by Katie McGarry
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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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....
I adored Pushing the Limits with Noah and Echo and was excited to read Dare You To by Katie McGarry. I found it to be a raw, brutally honest portrayal of a dysfunctional family and the depiction of the main character, her emotions and struggles felt breathtakingly real. I quickly consumed this and look forward to the third book Crash Into You. Three-word review: raw, emotional, realistic.
In this second book, we get up close and personal with Beth Risk and the drama she faces on a daily basis as she tries to take care of her mother. When the cops are called, Beth takes the heat and is whisked away to her Uncle’s home. A new school, the loss of her friends, an Aunt who doesn’t want her and the need to protect her Mom have Beth looking to escape. She meets Ryan Stone; high school athlete and dropped dead gorgeous. He’s able to get under her skin and begins to peck away at the carefully constructed wall she has built around herself. The tale that unfolds was bittersweet as Beth learns she is not her mother’s keeper.
Beth is angry, loud, fouled mouthed, and broken. Despite being annoying at times, I couldn’t help but love her. She loves her friends Noah and Isaiah and works so hard to take care of her mother. She has been abused and taken advantage of. She dresses in black, even dyes her golden tresses black. She smokes pot and drinks just to escape and dull the pain. I knew someone very much like her in high school. Her emotions, fears, and reactions rang so true. Her self-esteem is a mess, she is snarky and attacks when her emotions threaten to surface. Isaiah and Noah are present in some scenes but this is really Beth’s story. They realize she needs to be separated from her mother. Her interaction with Isaiah is emotional and felt very surreal. Ryan is a guy who looks like he has the world in his pocket. He is a good kid trying to please everyone. Athletic, with a killer smile you cannot help but like him. He has family secrets and the perfect nuclear family you see isn’t the one that reveals itself within the walls of their home. The romance was slow to build and I enjoyed watching it unfold. I felt all of the characters were fleshed-out and the secondary characters in school are the classic ones that seem to creep into every story. We get the mean girl, who does catty things, the well-meaning friends and the classic sidekicks.
While the romance takes a lot of stage time, there is a lot more to McGarry’s story. She addresses some really big issues, like homosexuality, drug abuse, physical abuse and the effects these play on children and families. The tale focuses on Beth and her issues and this was well done. Beth is broken, has abandonment issues as well as trust issues. I loved seeing her grow, and trust. There are some raw tender moments throughout the novel and not just between the couple. The romance developed slowly and there is some heat, but it was discreet. The interaction between Beth and her Uncle touched me, as did a few other events. Overall, I think McGarry delivered and while it isn’t always easy to get all warm and fuzzy about Beth you have to appreciate what a realistic character the author created.
If you loved Pushing the Limits then Dare You To is a must read. While the two books are connected Dare You To would work well as a standalone too. These novels push the YA envelope and I would recommend this for more mature young adults. The next book Crash Into You will be published November 26, 2013, and share Isaiah’s story.
I love slow building romances and Dare You To definitely had one. And I liked all social and family problems that were highlighted in this book, especially regarding Ryan’s family.
Can’t wait for Crahs Into You and I hope book #4 is about Logan. o:)
ooh I did too, but he needs someone stronger than Beth.
And now we wait…eep! she does make the wait worth it though.
I’m a little wary of reading this cause Pushing The Limits was SOOO SOOOOO Good! and I have a feeling it won’t be as good 🙁
YAY! I’m so glad you loved this one too! I agree, Beth could be annoying, especially with some of her self sabotaging behavior, but I couldn’t help love her by the end. I also really liked her relationships with her uncle and Lacy. I am so impressed with how much I end up caring about all of these characters. Can’t wait for Crash Into You!! Why does it have to be so far away? (Ok, I guess it’s really not THAT far, I’m just being greedy :D) Beautiful review!
Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
For some reason I have been afraid of these…maybe because I shy away from Contemps anyway…? You’re really temping me though…
And now I can’t remember if I commented before or not… 😉
Melissa (Books and Things)
I’m with you! I enjoyed this one as well. I’m glad she took the time with the romance otherwise I wouldn’t have liked it as much. It took me a while to warm up to Ryan. Can we get Isaiah’s book now? 😉
Ha, it’s ok to be greedy~
It is different and stands on its own, relax and enjoy!
psst *whispers in a low voice* I loathe YA contemps, but these read older and are unique to the genre
you kill me, and nope first comment here today my friend *passes you a cup of coffee*
ooh we all want Isaiah. I think it was hard with Ryan because he showed so little of his true self at first!
Awesome review!! I enjoyed this book too. It’s pretty emotionally charged and I loved how Beth grew as well! Ryan…. yummy!! Nice good guy!!
Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace
Oh I have done that!
I am so not a fan of contemporary YA but this author writes about characters we all can identify with 🙂
ooh yes, it got down and dirty!
I knew you’d love Beth!
He was yummy and I loved how his life wasn’t perfect.
Awesome review! I liked it too! 🙂
Yay. we can wait for book three together, I want Isaiah’s story!!
Oh me too, bring on the angst and drama!
So agree, I cannot wait for book three!
Great review! 😀
I love how McGarry makes you FEEL for everyone. I have to admit though, I loved Pushing the Limits a lot more 🙂
I did too, it was a five coffee cup review for me, but this was different and wonderful just the same!
I totally agree with your review on this book! 🙂 Great job as always!
Great review and I totally agree. Raw and real with great character development. I felt like I was in an emotional rollercoaster and thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to Isaiah’s story as I felt so sorry for him.
I swear, I was hormonal or something with this one. I bawled my way through it which I didn’t necessarily enjoy. Terrific review, chica. 🙂
Exactly Jennifer and now we wait ……
Mandy Biddinger Sickle
Awesome review. I keep meaning to start this series. I need to get on it. I’ve been such a slacker. Thanks for sharing!
I know …so many books so little time, It took me until March of 2013 to finally read Pushing the Limit and wow. You aren’t a slacker, we can’t read them all..although we can die trying!
My review is going to be published soon, and I agree 100% with yours. I gave it 4 stars also, and love that the author wrote this so that it can stand on it’s own.
Book Savvy Babe
I wasn’t sure if this book was YA or NA. Sounds like it’s pretty mature though, and it caught my eye. It’s on the TBR, I’ll get to it one of these days… Thanks for the review!
I didn’t realize it had tough issues in it. But it makes sense now that I think about what I know about Beth from book one. I’m excited for this one now. Too bad I have a million books to read before I can get to this one!
The peeps are under 18, so YA and it does really push the limits and its probably why I love this series, since I am so not a fan of YA contemporaries.
I know what you mean, since I loathe YA contemps but this pushes the limits and really tackles the darker side and its done well.
Ha, I feel you about those million books, but this is worth it when you have the time 🙂
I am so glad you liked this! I’m reading this after I finish the one I’m reading. Was trying to get to it last week, but well…you know. I’m slacking like always!
And I love books that deal with issues. Gah. Love. ‘Em.
I have been tentative in reading Dare You To as it is advertised as a teen harlequin romance. The fact that it branches into more difficult issues does make me more inclined to read it. Thanks for the great review!
This was a great love story beth and ryan not only made me laugh but
also cry. both pushing the limits and dare you to are great stories. i
cannot wait to read isaia.
Maycee Greene (Great Website Designs Anchorage)