Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To 
by Katie McGarry
Read: May 8 - 10, 2013
Published: May 28, 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Source: Around The World Arc Tours
Category: Contemporary YA Romance, companion series
Series: Pushing the Limits book 2

NOTE: Dare You To is the second book in a companion series. Book 1 Pushing The Limits featured Echo and Noah, while this is Beth and Ryan's story. These books can be read separately or together. Although some characters overlap, the stories are unique. 

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.... (From Goodreads)
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If you've read Pushing the Limits, I'm sure you're a bit confused about what this book is all about. So before I start off my review for Dare You To, I'm going to go ahead answer your burning questions. 

1) Wait! Who is this Ryan guy? I thought Isaiah was supposed to end up with Beth. 

I know! I thought that too, and it took me some time to emotionally disengage from Isaiah as Beth's love interest. But in the end I think that you are going to love Ryan and Beth together. They are very different, but a better (and healthier) match. However, this book only served to increase my affection for Isaiah, and I'm am very excited for his book to come next. 

2) Does that mean that this is going to be a love triangle? 

Not really. First, only Beth and Ryan have voices in Dare You To, which is always a big tell that they are going to be the winning couple. Also, though it takes Beth some time to sort through her feelings, it is always clear that she is headed towards a relationship with Ryan. She cares about Isaiah, but her feelings for him are different, and I respect her for realizing that. 

3) Is that kissy rain scene featured on the cover going to be part of the book, because I want to read about that?!

Sort of. Although there is not a scene in Dare You To that features Ryan and Beth kissing in the rain against a brick wall, there IS a very important and swoony scene in the book that features these two and rain. I think you will be pleased. 

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On the surface Ryan and Beth do not appear to be any sort of match that would work. Ryan is wealthy, athletic and from a well respected family in his community. Although Ryan can be a little cocky and he likes to win, especially baseball games and dares with his group of friends, he could also be called nice and well-mannered. Beth's life is nothing like Ryan's. She lives with her aunt because her mother is a drunk with a violent boyfriend who likes to hit her (her as in both Beth and her mom). Beth also has a well deserved bad reputation and is closed off emotionally. She is angry and doesn't trust easily, especially jocks like Ryan.

But Ryan's perfect life on the surface is falling apart. His brother has been kicked out of his house for reasons you will discover, his parents are barely speaking to each other, and Ryan feels caught in the middle. However, Ryan can't telly anyone what's going on in his family, because in his home, outward appearances are everything. Although Ryan meets Beth because of a dare, he likes that she is a no frills, and unapologetic about who she is. When he begins to get a glimpse of the broken, honest girl below the tough exterior, he's drawn to her even more. She challenges him in ways that no one has done before. 

Beth can't believe that a guy like Ryan would be interested in her, but the more she gets to know him, the more she hopes that his feelings are real. He treats her with respect and stands up for her, but nothing in her life has ever gone the way she wants, and she's sure there must be some kind of trick. 

Although almost nothing about Beth's life is like my own, I found myself easily connecting to her. I was angry and sad and determined right along with her. One of the most heartbreaking parts of this story to read was Beth's relationship with her mother. Beth's feelings of guilt and responsibility about her junkie mom were hard to read, but I thought that Beth's emotions were realistic and believable, as was the way that their relationship was left at the end of the book. I also really enjoyed the growth of Beth's relationship with her uncle Scott, and how much she struggled to trust him. Like Beth, I wasn't sure about him at first, but I enjoyed watching her slowly see how much he cared for her. 

It took me a bit more time to warm up to Ryan, and to see the chemistry between him and Beth, but as the story progressed I did believe in them together. I could also sympathize with Ryan as he came to the terrible realization about the huge mess his family had become. And I was especially pleased when he began to take a stand for himself outside of his parents' expectations for his life. Although I was very worried about Ryan's role in The Dare plotline - asking a girl out because of a dare almost never ends well - I was  very thankful that the climax of the book wasn't when Beth discovered that she was the subject of a dare (because I've seen a lot of movies and books that go that standard route). 

I'm a big fan of companion series, especially when the second couple wins me over just as much as the first. I also enjoy getting a glimpse at the first pair, without dealing with the excessive drama that happens when they're the star of the book. Dare You To is exactly that kind of follow up to Pushing The Limits, and after reading the sneak peak at Isaiah and Rachel's book Crash Into You, I'm even more excited to for their story. 

Love Triangle Factor: Mild
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone, part of a companion series

18 comments:

  1. I'm glad you really enjoyed this one! I like her first book and have been excited to read this one but unfortunately I'm not sure when that's ever going to happen. I'm happy to hear that Ryan seems to work well for Beth because I was wondering about that whole thing with Isaiah. Wonderful review!

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    1. McGarry said that she started off planning for Beth and Isaiah to be together, but realized they wouldn't grow individually if that happened. I can definitely see that after this book. I hope you're able to get your hands on a copy of this one sometime. I really enjoyed it.

