The Dare Game is the second book in Tracy Beaker series. It was written by Jacqueline Wilson and illustrated by Nick Sharratt. It was published in 2000.
The book is mainly an autobiography/diary of a young girl named Tracy Beaker, who lives in a care home that she has named, The Dumping Ground. She was placed there many years ago by her mother for domestic violence. This book follows Tracy considering being adopted by Cam Lawson but also her mum returns woo her with stuff. Meanwhile, she meets two boys at a abandoned house when ditching school.
Tracy and Cam often argue about anything, including Tracy's new school, where she has a ghastly class teacher, whom she has christened Mrs "Emesis" Bagley. She hates her. Most of her classmates spread rumors about her mum leaving her on purpose. Tracy says that her mum has to leave because she is a movie star in Hollywood. Tracy decides to exclude herself and go to her own secret house. After a few days she discovers she's not the only one who excluded herself from school as she meet two new friends, Alexander and Football. Alexander is a feeble little boy, whereas Football is the complete opposite, very burly, strong and large. Like Tracy, both boys have family problems: Alexander's dad hates him, and Football has a mother who is always going on at him; his dad has left, and keeps promising to take him to a football match, but he never does. They all stay at a secret house and play dares day after day, including one where Tracy hangs her underwear on a tree. But when Alexander has a go he falls of while football and tracy are lying in a bed, they realised when he lies cramped and stiff on the floor, even football agrees to help him Tracy looks astonished but still agrees to help.Suddenly, Tracy's mum, Carly, appears out of the blue, saying she wants her back. Tracy is allowed to stay with her for a weekend, where her mum showers her with expensive gifts. Cam is upset about losing Tracy, but Tracy is hell-bent on going to live with her mother forever.However, when she goes to her mother's for a second time, her and her mum have a great time for a while until her mum leaves her on her own for hours and hours while she attends a karaoke night at her local pub. Tracy feels frightened and anxious, remembering that this is what her Mum used to do when she was younger. When Carly eventually comes home she is accompanied by a man. They were obviously planning to get passionate, but Carly has to cancel their plans when she remembers Tracy is there. However, before he leaves, she arranges to spend the following weekend with him instead of Tracy. Tracy runs away, eventually choosing to live with Cam, who has always taken care of her.
I've bought a big fat purple notebook for writing down all my mega-manic ultra-scary stories in. But especially for my own story. Of how my foster-mum, Cam, has turned out to be a real meanie. No designer clothes, when I really need them. A pokey flat, and a horrible new school. No wonder I bunk off... Still, it will have to do until my real mum comes and gets me. And until then, no-one is going to be better at the Dare Game than Tracy Beaker!
(in order of importance)
Tracy Beaker- the ten-year old author of her own books, which only she can read, about her life in care. Despite being in care, she is a determined child with a high temper and attempts desperately to get what she wants by either: screaming, shouting or annoying people. Throughout the books, she is fostered by struggling author, Cam Lawson She doesn't get along with any of the residents of Elm Tree House, except for Adele Azupadi and Peter Ingham however she can't stand Justine Littlewood and can no longer trust, Louise Goven, as she left her as a friend for Justine. Before going to The Dumping Ground, she was fostered sereval times and was put into care since her mother couldn't take care of her as she gave birth to her as a teenager.
Cam Lawson, is a middle-aged struggling author who later becomes Tracy's foster mother when she meets her at Elm Tree House. She is an inspriation to Tracy, who desperately wants to become an author in the not so distant future. Throughout, the books she appears to like simple things in life and has a small apartment. Usually, she lets Tracy disrespect her, as she once took ten pounds from her purse. Cam has taken a liking to Tracy, as she is fiercly independent and aspires to be an author like her.
Carly Beaker ,believed to be an high-class actress, is the biological mother of Tracy Beaker. Tracy thinks she is even prettier than Louise as she has long, blonde hair and bright blue eyes, unlike Tracy who perhaps inherited her father's looks. She gave birth to Tracy as a teenager. Now, she is a struggling actress, taking on acting classes. She turns up out of the blue and initially Tracy lives with her, but after realising she leaves her alone for hours while she parties and picks up men, she runs away.
Fiery-tempered, enemy of Tracy Beaker, best friend of Louise Goven and antagonist of the books - Justine Littlewood (mentioned) is a girl, who is very harsh to any one who is rather vulnerable or angry in the Elm Tree House, to hide her real emotions. She is seen taunting Tracy Beaker and her friend Peter Ingham. Although close to her father, she remains contacting him very little. Perhaps, her mother has died so her dad was too upset to take care of her, like the Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground character, Lily Kettle.
Elaine Boyack (minor), also known as Elaine the Pain is a Tracy's social worker and tries to deal with her emotional breakthroughs. Although, she means well she appears annoying to the kids at Elm Tree House
Peter Ingham (mentioned) is a boy in care who has a major crush on Tracy, that she reliazes later on the book series. Tracy often describes Peter as 'weedy little Peter Ingham. He likes to be nice to everyone in Elm Tree House, including Justine. Unfortunately, he was put in care because his parents died and so did his grandma. Despite having a tough time, he is prepared to be nice to everyone he meets.
Louise Goven (mentioned) known for her blonde, highlighted with streaks of ginger (stawberry blonde), glistening hair is the former friend of Tracy Beaker, now friends with Justine Littlewood, who controls her. She appears generally nice and defenceless as she lets Justine control her, as she doesn't have any other friends. Tracy envies her and wishes she looked like her. She is in care because her parents are seperated and her mum, Amanda Goven died when she give birth to Louise's younger brother so they were both put in care, but in differrent care homes. She has been a resident of Elm Tree House the longest.
Alexander-a shy, intelligent boy who is kind but athletically inept. He believes his father hates him and his mother is a weak woman who does nothing to help him.
Football-A boy who is of complete polarity to Alexander; he is butch, muscular and a fan of football (true to his name). He lives with his overbearing mother who constantly tells him off and initially speaks highly of his father, despite the fact he never fulfills his promise to take him to a football match.