ARC Review: “Dare You To” by Katie McGarry

Dare to uDare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

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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….

4 stars

Thanks to HarlequinTeen and NetGalley for this eARC! This title is now available.

In the beginning I accepted one thing. I knew that I could in no way love this book as much as I loved Pushing the Limits. But I had faith in Katie McGarry to come through and write something that would rip at my heartstrings. Thank God I had so much faith, or I might not have made it past the first part of the book.

This book is really all about Beth, with a few of Ryan’s problems thrown in. Beth Risk is trying to get her alcoholic, drug using mom away from her mom’s boyfriend who beats them both, but ends up getting arrested for her mom. Her Uncle Scott comes to bail her out, telling her that he now has custody of her. Beth used to love her uncle, until he–like everyone else in her life–abandoned her to play Major League Baseball. He also makes her move away from her friends, Isaiah and Noah (!!) and relocates her to a frightfully cookie cutter small country town. Here she meets Ryan, a baseball pitcher with a bright future, seemingly with the perfect life that Beth hates. Queue the attraction.

Like I said, this is Beth’s book. It was for her story that I read the book, crying for her and shouting with her all the way. I really didn’t like Beth in Pushing the Limits, and it took me a while to warm up to her abrasive personality in this one, but it was worth it. Like what Ryan sees when Beth lets her walls down, figuring out the softie inside Beth was heart wrenching and beautiful. I was so glad I stuck with her. (Except for her continuing dislike of Echo. BETH.)

My real problem with this book–and the reason the first 1/3 or so was really hard to read–was Ryan. Don’t get me wrong: towards the end of the book he turned into a really sweet, rounded character with a personality that made me fall in love with him. However, in the beginning, his cocky attitude was more than I could stand. He was a real brat and made no apologies about it, which made him really hard to like. I was also curious as to why–and this is going to sound really bad–Ryan’s life problems were relatively simple compared to Beth, Noah and Echo. This has nothing to do with the NATURE of Ryan’s life problems, just that they didn’t seem to have as many angles as Beth, Noah and Echo. Again, this is a statement specifically about a writing style, not the content. Mostly, though, it was his attitude. Once I warmed up to him, though, I was in love. Baseball player and a writer? MARRY ME.

The plot of this one was fairly predictable, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable–which is a testament to how awesome McGarry is. I enjoyed the journey more than the destination, which is not something I can always say about ya romances. I also loved how characters that we had met in Pushing the Limits, mostly Noah, Echo and Isaiah, were not just a side note in this story, but also a cause of tension and action. This is mostly in reference to Isaiah, but Noah and Echo were more present than I thought they’d be. (It still wasn’t a lot, but still.)

All in all, if you liked Pushing the Limits READ THIS ONE. If you are looking for a ya romance that is realistic and about more than boy meets girl, READ THIS ONE. Be prepared for the emotional onslaught that McGarry unleashes like no other I have read. It’s so worth it. It’s beautiful.

Now I want to go re-read Pushing the Limits. Check out my review of that one HERE!

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3 thoughts on “ARC Review: “Dare You To” by Katie McGarry

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