Big Book,  YA

Dare You To

Katie McGarry
dare you toRyan 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…

Dare You To is the very anticipated sequel to Katie McGarry’s fantastic debut novel Pushing the Limits (read my review here). Before I start discussing Dare You To I should first explain the sheer impact it’s prequel had on me. Pushing The Limits was unquestionably one of my favorite reads of 2012 and set a very high bar for Dare You To. The emotions and themes touched by Katie McGarry in this prequel were heart wrenching to the point that I will confess that by the end I had shed a tear or two.
Suffice to say that I had high expectations for Dare You To given what Pushing The Limits had previously delivered.
In all truthfulness although I did enjoy Dare You To it did not touch me the way Echo and Noah’s story did.
Picking up with one of the trio of friends to whom we had previously been introduce to in Pushing The Limits, Dare You To is the story of Elisabeth, who prefers to be called Beth (and she is quite vocal about this preference), and Ryan. Like in Pushing The Limits alternate chapters are written from either Beth’s or Ryan’s point of view, a style of narration that I always very much enjoy as it allows an increased insight into each character’s mind, personality and into the different relationships they have.
Similarly to Echo and Noah, Beth and Ryan each have a complicated history. One wears it like shield along side the f*** off sign stamped on her forehead, whilst the other hides it behind a façade of perfection in the hope that if it remains hidden long enough it just might go away. Neither method is healthy and nobody would have thought that two people with such different backgrounds and ways of dealing with it could be each other’s cure.
Dare You To had a slow start which I initially struggled a little bit with, but after I got past the first few chapters and once the characters took on a more steady shape, Ryan and Beth’s story picked up the pace and from then onward I struggled to put the book down.
As in Pushing The Limits, Katie McGarry strived to tackle important social themes that more often than not interfere with our opinions, choices in life and life itself. Through Ryan and Beth Katie dealt with trust, acceptance and the forever complicated relationships between family, friends and more.
Despite liking Beth and Ryan I cannot say that I grew to love them and their story as I did Echo and Noah. I also found Katie McGarry’s writing style initially somewhat different from her previous book.
I will admit though that I was so blown away by the prequel that I do not doubt that, despite my best efforts to not let it affect my judgment of Dare You To, Pushing The Limits has in fact compromised my thoughts. It is also debatable that because the overall genre of the story and that some of the afore mentioned themes overlap with those in Pushing The Limits, that this also makes it more difficult to not compare the two.
Verdict:This said Dare You To was still a very pleasant and interesting read, and I will be looking forward to reading the final book in this series!
Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication June 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: None

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