Title: Paris Pan Takes the Dare
Author: Cynthea Liu
ISBN: 9780399250439
Pages: 248 pages
Publisher/Date: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, c2009.

So here I was, sitting in a classroom at a school of only ninety-seven people, learning what a hundres percent of anything was.
I checked the room for clues I was in the wrong place– possibly the third grade–when a tiny was of paper suddenly landed on my desk.
Someone was trying to communicate.
I put my hand over the wad, slid it to my lap, and opened it.
Wanna have lunch? TYPTTFY = tap your pencil two times for yes. And I don’t take no for an anser. Mayo
Mayo?
And what happened to the w in answer? I glanced over my shoulder. A girl with dark red hair and freckles sprinkled across her nose grinned back at me. I bit my lip and did the math: lunch with one person was better than lunch with no one.
I tapped my pencil twice. (6)

Twelve-year-old Paris Pan has just moved Sugar Lake, Oklahoma with her older brother and sister, where there are a grand total of eleven kids in her seventh grade class, including herself. She is quickly approached by Mayo and Dana, who warn her against not only Robin the freak who reads but never talks, but also convinces her to take part in the Dare in two weeks. The Dare is rumored to have caused a girl’s death several years ago, and it turns out that Paris’s family is now living in her old house. Paris is not thrilled about participating in the Dare, but with only three girls in her class, there aren’t a lot of options for friends. Besides, nothing can be worse then the noises in the shed at night and the strange dolls that her dog keeps digging up, right?

Cynthea Liu builds suspense with this novel, creating noises that go bump in the night, Ouiji board interactions with the ghost of the dead girl, and mysterious dolls that appear and disappear. Their confrontation in the dark woods by the house leads to an appropriate climax, with everyone getting scared. She tries to communicate her fears with another class outcast, Tom who stutters and splutters before getting a word out, with humerous results. Librarians willl be thrille to see the girls learn some real research skills from Mrs. Reynolds as they consult the “ancient microfiche station” to find information on the girl’s death. When Paris finally confronts her fears, she does so with her dog “and the cordless from the kitchen. And the flashlight. And the staple gun.” (242) This and other scenarios will surely lead readers to laugh and possibly confront their own fears.

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