Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)
Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen | MIRA Ink | Harlequin Teen Australia
Date of Publication: May 28, 2013 | May 22, 2013 | June 1, 2013

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...

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Harlequin (UK) and NetGalley for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.

Truth be told, I was hesitant to read this novel. I was long approved for it but I kept on postponing reading it. I wasn't sure that I wanted to read a novel about Beth. As you can read in my PUSHING THE LIMITS review last year, I was disappointed that the next novel centers on Beth and the excerpt at the end of PTL definitely did not make me want to read it. I sorta kinda hate her. Fine, I hate her. I hate how she twists Isaiah. Poor, poor Isaiah. And with her very abrasive behavior, I just don't think I can stomach a novel full of her. So I only read this novel with my faith in Katie McGarry's writing propelling me forward. And she didn't fail me. Why did I ever doubt her?

I wasn't immediately hooked with DARE YOU TO as stated by the reasons above. I even stopped reading after a few chapters and actually read this book in a span of time. I kept on rolling my eyes with Beth and I wasn't too keen in the change of setting from Louisville to county Groveton. But as I read on, I became so engrossed in it because of one reason - RYAN.

Ryan, oh Ryan. Oh baby. I've tried writing this review so many times, finding the perfect way to profess, declare and tell the world how much I love Ryan. I thought of writing an ode to him, a letter or whatever but in the end, I know it will never be enough. Ryan is the kind of fictional guy who will wreck all guys for you. There, I said it. I found myself not impressed with him at the start of the novel because JOCK. I'm not judging jocks but I find myself not too into stories centering around them. But little by little, he got endearing then I don't exactly know the exact point in the story but the realization just came crashing down on me - I lurve this guy. He's a jock and he's great at baseball, yes, but he's SO much more than that. He's an amazing writer (the excerpt of his short story was more than great), awesome friend, quite the gentleman but still such a guy with his thoughts and desires and most important of all - he loves Beth. The abrasive Beth. Beth did nothing in here but to shoo him away and do all sorts of numbers on him but what did he do? He just continued loving her, protecting her, helping her and GOOD LAWD, HELP ME CONTROL MYSELF IN HERE.

Then, he did all sort of sweet stuff that SHOULD HAVE BEEN CHEESY but it never appeared cheesy. It didn't feel sappy. I was putty in Ryan's hands and love. That rain scene? OH PLEASE TAKE ME NOW, RYAN. He's such a good guy. Sigh, anyway, I'll stop with the Ryan gushing because by now it should be pretty obvious he ranks way up there with my book boyfriends. Ryan is one of the proofs Sab and I are citing on the first rule of book boyfriends: All Ryan's are awesome, amazing and PERFECT.

As for Beth, her past was heavy. While I still am not her biggest fan, it takes a lot of talent in Katie McGarry to make us understand what she actually has been through and why she is the way she is. And ultimately, to root for her and wish her much deserved happiness. When the happy Beth came, I just wanna hug her (even if she would have hated that) because FINALLY, she has found family, love and joy.

The side characters were lovely and dare I say it, I think they are perfect for the story. They each brought something to the story and they each have their own roles. Scott, Beth's uncle, was cool and understanding. Ryan's jock friends aren't as shallow as you would first think. Ryan's family and the problems they also posed for Ryan were such great additions to the already fantastic Ryan arc. His growth as a character was so great to read and coupled that with Beth's, oh sigh, happy sigh.

Moreover, once again, Katie McGarry treats us with her wonderful writing. There's just something about it that I couldn't quite put my finger on but if you've read Pushing the Limits, you probably know what I'm talking about. The way things come around, the connected metaphors, everything. Katie's brand of writing is definitely one I will read again and again. And yes, Dare You To made me cry.

DARE YOU TO isn't perfect and I've read reviews where they thought the push-and-pull between Beth and Ryan got repetitive and tiresome at some point. While I do understand and agree with that, I guess nothing can really take this book down a notch in my heart because of Ryan. I know, what an objective way to rate a novel but whatever. Katie McGarry definitely made a homerun with Dare You To because of Ryan.

DARE YOU TO, wow. I can't even make a proper blurb because I still can't fathom how to properly review this even though I'm technically done with my review. I admit that whatever I said could not have justified how much I love Ryan and this book and Katie McGarry because let's face it, I'm no writer. But do know that I'm a big gusher and hopefully, my over-the-top gushing in here could have convinced you. So yes, I dare you to fall in love with Ryan and DARE YOU TO!

About Katie McGarry

KATIE MCGARRY 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, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

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