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  2. Yes, I agree that Ryan is a much healthier choice for Beth and I definitely agree that this wasn't a fully developed love triangle. I felt terrible for Isaiah, but he wasn't the one for her.
    On the other hand, I always struggle a bit with McGarry's characters because she tends to take them in very expected directions and that's not how human beings behave. BUT, this was a fun, enjoyable read and I'm excited about book 3.
    Great review!

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    1. I felt so sad for Isaiah too! But I agree, he and Beth would not have worked long term. They didn't challenge each other to be better, they just enabled their activities. You're right, this is somewhat predictable, but fun! And I think Isaiah's book could be the best of them all.

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  3. I agree completely! I was initially bummed by Ryan's appearance, but he won me over and I was impressed that McGarry took a slightly different route with this one rather than the typical climax. I'm excited for the next book - and last one, I think - now, so hopefully it'll be just as entertaining as these two installments!

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    1. Thank goodness, she didn't make the climax when Beth discovers the dare! I was so worried about that. Although that part of the plot made me distrust Ryan at first, I like that it didn't end up being a completely predictable storyline. Yes, these are FUN books. I think the last one comes out this year, and I'm most excited about it!

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  4. I actually loved Ryan right from the start! But I also think it was easier for me to warm up to his character because I didn't feel invested in the Beth/Isaiah pairing. I thought he was a much healthier choice for Beth as well, but she was also really good for him too. I respected her honesty, no-BS attitude and even that she knew her feelings for Isaiah were just friendship. I was worried there'd be a long drawn out love triangle and I'm glad the author didn't go down that route (and ditto on the dare reveal not being the climax - glad that didn't happen!). Ahh I can't wait to read her next book! Great review!

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    1. You're right, these two are good for each other, and I love that McGarry was able to show that to the reader. I know it took Beth sometime to realize that Isaiah really liked her, but I also respect her for being honest with him about her feelings. It would have been easier to string him along. Beth grows a lot in this one! I think the next one is going to be the best of the bunch! We got a preview at the end of this one, and I'm already liking Rachel and Isaiah. Hopefully, we'll also see Isaiah and Beth come to a better understanding of their friendship - or at least see Isaiah realize that she was right in how she saw him.

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  5. Ooh, great FAQs! While I don't think you need to have read PTL to enjoy DYT, I do think the second book makes more sense if you've read the first.

    As a reader, I did not completely connect to either Beth or Ryan and so I liked the first book better. (And I'm probably the only one who is relieved that Isaiah did not get paired up with Beth. I think they are better off as friends.)

    And yes -- SO glad that Beth finding out about the dare wasn't the main source of drama in the book. I've seen that plot line a lot before.

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    1. You're right, these books do make better sense when read together. But I love companions, because their each a completed story. Sorry you never connected to these two. It did take me some time, but I got there. Though I was right with Beth in her anger from the beginning. And in the end, I'm glad Isaiah isn't with Beth. They would have been a disaster together long term!

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  6. I never gave a thought a it being a love triangle, but I can see why some people would think that. I'm a Isaiah fan and felt so bad when Beth didn't reciprocate his feelings, but it makes sense when you read the story. I loved Beth! She was so broken yet strong. Ryan was perfect for her. I'm glad you enjoyed DYT, Lauren! It is by far my favorite out of the two.

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    1. I was never truly worried that this would be a love triangle, but I did get a little nervous about how long Beth would string along Isaiah, before she was honest with herself about how she felt about him (and realized that he really DID think he was in love with her). Beth and Ryan are such a great couple, I agree! Love when an author makes us believe in a a pair.

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  7. I was confused at first too, like wait a minute, who is Ryan? It's supposed to be Isaiah! But I think it worked better this way too, in the end. Hears hoping Isaiah's story is just as good! And I was definitely pleased with the rain scene. :) Great review!

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    1. I know! I thought the SAME thing. Who is this Ryan? But in the end, McGarry really knew what she was doing. And I think that Isaiah's story will be even better. It looked GREAT from the glimpse we got at the end of DYT. Oh the rain! Love Ryan's gesture to Beth. So sweet.

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  8. Love that you cleared up the confusion first! I need to hurry up and read this one. I really enjoyed Pushing the Limits, and the premise of Dare You To proves to be even more intriguing. Hoping for lots of tough girl/cocky guy banter. :P

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    1. Definitely some of that in this book, though Ryan is also a gentleman, and it's fun to see how much that behavior throws Beth off! I hope you like this one - and Beth and Ryan as much as Pushing the Limits.

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  9. First off, I LOVED the format of this review and how you cleared up questions. I actually haven't read the first book so I'm especially glad for the note in the beginning :) I'm glad there isn't really a love triangle either! I haven't been too excited to read Pushing the Limits, but now I know I have to because I'm definitely reading this one...and I can't go out of order. Great review, Lauren!

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

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  10. I'm reading this one next week so I will be back to comment then--but thank you for addressing the Ryan/ Beth/ Isiah thing because, yeah, I wondered too:)

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