Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry | Book Review

TITLE: Dare You To
AUTHOR: Katie McGarry
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Harlequin Teen / May 28, 2013
SERIES: Companion to Pushing the Limits
SOURCE: For Review from Publisher via Netgalley

Goodreads / Author's Website

Dare You To is one of the books that I was really looking forward to this year. I know I've said that Pushing the Limits wasn't everything I'd hoped it would be, but I still really enjoyed it and was generally totally engaged with the story. I enjoy McGarry's writing and knew a little more about what to expect going into this one if only from reading her first novel. I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed by Dare You To and without RIDICULOUSLY high expectations going in (that really no book could live up to) I enjoyed it even more than its predecessor.

Dare You To follows Beth Risk and Ryan Stone. Readers will remember Beth from Pushing The Limits, she's the girl with the absolutely awful home life who hides her pain behind alcohol, drugs and the enormous walls she's put up around herself. Ryan is the classic all American jock. Well Beth is still living her pretty horrible life when she gets arrested for something her mother did at which point her retired baseball player uncle takes her away to Groveton to hopefully give her a better life. Ryan is dealing with an unraveling family life after his brother came out as gay, but from the outside everything seems perfect. Obviously these two find themselves attracted to each other; it is a contemporary romance after all. But really, isn't it more about the how than the what with this kind of book?

The one thing that really stopped me from getting into this book from the very beginning was how horrible the two lead characters were. Because seriously, terrible. Beth continuously makes terrible life choices and pushes everybody away who's trying to help her. I could forgive that given her background; she's angry and lacks trust for some very good reasons. Also, she's just been dragged away and banned from seeing the only people she's known and trusted for year. Ryan on the other hand, just acted like a jerk for the first half of the book. He's not terrible. He has honourable intentions and has a pretty decent attitude towards women, so yay. However, it just really bothered me that he blamed his brother for leaving the family when his parents kicked the brother out due to his sexuality. However, there's character growth. Things get better. I promise. And sadly, that initial reaction, probably not unrealistic.

What I really loved was watching Beth gain trust and let her walls come down a little. She's tough and knows how to protect herself, but her development was touching. I wanted good things for her. Watching her work through her abusive past and learn to trust not only Ryan, but Scott as well was touching as was watching both relationships develop. Because even in romance it's nice to have something other than all romance all the time you know. Ryan too developed nicely. I enjoyed his arc and his growth although maybe not as much as I did Beth's.

If you're a fan of contemporary romances as I am you'll definitely like Dare You To (even if like me you're a little heartbroken things didn't work out for Isahia). I wish I had more to say about this because it's a story that I needed to read at the time I read it. It was a pick it up and don't put it back down kind of read and I'm now eagerly anticipating the next novel of this pseudo series, Crash Into You.

As a side note, I'm definitely going back to reread Pushing The Limits now because I need some more Noah and Echo in my life.

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