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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 3 August 2009
A well crafted story that is just what it is promised to be - a really quick read. I think it must be hard to write a story that is well composed within the limits of easy language and a few pages - and still make it an interesting story. But I think John Boyne manages to do exactly that. I think the book is suitable for readers from the age of eleven as well as for adults of any age. It is also a good starter's read for those who have English as a second language and want to learn more English. I liked it and I recommend it.
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on 15 November 2009
The Quick read series are an excellent introduction to a wide range of authors of various styles and therefore are more than just an emergent, easy read. This one doesn't claim to be one for a younger person and although told through the eyes of a 12 yr old boy, doesn't have that young person feel. It isn't predictable either unlike "Boy in striped pyjamas". The Dare of the title only becomes apparent half way through the book when Danny meets Sarah, sister of Andy the boy in the accident. Whether they would ever have met and formed a friendship is debatable, but it's a vehicle for the story to progress. Not one of the best quick reads, but well worth reading.
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on 12 March 2009
This book is part of the "Quick Reads" series, released to coincide with World Book Day on March 5th.

Danny's mother has knocked a child over, and whilst it was an accident, she blames herself and withdraws from the family. Danny struggles to cope. His father is preoccupied with looking after his mother and his older brother is away travelling around Europe (and after he told Danny he'd be home from University in the holidays) he feels very alone - something has to give. Will Danny and his family ever be the same again...?

Although I believe this book is meant to be aimed at adults, the fact that it's told from the point of view of a 12 year old makes it read like a children's book. I think that after enjoying "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" so much, my expectations were quite high, but this book is a gentle easy read, which is the point of this series, so go for it!
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on 2 March 2013
This is part of the 'quick reads collection' and so it is a novella/short story and a very quick read.

NOT A SPOILER: This is the story of Danny a 13 year old boy whose mother accidentally knocks a child down in her car.

I really liked the concept of this story however I din't really like how the story was told, which is very much how I felt about John Boyne's other book The Boy in the striped Pajamas. (Also the main characters voice seemed younger than he was supposed to, which was another issue I shared with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas).

The story takes place over too long a time with too many characters in too few pages. Essentially I didn't get a good sense of any of the characters, they were either unlikable or one dimensional. This was particularly bad in terms of the character of the mother who I got no real sense of at all.

I was going to be lenient with this rating because of the few pages in this book, and the young narrator until I realised how many wonderful short stories I have read, and how some of my favourite stories are told by young narrators.
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on 14 April 2011
This vignette is an extremely well written little book. The story revolves around a family crisis, inwhich the ensuing personal dilemma's of each member of the household (and associated characters), are viewed through the eyes of the main protagonist, Danny a twelve year old boy.

The story meanders its way through the reciprocation of social relationships between family members under extreme stress, and how this has a detrimental affect upon Danny. Boyne introduces a number of themes within the book, the main essence of the story dealing with the near breakdown of family affinities, and how seemingly innoculous actions can cause catastrophic consequences. The prose is well crafted and structured reflecting the compositional limits of a short novel, however, Boyne could of examined numerous other conclusions to this book, but elects for a safe option. In some small way this detracts from the story, but overall it is a very enjoyable quick read giving a flavour of Boyne's writing.

The book (albiet a short story) developes at a gentle pace and I would recommend the book for adolescents and adults alike. An admirable introduction to the prose of Boyne.
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on 25 April 2012
This story covers a short, but impactful (I know that's not a recognised word, but it should be!) period of a young boy's life.

In the opening, Danny and his Dad are sitting at home, fretting over the unusually late home-coming of Danny's Mum. Eventually, she turns up, flanked by two police officers. She has collided with Andy, who is slightly younger than Danny, as she was driving home. Andy is in a coma in hospital, and his chances of pulling through are slim. Mum is drowning in her guilt and has become uncommunicative.

Tensions rise. Other characters are introduced, including Andy's sister, Sarah, who becomes central to the plot. The interactions between all of the players make the story roll along at a brisk pace. The events are not predictable, which makes for interesting reading.

As a quick read, it is possible to get through the whole book in a single sitting, and setting time aside to do that would be worthwhile. Once you are into it, you will want to continue until you reach the conclusion.

I did like this book, although not quite as much as the only other John Boyne that I have read, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
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on 16 November 2013
It was good and easy reading but not as good as boy in the striped pyjamas and to be fair it was a bit of a let down because when I bought it I thought it would be really good but it wasn't it was average and not a very good ending.but all in all worth a try
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on 26 February 2016
I really enjoyed this book. I hadn't read a book for years and this one got me reading again. My son read it after me and thoroughly enjoyed it. A great story and a great plot.
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on 29 August 2013
Only a quick read, but all the more powerful for it. I was hooked instantly and couldn't wait to keep reading. Worth a go if you like stories short and snappy.
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Bought for elderly father who has a Kindle but no internet access. He says he enjoyed it. I can't comment on the actual story so I just put what he told me.
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