Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To (Pushing The Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Release date: May 28th 2013
Pages: 462
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: BEA - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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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 rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

I liked Pushing the Limits, but I wasn't as in love with it as most of the YA blogosphere. I really liked the characters' individual stories in Pushing the Limits but had some issues with the romance. So I was both excited and nervous when I started Dare You To. And while I still had some of the same issues as I'd had with Pushing the Limits, I actually liked Dare You To better!

As in Pushing the Limits, the characters in Dare You To are so real you sometimes forget they're fictional. Ryan and Beth are not the easiest characters to like - they're messed up, stubborn, and in many ways it feels like they're just trying to piss of the reader. But even when they're annoying, they're real, and that's what matters. Especially the way we get to know the characters and their pasts impressed me - Katie McGarry is a master of showing instead of telling. So much so that you don't know exactly what is going on with Beth's family until the very end, and you find out in a way that feels completely natural, not just orchestrated to cause drama, which I really appreciated.

The romance had some of the same aspects that bugged me in Pushing the Limits. Again, there is a strong focus on all things physical and the characters' appearance - Beth goes on and on about how hot Ryan is and Ryan mentions again and again how he likes Beth because she looks so different from all the other girls he knows. After a while, it just got old - we get it. And again, I felt like the whole thing was just a little too melodramatic. I don't want to sound heartless, but big romantic gestures and declarations of love just aren't my thing. The ups and downs in Ryan's and Beth's relationship go on a little too long for my taste, mainly because of Beth's stubbornness. I get that Beth's refusal to open up is necessary for the story, but the way she keeps ruining things for herself still bugged me because it made the story drag a little. Other than that, though, the romance is great - Beth and Ryan have amazing chemistry.

Like in Pushing the Limits, though, the romance wasn't my favorite part; I enjoyed the individual stories relating family and personal growth a lot more. I don't want to say too much about this because, like I said, I really like the way we slowly discover the extent of the characters' issues, but both of their stories are fascinating.

I always love companion novels because you get to see previous books' characters again, and Dare You To is no exception - I loved seeing Echo and Noah again! I especially enjoyed reading about Isaiah - I can't wait to read his story next!

Despite the smaller issues I had with the romance, I liked this one even more than Pushing the Limits. I love how Katie McGarry combines such dark issues and messed-up characters with such sweet romance. I can't wait for the third book in this series!


  1. I agree with everything you said - I'm tired of the over the top drama and hot boys that permeate the genre yet for some reason I think McGarry writes it better than most so I go with the flow :-)

    I enjoyed PtL more and had a hard time coming around in support of Ryan but I did enjoy it a lot.

  2. Hm. I still can't decide whether Dare To You is really the book for me.

    I liked Pushing The Limits well enough, but the cloying pet-names between Echo and Noah, the saccharine romance and the melodramatic plot twists all detracted from my enjoyment of it. I was really intrigued by Beth's character which was the reason I was initially interested in reading Dare To You, but it sounds like I'll likely experience many of the same issues as I did with the first novel.

    That said, there is something compulsively readable about McGarry's work. I blew through Pushing The Limits in a couple of hours last summer and I'm sure I would be able to do the same with her followup novel. *Sigh* Sounds like I should wait to read a couple of more reviews before I make a decision one way or another.

  3. I agree with you, this book is amazing, Beth and Ryan are perfect together, they have troubles life but with the other they go ahead


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