Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To
Author: Katie McGarry
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Source: Netgalley
Publication Date: 7th June 2013

Tell Me About It
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....

My Thoughts
The minute I finished reading Pushing the Limits I knew I had to read any book that Katie published and I was super excited to find out Dare You To was being published.
Dare You To is told in alternate points of view, Ryan's and Beth's.  We first meet Ryan at Taco Bell and he is dared to get Beth's number.  He accepts and this is where we see Beth's attitude come out.  Although I had read this chapter in the end of Pushing the Limits I still laughed at the response Ryan gets off Beth.

Pushing the Limits lets us get glimpses into Beth's life, and now with Dare You To we get a closer look at her life, and it's as bad as what I imagined it to be.  Beth has a troubled home and holds herself responsible for looking after her drunk, drug addicted Mother.  But after a drunken attack on a car by her mother, police are called and Beth takes the blame and ends up being sent to live with her Uncle.
Ryan is a baseball player, but also has talent for writing but he is pressured by his Dad to be perfect ball player and want Ryan to think of nothing else.

We are introduced to a variety of new characters in Pushing the Limits, and also revisit some old ones. Lacy is Chris's girlfriend and I love how she is laid back and good for Chris, Ryan and the rest of the gang.  One of the moments that I wanted to hug her was during a car ride with Ryan when she tells him about her past with Beth and how close they used to be.  She is determined to make him see the real Beth before she moved away, and also warns him not to hurt her.
“Here's the thing- I love you and I love her, but I swear to God I'll kick your ass if you hurt her.”
We get to see Echo, Noah and Isaiah again, and although Isaiah is Beth's friend he isn't good for her, he is willing to take her away, just him, Beth and her Mum, but does not stop her from going to Mums, letting her get far too close to the people who she should be avoiding.  He enables her bad side and as the story progresses he just proves how much he is bad for Beth, he knew what was going on with her Mum and not once did he tell her, he let her believe that everything was sort of ok and that it would get better if they left together.

Ryan is a breath of fresh air for Beth, and although she still has attitude we can slowly begin to see the real Beth underneath the fa├žade she puts on for everyone.  Ryan is there for Beth before they had a friendship and what started out as a dare slowly becomes less of a dare and more of a want and need, wanting and needing to spend time together.  Beth still makes stupid mistakes and uses Ryan to get back home, but he is still there for her throughout it all and is one of the few people who have Beth's back for the right reasons.  The small gifts he gets Beth have meaning to them all, and while most girls wouldn't want ribbons, they mean something to Beth.
"I hold the bottle out into the rain and watch as the steady flow slowly fills it.  When there is enough, enough that Beth can clearly see, I close the bottle and hand it to her.
She raises a sceptical eyebrow, but accepts the bottle.
"It's our rain Beth."
Her head barely shakes to show her confusion while I rub the back of my neck and search for my courage. "I told you I loved you in this rain and when you doubt my words, I want you to look at this bottle."

I really enjoyed seeing what started out as hate at first sight turn into a tentative friendship.  I liked getting to see Beth slowly come out of her shell and begin to let others in, but also learn more about herself and finally figure out what is right for her and not for others.  While Beth has her own issues to deal with Ryan's life isn't picture perfect, with a brother who is no longer welcome by their parents, problems between parents, and presume off Dad to play baseball and focus on nothing else.  He is just as good as Beth at hiding what he is really feeling and I love how he not only helps Beth, but also helps himself in the process and finds out what he wants for his future.

Beth and Ryan are not your usual couple who fall instantly in love, and I like that about them.  They have their own real life issues to contend with, then dealing with pressure of parents to not be together.  The journey this duo take is an emotional roller-coaster ride and I am glad I took it with them.  Now I just have to wait a few months to read Isaiah's story.

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