Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Review: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry
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. ~ Goodreads
~ Source: Copy provided by Harlequin Teen for my honest review
Review:Pushing the Limits is a hard act to follow and I wasn't sure it could be done. While I have to admit I didn't love it quite as much as PtL, Dare You To is a very good book and a worthy companion novel in the the Pushing the Limit series.
Although this book could stand alone from the series, I think it would be better to read Pushing the Limits to understand Beth’s background and her relationships with a few of the characters that appear in Dare You To.
We learn much more about Beth's home life and past. It is ugly. Her mom is just the worst and I loved that McGarry didn't sugar coat it or give an easy out. Real life isn't always pretty with easy solutions to life's problems. What she did do was introduce Beth's uncle Scott. A man from Beth's past who helped her as a child but abandoned her for his own dreams leaving her at risk with a drug addicted mom and her string of abusive boyfriends. He didn't realize how bad it had gotten but is willing to step in and take responsibility for Beth now. As you might imagine after living on her own she's not all that thrilled with the rules and restrictions placed on her by a guy who hasn't even been around for years.
I think anyone who has read Pushing the Limits and met Beth wants her with Isaiah. I would go so far as saying that's what everyone expected. They are both broken and have been each others strongest support system for a long time. McGarry took a huge risk by making Isaiah a big part of Beth's story in this book without making him her romantic lead. He doesn't just fade away and in fact you love him even more. That makes it very difficult to be on board with Ryan the jock who asks Beth out on a dare. Ryan isn't just a dumb jock though and has quite a few demons of his own to overcome. Problem is (for me anyway) is that whatever Ryan is going through pales in comparison to what Beth and Isaiah have to deal with. I liked Ryan but for the longest time I wasn't convinced that he was the right choice for Beth. I was clinging to Isaiah.
As the story progresses though I saw in Ryan what I saw in Noah with Echo in Pushing the Limits. A steady strength and determination that never wavers when it comes to Beth. She doesn't always make it easy for him and he has to step outside his comfort zone if he wants things to work out with her and he does. They come from very different backgrounds and as I mentioned Ryan's issues are not even close to what Beth has to deal with but there is the common thread of fear of abandonment between them.
There was a point when I was like AHA! Ryan is THE right guy for her and the bright future I had been dreaming for her and Isaiah seemed wrong and even dysfunctional. It also helps that Beth is quite clear about her feelings for the guys in her life. She wasn't wish washy. She was straightforward, honest and mindful of everyone's feelings.
Final thoughts: Kate McGarry writes steamy, gritty and angst filled YA like nobody's business. I think my stubborn loyalty to Isaiah and not being a fan of misunderstood jocks kept me from falling right into immediate love with Dare You To but I was won over. AND the next book is Isaiah's - Crash into You. Whew! that boy needs a HEA stat! There was an excerpt for his story at the end of Dare You To and after reading it, I think McGarry made the right choice with Beth and Isaiah even if it was hard for me to accept at first.
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Buy the book! Dare You To (Harlequin Teen) Release date - May 28, 2013