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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Paris Pan Takes the Dare

Paris Pan Takes the Dare"Eventually, we pulled up to Johnny’s Bait and Tackle, and I stared at the white frame house, wondering what fishing had to do with candy."

You never know what will happen when you log on to Facebook. One of my friends posted a note inviting us to participate in the Nearest Book Note with these rules: * Grab the book nearest you. Right now. * Turn to page 56. * Find the fifth sentence. * Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note to your wall…. 

Well, I didn’t want to post a new note, so I’m giving you the 5th sentence from page 56 of Paris Pan Takes the Dare by Cynthea Liu. Putnam. June, 2009. 978-0-399-25043-9 $16.99. 

Seventh grader Paris Pan has never lived more than 8 months in one home so her survival skills for adjusting to new schools are superb. Unfortunately her scrapbook page for lifelong friends is empty. When Paris’ family moves to Sugar Lake, OK, Paris discovers more than new friends. From her deliciously scary adventures in the haunted woods surrounding her home to her confrontations with bullies, we laugh and empathize with this delightful character.

I loved Paris Pan’s Chinese-American family. Her arguments with her siblings and her parents are grounded in traditional respect while embracing modern problems. Paris has a dog named Go which always has to go – just another example of Cynthea Liu’s quirky humor. (According to my ex-husband "go" means "dog" in Chinese and is the sound dogs make. Try saying GoGoGo instead of RuffRuffRuff.) But the fact that the parents speak with an accent doesn’t prevent this family from eating like any typical American family. One of my favorite scenes involved Paris erupting when her father insists upon eating the unhealthy sour cream with his nachos even after he’s had a heart attack and is put on a healthy diet. Unhealthy American eating habits reign supreme. 

Looking for rites-of-passage books? Paris Pan has a ritual "Dare" for 13 year olds involving an unsolved ??murder?? and mysterious disappearances of teens. Hey, it even has some basketball action since every student in middle school including all 7 boys and 4 girls in seventh grade must be on the team. Did I mention that I joined track in 8th grade because every darn student had participated in every sport all year? ARGH! Don’t ask… (shuddering with embarrassing memories)

Actually, I laughed so hard reading this book that I cannot wait to put it in the hands of several of my middle school girls. They are going to love Paris Pan. I’m just sorry for you, readers, that you have to wait until June to get your hands on Paris Pan Takes the Dare. 

Hello, Cynthea, could you please write more novels? Maybe you should meet my sons for further adventure ideas. They’d make great comic relief characters and I’m sure Paris’ mother would love to bring them home to meet Verona. Let’s be friends on Facebook and chat.


  1. Of course, my dear. I’m working on that next book as we speak! Thank you so much for spreading the love for PARIS PAN

  2. Hello Cynthea,
    Good news or bad news? Bad news: my students are very disappointed that your next book hasn’t miraculously sprung from your fingertips. (Do they think you are Norah Roberts?) Good news: My 6th grade girls are inviting you to visit them because they believe they will inspire you to write about multicultural families in Nashville. Kind of eastern Asia meets the Khurdish population and the large hispanic community. They said they’d even have a sleep-over in the library… Hold on here girls, did I say I was up for a sleepover?!! Who is running this library? The students? Maybe. Now, get back to writing before they plan any other events.

  3. O.M.G. A sleepover at your library?! I think they may have hit upon something. We could play The Dare in the stacks and plant freaky dolls everywhere. Of course, someone would HAVE to be turning thirteen. (That would be me! – YES! Oh … if I could be thirteen again. *sigh*)

    But ask the students, ”

  4. What if someone went missing?

    Oooooooo…… :)

  5. My girls love this book at my middle school. They are already pestering me via facebook to plan a spooky Dare Sleepover in the library for October.