Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

book coverARC: 480 pages 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 28, 2013
ISBN: 9780373210639
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
 

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 loved Katie McGarry's debut Pushing the Limits, but was wary of her new book Dare You To (a companion to Limits) because its main character was Beth Risk, one of the best friends of Limits's love interest Noah. I wasn't sure I'd connect to Beth as she was an intimidating girl with a lot of walls and had had a hard life. But I was curious and since I liked Pushing the Limits so much, I was like, what the heck. Boy, was I glad I did because I ended up loving it.

Dare You To was similar to Pushing the Limits but the conflicts and drama were much more intense. Beth's top priority was always protecting her mother, so when she was given the choice, she sacrificed her own happiness for her mom's freedom. Now, she's begrudgingly under her uncle's care and has moved back to the town where she spent her childhood years. Beth tried to keep as much distance between her and everyone around her, but people, like her uncle, her childhood best friend, and worse of all, the golden boy Ryan, forced her to break down her walls and reveal her raw, broken self. Soon, Beth began to grow roots and living almost without the pain and burden she's always known. But when she must save her mother again, Beth must decide if her own happiness and well-being is more important. 

Individually, Beth and Ryan had such heavy burdens on their shoulders--I felt for them and rooted for them all throughout the book. Without his perfect golden facade, Ryan was just as confused, scared, and burdened as Beth, but he was also very talented, protective, and loving. I am almost jealous of Beth for having him--I want my own Ryan. Beth was a very headstrong heroine--she was stubborn, hardcore, confused, and frightened but she has her caring, loving, and responsible side too, especially toward her family and friends. Both Ryan and Beth were great characters!

Reading Dare You To reminded me of the many reasons why I loved Katie McGarry and her books. She writes the best heavier themed YA contemporaries with a heavy dose of romance. Both Dare and Pushing explored a whirlwind of emotions and events experienced by individuals who are searching for themselves and learning about themselves--just my kind of read! Books like ones written by McGarry remind me that I'm not alone in my confusion and fears. 

I also really like McGarry's writing style--I like how she develops and delineates events and characters very well. I will most definitely pick up McGarry's next book Crash Into You, which feature Noah's other best friend Isaiah and then, well, I will pretty much read anything Katie McGarry writes.

Both Pushing the Limits and Dare You To can be read as standalone novels. However, I recommend you read Pushing to better appreciate Dare. If you love darker, more angst-y YA contemporary novels with a heavy dose of romance like I do, you gotta pick up McGarry's novels.

3 comments

  1. I was hesitant about this book too because of how Beth was portrayed in Pushing the Limits but I ended up loving Dare You To even more. Great review! I am looking foward to Crash Into You too.

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  2. I loved DYT more than PTL-I thought Ryan's drama was more low-key than Beth's and balanced it better than Noah and Echo's. I loved the snippet of Crash Into You and think it might even end up being the best yet!

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