Title: Dare You To

Series: Pushing the Limits, Book 2

Author: Katie McGarry ♥ @katiemcgarry

Published: May 28, 2013

Publisher: Harlequin TEEN

Source: 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….

Average Rating on Goodreads (as of 12/01/2013): 4.23

Christina really enjoyed the first book in this series, Pushing the Limits, and you can find her review of it here.

  • Christina thought this title was exactly what she expected it to be- emotional, gripping, and triumphantly swoony. It goes on her top shelf.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Initial Thoughts and Rating: Actual rating of 4.5 stars! The plot kept me interested, the characters made me feel (a lot of feels, meep!), and the pacing kept me flipping my electronic pages by the low light of my kindle into the wee hours of the early morning. I may have always been an Isaiah girl, but I learned to quickly fall in love with Beth falling in love with Ryan. Katie McGarry knows how to write characters and a storyline that can pack a punch- one that hits you right in The Feels Zone!

The Lowdown: Beth is accustomed to a less-than-stellar lifestyle. Her mom loves her, but after an event that happened when Beth was just a child that ripped their family apart, she’s just no good and Beth takes it all in stride… or as much as a girl can in her situation. Beth’s mother boozes and smokes more than she cares for herself and her daughter, has a criminal record, and has terrible, rotten taste in boyfriends. Her latest one is a real piece of work, takes pride in laying his hands on a woman in which no man ever should. So, when push comes to shove and to save her mom’s ass, Beth ends up on the wrong side of a baseball bat and spends the night behind bars. It’s because of this that she’s reconnected with her long lost uncle, baseball legend and all-around decent guy. He takes Beth away from her nightmares, which would be nice, except for Beth didn’t want to go and he’s laying down the household laws.

It’s her new hometown that Beth meets Ryan, all-American good boy with the picture perfect family. But that’s only the picture you get from  the outside looking in. Behind closed doors, his family is falling apart and Ryan is helpless to change it. But baseball is his big ticket out.

Sparks fly when they get under each other’s skin like no other. And it all began with a dare.

My Thoughts: Not going to lie, in Pushing the Limits, I shipped Isaiah and Beth harder than I shipped Noah and Echo. There was something about their quiet, tender moments in the sideline that drew me in and made me want their story together so much. So, when I saw that this book was about Beth…and this…this other dude, I proceeded to throw an effing fit. It may have also been the reason that I resisted reading Dare You To until months after it’s publication (I can be stubborn about these things!), but now I could kick myself for thinking I knew McGarry’s characters better than she did. I mean, I still totally shipped Isaiah and Beth at the beginning of this novel and to watch them being ripped from each other nearly broke my heart, but I can see now that, for Beth, their relationship was one based on friendship and circumstance alone. Ryan helped Beth; healed her, actually. He taught her how to let go of the things that she can’t change and pieced together the shattered remains of her heart so that she could love, wholly and without restraint.

My favorite aspect of McGarry’s writing is how she takes scenarios that could become easily over-dramatic and makes them feel realistic, like it’s just a part of the character’s world. On the outside, it may seem like she’s just throwing everything but the kitchen sink at her characters, having them deal with one effed up situation after the next, but by the end, you’ll find yourself sympathizing with the characters because that’s just the hand they’ve been dealt. It seems real, like it’s their truth.

Personally, I think all that is truly successful because of the fact that this author can write the socks off of some characters. You may not love– some you will even really hate– them all, but each character (even the secondary ones) experience growth by the end of the novel. Their transformations are believable and I enjoyed watching how their views and opinions shifted throughout the story as they change with their surroundings and the new people that are brought into their lives.

Swoons: Oh, there are abso-freaking-lutely swoons to be read in this book. It’s in the way that Ryan is so attuned to what Beth is saying and wanting,  even if she can’t give voice to it. It’s in the details and the smallest of gestures that will have your heart melting in a hot little second. I had cartoon-heart-eyes for him by the end of this novel.

Swoony Teaser: 

“I want to kiss you,” he murmurs. “Do you want to kiss me?”
–quote taken from my eARC of Dare You To at 64%

 ♥ Rec It? Without a doubt, yes! Katie McGarry only further solidified with Dare You To that I will indeed be willing to do unspeakable things to get my hands on all her future words.

A very special thanks to Harlequin TEEN and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy of this title (though, I’m sorry I’m super late reviewing it) in exchange for an honest review.

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