Dare You To
by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Published: 28 May 2013
Harlequin Teen, Digital ARC
Source: eARC via Netgalley
Thankyou Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“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 did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Partially because I didn’t like Pushing the Limits and also because I’m quite critical when it comes to contemporary novels. However, scrap all that, Dare You To was completely extraordinary.
One of the reasons for my love of this book might be due to the fact that I love the protagonist, Beth. She’s snarky and hilarious but deep down inside, extremely loyal to those she loves too. Plus, we both have a mutual dislike for Echo. Although Beth can seem quite fearless, she’s actually pretty vulnerable and I’ve always had a soft spot for characters like her.
As for Ryan, what first struck me was his pride. It wasn’t overwhelming and annoying, but distinguished enough to give him personality and an endearing fault. Like Beth, I would’ve categorized him as a jock whose “muscles feast on his brains”, Beth’s exact words, had I not realized how respectful he was to females and his talent for writing. Ryan wouldn’t let others diss his (very annoying & conniving) ex-girlfriend. Color me impressed!
Although our dear male protagonist can be clueless at times, it’s honestly really adorable and he’s one of the rare blonde guys I actually like. It doesn’t hurt either that Ryan’s a perfectly good and decent guy and as I’m adversed to typical bad-boys, that scores him brownie points with me.
Moving on to Beth and Ryan together… I was so completely blown away by their relationship! It was so incredibly raw, intense and romantic, which I never saw coming due to how unserious both Ryan and Beth can seem on the surface sometimes. Katie McGarry created such realistic characters who are much more than what they seem at first.
No doubt, I loved Beth and Ryan’s story better than Echo and Noah’s. That might just be because I could oddly relate to Beth on so many levels, even though I’m the chipper sort.
Now, I’ve heard many readers complain about how Beth should’ve ended up with Isaiah. In my opinion, I’ve never, ever supported a romantic relationship between them from the start. They were obviously incompatible as there wasn’t a way for them to pull each other out of the holes they were trapped in because they had been trapped in the same hole in life.
However, with Ryan and Beth, they brought out the best (and most snarky) in each other. Ryan helped Beth rediscover her old self but retain the new while she helped brought him to life, out of the daze he used to live in. As the story had progressed and unfolded, the more I liked them together. Talk about perfectly imperfect relationships at its best!
All in all, Dare You To was definitely not some chick lit & all sugar, spice and romance. It teaches so much about friendship, family, responsibility and freedom, not just romance, romance, romance, I repeat. Although the romantic aspects were still breath-taking and not lacking. I would recommend this to simply everyone because I loved it so much but readers who favor a perfect blend of emotion and humor might especially like this read. To end off, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes from this amazing novel.
“Beth feels like this storm. Constant and persistent as a whole, but the more I get close and try to clutch the individual drops of rain, the more the water falls out of my hands.”
“This isn’t me giving him a memory. This is me giving him my heart.”
“Don’t take what was beautiful between us and make it ugly.”