes who is suffering physical abuse and you have a boa constrictor of a plot that squeezes the protagonist to wild, desperate ends. Certain arguments and discussions do get repeated (someone should read that contract!), but that takes little away from Devine’s wonderfully inarticulate characters and subtle insight into our culture of quick but damaging fame. Grades 9-12.
"Though sometimes the emotional intensity is discomforting, it has sweet parts that keep the reader smiling."
"In a culture where online audiences are always ready for the must-see link of the moment and corporations are eager to capitalize on user-generated content, Devine’s story takes on a chilling reality...An adrenaline-inducing read about teens getting in over their heads as they try to make something of themselves."
“Devine’s examination of the teenage boy’s need for adrenaline is admirably complex . . . Astute and riveting.”