April 25, 2014

REVIEW: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To by Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits #2)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Source: Netgalley*
Rating: 5/5 stars
Get it: Amazon | B&N
Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...

My Review
Katie McGarry gave me another amazing hit with Dare You To. I’m banging my head against the fall for taking so long to pick up and read this book because it blew me away. There was more humor, darkness and sexiness and I love how different yet familiar this book was to me.

Like PTL, Dare You To has dual perspectives split between two main characters, Ryan and Beth. I got a glimpse of Beth in the previous book, but I didn’t fully understand or begin to like her until I got to know her. Beth was described in the book as rough around the edges and I completely agree. Beth showed this front of being tough, didn't care what you think type of bad attitude. But deep down, she was broken and missing the girl who she once was. She showed this vulnerability and softness I failed to see in PTL. Ryan was new altogether and he had me from the moment he described his love for baseball. On the outside his family seemed picture perfect, but they were falling a part from within. Ryan struggled with this, a family secret he still harbored, and his own independence from his father on his own life. Ryan had this endearing arrogance, hated to lose and loved dares, but what I loved most about him was his respect for people and for women. 

I say that Dare You To was darker because of Beth’s past and the life she continued to live and her inability to break free from a mother who obviously did not care about her. I loved the topics covered here because Beth dealt with real life issues: abuse, drugs, trust, moving, love and so much more. I appreciated McGarry giving Beth a new start even though she had a hard time accepting it. Beth really showed her fears of trust and love when it came to family, friends and romance and it really broke my heart to see how much she tried to deal with it all. I loved seeing someone from her past come back and finally take care and love her the way she deserved. Their relationship and how much he impacted her life touched my heart. Their interactions were my favorite because it was rough, it was tender, but it was also humorous. 

Ryan’s part of the story was just as prominent as Beth. He definitely changed and grew throughout the book. He had realizations about his future with baseball and he even found something he loved and excelled in besides the sport. With the help of a teacher and Beth, but mostly Ryan’s way of not backing down from a competition, he ended up standing up for himself and making his own decisions no matter what his parents or other people thought. Ryan was a great character because he had the best of intentions, he was always as respectful as can be, and he saw through Beth and gave her the benefit of the doubt despite her past. 

Beth and Ryan’s relationship was rough in the beginning because of the trust issues and the dares, but it blossomed beautifully. There was attraction which both characters tried to fight off, but their dare lead up to something more. To see both of their walls slowly crumbly down does wonders for their romantic development because I got to see and feel how they were affected by the each other. I loved how hard it was for them to open up, but once they did they still had to keep trying to work things out. It wasn’t perfect or easy. When one wanted to give up, the other kept on going and this helped make their relationship stronger, the trust to build up more solidly and easier for them to finally show how they truly felt. Together, Ryan and Beth were better.

Overall, Katie McGarry allowed me to fall for Beth and Ryan just as strongly as I did for Echo and Noah in PTL. Dare You To does not fail to evoke emotion and keep you engaged. 

*Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

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