The one secret she cares about keeping—her identity—is about to be exposed. Unless Lauren “Panda” Daniels—an anonymous photoblogger who specializes in busting classmates and teachers in compromising positions—plays along with her blackmailer’s little game of Dare or . . . Dare.
But when the game turns deadly, Panda doesn’t know what to do. And she may need to step out of the shadows to save herself . . . and everyone else on the Admirer’s hit list.
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Lauren is a photographer named Gray who secretly runs a blog about people in her school. She takes pictures of students who she deems deserve to be exposed. Some of the pictures aren’t exactly what they seem, but as long as the picture makes the bully/bad student look bad, Gray will post it. No one knows that she runs this, but the whole school is always tuned into this blog to see who will be posted next. Then she posts a picture of a mean cheerleader having sex with a coach, and it absolutely blows up. This is the first time that she ever caught a teacher for her blog, and the teacher gets fired for his actions. The cheerleader automatically goes from the top of the social pyramid to the bottom, and then she dies in a car crash. Lauren is getting mysterious messages from a fan and thinks that she knows who might have committed the crime. She will have to reveal herself to inform the police though, which may lead to repercussions for her.
I don’t think that the way this story played out was entirely realistic. Gray takes a pretty graphic picture of a student having sex with a teacher, I don’t think that this would have just flown over everyone’s heads because they disliked the teacher and were so into the drama. Realistically, someone would have been trying to go after Gray for posting inappropriate pictures of a barely-legal girl and a man together. And also, the school would have probably tried to shut Gray down long before. I remember at my high school there were just a few fake Snapchat accounts going around spreading rumors about the school, and the administration actually contacted Snapchat to have the pictures taken down. No way that Gray would have flown under the radar for so long if so many students were being affected.
The second part of the story that seemed unrealistic to me was how the end played out. It just….didn’t quite make sense? I don’t know how to explain it, but I definitely did not like the villain being who they were. It was so random, and I wanted it to be more than that.
Other than these issues, I really liked this book! Lauren as a character was great, I always had a soft spot for those stories about the outcast-turned-secret ______. She also shows readers her photography knowledge throughout the book, which I thought was a neat way of giving her character more depth. She really knew her stuff! The only thing that she could have done better was that last battle, but that wasn’t really her fault.
There isn’t much romance in this, even though Lauren teams up with her ex-boyfriend for a long time in this novel. I think I preferred the lack of romance. If there was more romance, it might have clogged up the actual story and characters. The main drama actually comes from Lauren and her best friend Ocie fighting, which was bound to happen. I only wish we had had some sort of conclusion to that at the end of the novel. If there was a sequel I might feel differently, but this was a standalone.
Overall, I don’t hate this novel, but I don’t love it. It was addictive, but by the end, I just wanted it to be over. Some parts seemed really realistic while others just didn’t portray high school well. I think I would have also liked the book more if the “last battle” had a different outcome.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend or not recommend this book, but if you have extra time and want to look at a new YA thriller, this might be something that you are interested in.
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books