Cover image for Dare truth or promise
Dare truth or promise
Boock, Paula.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Physical Description:
170 pages ; 22 cm
Louie Angelo, a Woodhaugh High prefect who plans to be a lawyer, falls in love with a girl who lives in a pub and just wants to get through her exams so she can become a chef.
Reading Level:
800 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.4 7.0 45112.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.5 12 Quiz: 20384 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



When Louie and Willa first meet, they don't know their lives will soon be changed forever. Self-assured Louie is gearing up for another successful year in high school, starring in a production of Twelfth Night and running the Comedy Club. Kicked out of her last school and still stinging from a past relationship, Willa wants only to get through her final year at school quietly so she can graduate and become a chef. More than anything, she wants to be left alone. But each girl unexpectedly finds that plans mean nothing when it comes to love. Louie discovers that everything she was sure of-acceptance, faith, and identity-are not what they had seemed. And Willa finds herself suddenly willing to take another chance.

Author Notes

Award-winning author Paula Boock lives in Dunedin, New Zealand, where she works as a writer and publisher. She has written four books for young adults, including DARE TRUTH OR PROMISE, the winner of the New Zealand Children's Book of the Year Award. She has also published poetry and plays, and has written for television.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 8^-12. Willa and Louie could not be more different. Louie, who wants to be a lawyer, is an outstanding student and a prefect at her New Zealand high school. Willa lives in a pub and just wants to get through her exams so she can become a chef. But they are immediately and completely attracted to one another when they first meet as employees at a fast-food restaurant, and they soon fall in love. Louie's mother suspects the affair and orders her daughter to stop seeing Willa. Unwilling to defy her family, Louie seeks counsel from an understanding priest at her church and finally comes to accept her sexuality and her love for Willa. Boock's characters are lively and believable; even Louie's mother is multidimensional. Like M. E. Kerr's Deliver Us from Evie (1994), this is a heartening novel in which the lesbian lovers stay together despite family and societal objections--though one wonders if Louie's anguish could have been depicted without a car crash (see Michael Cart's Booklist "YA Talk: Saying No to Stereotypes," Je 1 & 15 99). A useful glossary of New Zealand terminology prefaces the story. --Debbie Carton

Publisher's Weekly Review

New Zealand author Boock traces the developing lesbian romance between two high school seniors in an ultimately uplifting novel. The two are from different social strata: Louie quotes Shakespeare and poetry and comes from a conservative, upper-middle-class background, while newcomer Willa, still suffering from the repercussions of an ill-fated first relationship with another girl, lives above a pub. Told in a third-person narrative that alternates between the two characters' points of view, the book offers a frank appraisal of the girls' initial attraction, passions and the conflicts of dealing with a variety of outsiders√Ąparents, friends, co-workers, etc. When Louie's mother discovers the two girls in bed together in Louie's room, she forbids Louie to see Willa. After a rather prolonged period of suffering and soul-searching, they are able to reunite. Although Boock's intense narrative crosses into melodrama and occasionally plants an important scene offstage, teens who are curious about or struggling with questions of sexual identity will find reassurance in these pages. The characters' interactions with Louie's father and priest, and Willa's conversations with her own mother, convey an empathy and tolerance strong enough to counterbalance the intolerance the lovers face from everyone else. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Luisa "Louie" Angelo is rarely at a loss for words. Actress, extrovert, comedienne, she is well suited for the legal career she is planning. When she meets strong-minded Willa, her worldview and sense of self are forever altered with the realization that she is in love with her. Moving from disbelief to the awareness that the love she feels for Willa is "absolutely natural," Louie must cope with her mother's chilly suspicion, societal disapproval, and religious condemnation. When caught by her mother in a compromising situation with Willa, Louie is torn between the truth in her heart and the institutions that have guided her all her life. Willa, though secure with her identity, is recovering from a disastrous relationship with another girl whose fundamentalist family accused her of being a corrupting influence. Fearing a repeat with Louie, Willa is determined to suppress her own vulnerability. Tortured by the rift between them, Louie visits her family priest, who offers a liberal reading of the Bible, viewing all love as a gift from God. A car crash and hospital scare result in a satisfying denouement. While their problems are not instantly resolved, readers know that these teens have made a commitment to be open about their homosexuality. Both Louie and Willa are nicely articulated, and while the New Zealand locale and language differences may challenge some YAs, the emotions ring true and bridge the culture gap. Sexuality is sensitively yet realistically portrayed. Boock's courageous confrontation of the issues of homosexuality and religion, unique characters, and a talent for truth set this novel apart.-Jennifer A. Fakolt, Denver Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.