Book Review: ‘Dare You To’ by Katie McGarry

September 19, 2015     Holly     Reviews

Book Review: ‘Dare You To’ by Katie McGarryDare You To by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 28, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 456
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
5 Stars

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....

Dare You To by Katie McGarry, the second novel in her Pushing the Limits series, had me slightly off kilter. When I first picked up the novel, and found out that it was going to follow the story of Beth, Noah’s somewhat intolerable friend from Pushing the Limits, I was skeptical. I didn’t like Beth as a character in the first novel, I was still way too in love with Noah and Echo, and it seemed like a story I’d read a thousand other times.

But I was very, very surprised.

It turns out that Beth, despite her portrayal in the first book, is an excellent character to tell a story with. Her home life was much more complicated than I originally thought, and the fact that she tries so desperately to protect her drug addicted mother from her abusive boyfriend, and from herself, was very touching. It also becomes apparent in Dare You To that Beth’s attitude is about more than just being Beth. It’s a wall. And a very thick one at that.

But for all of Beth’s cynicism and emotionally-based bad decisions, there’s Ryan. He’s the good guy, baseball star, perfect-to-a-T male lead. But that’s all on the outside. Inside, and at home, Ryan is forced into a world of secrets, like keeping his brother’s homosexuality (and his parent’s subsequent disapproval) out of the public eye, and his fiction writing (an option for the future he wasn’t aware he had), from the people who want and expect him to be nothing more than the next professional baseball player to come from their small town.

Both Beth and Ryan bring out the sides of one another in Dare You To that deserve to be at the front of their respective lives. Ryan’s shows Beth that there’s a certain amount of strength in vulnerability, and that it’s okay to live a life worthy of having instead of constantly protecting those who don’t know how. And Beth teaches Ryan that sometimes, you have to make a decision that will make you happy, and not make a decision that everyone expects you to make. Dare You To is a beautiful love story in all of the classic ways. They better each other, even if it takes them a while to realize it.

I do wish there had been more interaction between Scott and Beth, however. I felt like their story, from him being a teenager who promised to come back for her, to this famous, baseball star who made good on his promise a little too late,was no where near enough to satisfy my curiosities. I wanted to see Beth get a family she deserved, but there was just too little focus on this aspect of things. But I did like what parts of Scott I was introduced to, and am pretending that they’re living happily ever after as one big family.

Once again, I applaud McGarry and continue to love her ability to write love stories that go beyond boy-meets-girl. Don’t miss out on Dare You To!

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