Dare You To by Katie McGarry
Book Two of the Pushing the Limits series
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
"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...
What I Liked:
I really liked this book! I had a feeling that I would, but it is so rewarding when a much anticipated sequel or companion novel completely owns up to its predecessor. I admit, I was scared to read Dare You To, but I am so glad that I read it when I did!
This book is long (more than 460 pages!), but for me, the story went by fairly quickly. Beth and Ryan sizzle and spark, but the story is so much more than a steamy romance. I love how McGarry weaves a complex, emotional plot with a great romance and realistic characters.
Ryan is easily my favorite character, and overall part, of the book. I LOVED Ryan's point-of-view chapters, and reading his reactions to Beth, to his father, to his brother, to baseball, and so on. I have never been a huge baseball fan (neither like it nor dislike it), but Ryan may have single-handedly converted me to a baseball lover. Okay, not lover. But definitely not a hater.
I seriously wish all boys were as nice and sweet and sensitive and thoughtful and YUMMY as Ryan. I love his easygoing nature, and his desire to be friendly with everyone. It does not appear fake or condescending in any way. Ryan is such a good guy, which is very different from Noah, the male protagonist of Pushing the Limits. I imagine Ryan is also extremely different from Isaiah, the male protagonist of the upcoming companion, Crash Into You.
The plot of this story would be nothing without Beth's crazies. The story opens with Beth getting herself into some sticky legal problems. I am so glad how things worked out, so that Beth and Ryan could meet, although under strange circumstances.
Technically, there is a love triangle. HOWEVER, it isn't a love triangle, because we already know that the secondary love interest is getting his own book. Hint hint. Also, I love Ryan.
What I Did Not Like:
Hmm. I really did not like Beth at times. Like, what's the deal with her mother in the beginning of the story? Who does that? People who let other people walk all over them. Beth acts tough, but really is not. She lets her mother use her over and over, so that her mother can avoid legal troubles left and right. No. Just no.
But at other times, I liked Beth. Ryan liked Beth, so transitively, I like Beth. I can empathize, and understand her thinking sometimes. Other times, I want to punch her and slap the illegal substances out of her system.
But her shenanigans were not enough to make me dislike the story. It is just how she is. I suppose the characterization for Beth is well written by the author!
Would I Recommend It:
YES! Yes yes yes! This book is definitely going up for one of my favorite contemporary novels of the year!
4 stars. In some ways, I feel like I love this book more than Pushing the Limits (RYAN!). But then, I feel like I loved Pushing the Limits more (oh, Beth...). But this is a truly extraordinary book! I have a feeling many readers will be extremely satisfied with this companion novel.