Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)

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):

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...

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.

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  1. Great review! I absolutely loved this book too. I became an instant Katie McGarry fan from the first book I read. I loved Ryan too. She really knows how to write a male character because I loved Noah in Pushing the Limits. Katie definitely has an amazing writing style and really weaves romance with tough issues. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. I agree! Katie needs to keep writing these yummy male protagonists. And her ability to write difficult issues in YA literature is awe-inspiring. She is an auto-buy author for me! My pleasure, Chelsea, and thank you!

  2. Awesome review sweetie :D I'm glad you mostly loved this book. <3 Sigh. Ryan sounds awesome :D I'm hoping to read this book soon. <3 I'm sorry you didn't toally love Beth, though :\ Still. Thank you for sharing :D

    1. Aww, thank you!! Ryan is so... yum! I hope you enjoy this book! Perhaps you'll like Beth more than I did :)

  3. Ooh, I am so excited to read this one, and hearing about how awesome Ryan is definitely doesn't hurt! :D So glad to hear that!

  4. I liked this book too! Nice review!

  5. Dare You To sounds great...I have it on my TBR, but it sounds like I need to make it a priority. Another dreamy Ryan :)

  6. Wonderful review! I'm with you, Ryan definitely made this book! :) Why couldn't there have been a Ryan in my high school? I remember the baseball jocks; they were nothing like him. *sigh* Oh, the only trouble with falling in love with fictional ruins reality for you! LOL. Beth did annoy me, and I, too, wanted to slap her more than once (and drop kick her mother out of her life for good), but I was glad that McGarry did manage to make me like Beth more in this one than I ever thought was possible when first meeting her in PTL.


    1. RIGHT?! The baseball jocks at my school are jerks, really. Definitely agree about drop-kicking her mother! I end up liking Beth, more than I expected.

      Thank you!

  7. I wasn't rushing out to read this book because Beth was my least favorite character from Pushing Limits but I really liked this book thanks to Ryan! :)

    1. I agree with you on that point! And YES - Ryan saved this one :D

  8. I wish more teenage boys were like Ryan. If you get them on their own they can be alright, but get them in a group and they turn into little boys who giggle over bodily functions and tease each other. I haven't read the book yet and don''t understand why I haven't yet. I seriously <3 Katie McGarry.

    1. Right?! He's so dreamy. OH YES, when boys get together, they aren't very attractive, personality-wise. But I suppose the same can be said about girls. You should read Dare You To, Chanpreet! Katie does not disappoint :)


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