Joint Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry ★★★★1/2

Dare You To by Katie McGarry
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Pushing The Limits #2
Publication Date: May 28th 2013
ISBN: 9780373210985
Page Count: 462
Rating: ★★★★ from Lynsey and ★★★★★ from Janice
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey/Janice
Synopsis: 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 Dare You Not To Fall For Ryan Stone

It's Beth's story!

After an incident involving her mother's abusive boyfriend lands her in hot water, Beth finds herself facing the prospect of life back in her home town under her uncle's care in DARE TO YOU. The second instalment in Katie McGarry's fantastic New Adult series featuring troubled teens.

It would be fair to say I had a hard time with Beth's character at the beginning of this book. Having read PUSHING THE LIMITS last year I expected certain things from her. I expected bad manners, a foul mouth, and a bucket load of attitude. And she definitely didn't disappoint in any of those respects! But even knowing she was quite a harsh and abrasive character, she still tested me as a reader. I felt for her, sure, because of what she's had to put up with in her short life so far. And I definitely understood most of her reactions, including her guilt and feelings of responsibility regarding her mother's drinking. But watching her continue to make things worse for herself with that mouth of hers when she's finally been given a chance at something better, made me want to scream!

Luckily, to help Beth settle in to her new life in her old town, we have the lovely Ryan Stone. Local baseball star and all-round golden-haired sweetheart, Ryan is Beth's polar opposite in every way. They really shouldn't work as a couple, and at times I wasn't sure they did, but when it did work it was very sweet. It would be literally impossible not to like Ryan. He's just a good guy, although perhaps not as perfect as he might outwardly appear. I thought his own issues (aside from Beth) were interesting, too. He was no Noah, but he was still probably my favourite thing about the book.

The story itself wasn't quite as engaging as the first one for me, and there wasn't nearly as much crying involved on my part. Perhaps if Beth had been a softer, more sympathetic character there might have been, but Beth is Beth and crying is for wimps. Still, I definitely enjoyed it, and would recommend it to readers of the NA genre as a great example of how good this category can be. Angst and emotion because of real problems, not because of teen drama and alpha a-holiness.

So, all together another top notch read from Katie McGarry, with complex and often challenging characters. I'll definitely be reading any future books from this author. She's now on my auto-buy list.

4 Stars ★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


An Unforgettable, Star-Crossed Romance

I enjoyed last year's Pushing The Limits. The story was well-written, jam-packed with swoons and feels, and I found it easy to connect to the characters. But the romance was kinda meh for me. I liked it, sure, but I wasn't wowed by it. DARE YOU TO, on the other hand, completely blew me away. I freaking loved it.

We first met Beth in PTL, and oh boy, what a hot mess she was! She still is when her story begins in DARE YOU TO. Her home life is a walking disaster zone, and after one particularly catastrophic night, she is forced to move and start over. Beth is 100% against the idea, and her anger over the situation brings out the worst in her. She's combative, argumentative, and downright unpleasant to virtually everyone she comes in contact with in her new home and school.

No bones about it, Beth Risk is a challenging character. She's all prickles and stings, especially in the beginning, and it may be hard for some readers to connect with her. For me, though, her attitude had the opposite effect. Rather than turn me off, her tough girl facade piqued my curiosity and made me want to know more about her. Why is she so pissed at the world? What happened to turn her into this emotionally scarred (and surprisingly fragile) young woman who is afraid to love or let anyone get close to her? She was a puzzle I simply had to solve, and the deeper I delved into her story, the more I rooted for her. She was dealt such a crappy hand in life, and I desperately wanted her to find the peace, love and happiness she needed and deserved.

Lucky for Beth (and the rest of us!), there is golden boy Ryan Stone.

You may as well add Ryan's name to your book boyfriend list now, because I guarantee he will be on it by the time you finish this book. Though he's not what I would consider a bad boy, he's hardly a saint either. His motives for befriending Beth are anything but pure, and some of his choices in the first third or so of the book made me sigh in disappointment because I knew he was a better person than his actions showed him to be. I was right, too. Ryan - the true Ryan - is amazeballs. A keeper in every sense of the word. Caring, intuitive, loyal, talented, an old-school gentleman - the list just goes on and on. If he doesn't rock your world and make you fall head over heels in love with him, there is something seriously wrong with you. Just sayin' ;)

The first time Ryan and Beth met, they were like two sparks striking off each other. Opposites attract, indeed! There were a few especially charged scenes where I was sure I was going to spontaneously combust because my system couldn't handle all the hotness.

But the course of true love never runs smooth, and for star-crossed lovers Beth and Ryan, that is especially true. Their romance had a distinct Romeo and Juliet flavor to it, and by that I mean, I wasn't sure it would end well for either of them. They got off to such a rocky start, bickering and completely misunderstanding each other - and when they did finally call a truce, everything else around them went to hell. Their relationship was tested and threatened throughout the book. It was intense, let me tell you. I was on tenterhooks the whole time.

Katie McGarry really outdid herself with this book. DARE YOU TO is an engrossing, electrically charged read that will stick with you long after you turn the final page. Just be sure you know how to swim before you read it, because you're about to be thrown into the deep end of the feels pool. At the very least, bring a life jacket.

5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't read your reviews because I haven't read Pushing the Limits *hangs head in shame*. But I wanted to tell you ladies that I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks for being such great book buddies! Check out my post here:



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