Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on 5/28/2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
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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....
I am wowed by Dare You To by Katie McGarry. Simply wowed. Pushing the Limits is a hard book to follow up on and without a doubt, Dare You To was even better. I can’t even contain all my feels, but I’ll do my best not to fangirl all over this post.
Let’s start off with Beth. She’s jaded. If you’ve read Pushing the Limits, then you already know she’s cynical and war-torn in the sense that no one has ever really looked out for her, so it’s her against the world. Isaiah is obviously in love with her and would do anything for her, but he’s her best friend, and sometimes, that’s just how it’s meant to be. Beth doesn’t trust people, and as such, is quick to jump to conclusions about them and their intentions. Sometimes this is a good thing, but often, it’s not. Beth is also uncomfortable when she is put in new situations. She doesn’t enjoy change and craves consistency, even if that consistency is a bad situation like her mom’s boyfriend Trent. At least she knows what she’s getting, right?
Ryan is outwardly cocksure and inwardly insecure with himself and his life, right down to what he’s supposed to do after high school. His family is perceived as perfect, but no family is really that perfect, and besides, nobody gets to see what really happens in their home. He’s also mad: mad at his brother for ruining their perfect life, mad at his father for being unrelenting, and mad at his mother for being a coward. He’s also mad at himself for not speaking up like he wants to, even if he doesn’t know it.
Beth’s and Ryan’s worlds collide when she is yanked from her home in Louisville to live with her uncle Scott in Groveton thirty minutes away, after an unfortunate episode involving her mother and Trent. The two really couldn’t be more different, so the whole “opposites attract” ideal really appealed to me in this story. In reality though, they aren’t much different from one another. Both have secrets they don’t want people to know about, both rely on false bravado, both have f-ed up families.
I loved them together. Even more so than Echo and Noah in Pushing the Limits. There is something about two people, who appear different and come from two very different backgrounds, coming together with explosions that just tickles my fancy! They also make each other better people and those are the best kinds of relationships.
One thing I found interesting was the role-reversal between Beth and her mom. It was almost like Beth was the parent and Sky was the child, and Beth desperately wanted to be the child here. I think she resented her mom for taking that role from her and forcing her into the position her mom should have been in from the beginning. And Katie McGarry painted it so well. The torturous dynamic between the two was so believable, I feel like I need therapy just having read it!
Likewise, Ryan has problems with his family, although it’s more traditionally structured, and honestly, it could have been any family I grew up with. Traditional Southern, “country” values. Dare You To explores a lot of boundaries within his family, like homosexuality, defying your parents, and dating someone from the “wrong side of the tracks.” I grew up in a fringe town similar to this one in southern Virginia, and Groveton could have been taken from my home, truthfully, because most people I knew were like Ryan and his parents. Field parties, drinking, church committees and baseball. Parents that have dreams for you and are pretty pushy. I could sympathize with Ryan on everything (except the pushy parents, mine were awesome).
I also liked the “dare” theme, like that was the only way they could learn to trust one another, and hell, get to know each other. By daring one another to do things, feel things and – be together. And their friends made it fun (and funny!) in the beginning!
If I don’t stop waxing poetic about Dare You To, I never will. Everything about it is amazing and emotional and omgallthefeels! It’s snarky, and easily relatable for someone of any age. Go read it, god dammit!
I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated for this review in any way. If you decide to purchase this book through any of the affiliate links on this site, please note that we do receive a small commission. The book cover and synopsis are courtesy of Goodreads.