Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) [Goodreads][Amazon]
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 28, 2013
In My Opinion: Must. Read. NOW!
One Line: With a headstrong female lead and a swoon-worthy guy to tame her, Dare You To has all the makings of an incredible story and so much more.
About the Book: “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….
Katie truly knocked my socks off with this companion novel to her debut hit, Pushing the Limits. It was pretty hard to find a book I loved more than Pushing the Limits last year and it’s safe to say Katie didn’t disappoint with Dare You To this year. As with her last book, Dare You To is really character-driven and being able to get inside these characters’ heads is what really makes her books so unbelievably incredible. Katie’s ability to make you truly empathize with her characters is impeccable.
Beth is a very troubled teen with a devastating past that was a lot deeper than I originally imagined. You kind of knew she had a crazy family after reading Pushing the Limits, but you didn’t know just how crazy until you read Dare You To. With a nonexistent father and a worthless mother whose abusive boyfriend make life a living hell for her, Beth had it pretty hard growing up. She couldn’t count on anyone and used drugs and meaningless hookups to fill the void. In swoops her caring and long-lost uncle who she thought left her for dead, and things slowly start to change for Beth. It was definitely hard to break through the walls of Beth’s character, which is understandable given how she had to grow up, but as I got to see the inner Beth, I really felt for her and her situation. I loved how she was so strong and tough on the outside, but that she was so damaged on the inside. Watching her learn to trust in Ryan and her uncle, learning to let go of the baggage in her life, and watching her fall in love – that made for an exceptional story that I devoured.
The best part of the book? Ryan. Oh, Ryan! What can I say except he is the sweetest guy ever. Yes, he has some flaws, but what I liked most about him was once he realized how he felt for Beth, that was it. There was no changing things and he was pretty determined to get Beth. I like it when a guy knows what he wants and fights for it. Being a star baseball player with incredible talent, his future was pretty much mapped out for him from the start. But, as he slowly realizes he can have so much more in his life, like possibly a career as a writer, he struggles with following the path he thought he wanted or building a new one. I loved Ryan’s character development in this. Although not as intense or deep as Beth’s, it was still great. I think Beth’s was violatile enough that Ryan’s was like a balance to hers in this book. His relationship with Beth is very rocky at first, but as feelings start to emerge, you see a truly sweet and caring side of Ryan and I loved him so much.
I hope this doesn’t come off as too spoilery, but I’ll never look at rain water the same way again. That is all I’ll say on that matter.
Dare You To is filled with angst, drama, romance, and emotion. Her characters will leave you feeling all the feels and have you so invested in them and their stories, it’s hard to imagine they’re fictional characters. Katie’s ability to create such memorable characters truly makes her stand out from the crowd and I seriously can’t wait to read Isaiah’s story.