Early Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Author: Katie McGarry
Author Info: Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook
Pub Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ebook (netgalley)
Pages: 462
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository


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....


Pushing the Limits is what I consider my favorite young adult contemporary, it’s actually the book that made me interested in ready more YA contemp. Needless to say I was pretty excited and had high expectations for Dare You To. Once again Katie McGarry does a fantastic job with the dual perspective and writing interesting characters. Her writing has a way of flowing that makes you feel like you are watching things happen live instead of reading a book. I really consider Katie amazingly talented and I would read anything she writes.

I loved Ryan from the minute we meet him. He lives what some consider a perfect life but there is something down to Earth about him. I think it’s because of his friends Chris and Logan and the dares that they like to do. He is definitely a jock but he is the baseball team star pitcher rather than the school quarterback which gives him a definite different kind of credibility. Which sounds weird but it’s true, you don’t think of him as owning the school even though he is popular. It’s kind of interesting.

I hated Beth at first; it took me a while to connect with her character. I can’t remember if I liked her at all in Pushing the Limits but I was just so frustrated with her at the beginning with the way she acted. I had to keep reminding myself that I have no idea what I would be like if I was dealt the hand that she was. Even though she is a teenager I felt like she also had a scared little eight year old girl trapped inside of her. This is someone who had to learn to be tough and emotionally void at a young age. I finally connected with her character about a third into the book and found that I was able to root for her and hope things work out.

It was a good love story. I like how Ryan and Beth initially meet and the fact that at first they don’t exactly even like each other. With all of Beth’s pushing Ryan away, there are points when he actually almost seems like he is going to give up and walk away. It’s an interesting love tug of war that they play throughout the book. Often times playing one another to meet their own needs, even though they end up really caring about one another in the process. I also like how their relationship challenges both of them and brings out the best in their characters. If they did break up in the future they could walk away and say, I became a better person because of you.

Chris, Logan, Lacey and Scott are some great side characters. I like that Scott is trying to take Beth out of the ghetto and help her start a new life. Logan actually is a very interesting character even though we don’t know much about him. I feel like he would be a good character to get into later on. I remember really liking Isaiah in Pushing the Limits but I didn’t like him at all in this book. Maybe because I wanted Beth to get out of the life she had in Louisville. I like that Beth still refers to Echo as the psycho girl Noah is dating. It wouldn’t have made sense if they ever became friends. Lacey is just simply great, she is one tough girl and is kind of the conscience of the boys.

Wow what a crazy plot. There is so much going on! You have the extreme issues on Beth’s side and the issues that probably a lot of families deal with on Ryan’s side. I could definitely see things like that happening where I come from (even though it’s not a small town) because there are lots of parents that like to “keep up appearances”. There was a bit of mystery about what Beth’s mom is keeping in the spare bedroom, my mind went everywhere from she has Beth’s dad’s dead body in there to a meth lab. We have a villain with Trent, he was one scary guy. No super evil villain powers needed and it’s even scarier that there are real Trents out there in the world. There are moms like Beths who have the child taking care of the mom instead of the other way around. The book deals with the tough circumstances well.

Another great read from the Pushing the Limits series and I say if you are not a YA contemporary fan normally then definitely try out these books. If you are already a fan of the first book I don’t think you will be disappointed in this second installment.