Dare You To by Katie McGarry
Reading Level: Young Adult
eARC: 462 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Series: Pushing The Limits #2
Source: Netgalley for blog tour
Reviewed by: Lili
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….
Holy cow. Ho-ly Cow. That’s all I have to say. Katie McGarry’s debut novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS, is among my favorite books ever. When I found out she was coming out with a sequel, I freaked out but resigned myself to the fact that it probably wouldn’t be able to live up to the amazing romantic relationship and journey that surrounded Noah and Echo. Boy, was I wrong. This novel was so amazing that I can’t find anything to truly criticize. McGarry is just that good.
The characterization in this novel is so deliciously complex and compelling. It makes the story. Particularly in Ryan’s case. The book starts off with him and his best friends in Taco Bell. They’re pretty much in a dare battle to see who can walk away with the most phone numbers that night. Upon this realization, I thought that I’d be dealing with a jerk with this story. A guy who lives off dares? Really? But what I quickly learned was that Ryan thrives off the adrenaline dares give him because he loves to win. He loves to win because in life, he sort of loses. When I say that, I mean that he has a lot of hidden demons haunting him at home and the true perfection that was once his life was lost when his elder brother, Mark, dropped a bomb on the family. He takes dares and allows his competitiveness shine through challenges on the baseball field and off of it in order to keep some sort of control over his life. And in this sense we’re presented with a really unique main character that is not common in young adult literature these days. This seemingly perfect boy is more complex than he seems. He loves to write to free his mind and has a way with words, though this is a hidden talent in comparison to his major pitching skills. He’s compassionate, he cares, he would never willingly hurt a woman and always stands up for the underdog. He loves with his entire self and causes passion to go through the roof. And he fights for what he wants, and in this case, that’s Beth. He’s not a player, he’s not a cheater, he has no flaws in that sense besides the demons that haunt him. And because of this, not only is he swoon-worthy, but he’s real.
Beth also grew greatly in this novel. It’s no secret that she wasn’t the easiest character to like in PUSHING THE LIMITS, but as we learned why she is the way she is, I quickly began to love her. She’s a broken soul that throws up ugly and confrontational fronts to hide the fact that she’s really broken into a million little pieces that have left her unable to truly trust or love anybody in her life. These two deliciously complicated characters take us on a whirlwind roller coaster that is most unexpected, but greatly welcome. DARE YOU TO serves as the perfect example to highly McGarry’s literary genius and her ability to deliver realistic characters that you can relate to, love, and grow alongside. My one qualm is that the back-plot with Isaiah was so important that I almost feel as if the end of his part of the story wasn’t neatly tied up. However, I’m sure this is in large part due to the fact that book three, CRASH INTO YOU, will be his story.
And I’m craving it because McGarry’s writing just keeps getting better and better.
In the end, I know only one word to describe this book and that word is "beautiful." The writing, the characterization, the messages, the romance, and the journey to self-worth and self-discovery on both ends are beautiful. Everything about it is beautiful. I suppose when you read a truly amazing love story, that’s the outlook it gives you, but I always feel as if I come away from reading one of McGarry’s stories refreshed with a slightly new outlook on the possibility of love and everything that comes with it. I truly recommend reading this series to anyone who wants to be wowed and moved, but you have to start with book one in order to understand a lot of the little things that add up in book two. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Here is your chance to win an (1) amazing and unique DARE YOU TO Grand Prize Package full of goodies, including an iPod nano, iTunes Gift Card, Baseball Jersey, Leather Bracelet and a copy of PUSHING THE LIMITS and DARE YOU TO. A secondary prize is copy of either PUSHING THE LIMITS or DARE YOU TO.
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About Katie McGarry
Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
Katie is the author of the full-length Young Adult novels PUSHING THE LIMITS and DARE YOU TO, and the e-novella CROSSING THE LINE. Her debut novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS, is a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and an RT Book Reviews 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel.
Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. The most memorable moments for Katie are when she speaks to groups of teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach. Katie would love to hear from her readers.