After reading Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry I was pretty excited to read Dare You To. I read and reviewed Pushing the Limits back in October of 2012 and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was genius. In saying that, it would be impossible to not compare Dare You To to Pushing the Limits, and while I enjoyed one slightly better than the other, I have to say they are two very different stories.
The story begins with Ryan-the mega baseball stare-and his buddies sitting in a Taco Bell playing out the end of their game of dare. It is here the Ryan first meets Beth. His is challenged by his friends to get Beth's number. As can be expected things do not go well for Ryan and he ends up losing the dare. So when Beth shows up as his school a few days later Ryan sees this as a chance to finally win the game (he really hates losing). For Beth, the goth chick is likes to wear black and get stoned every other weekend, the move to Louisville was not a good one. Forced to leave a mother who needs her to survive and a best friend who has been her everything, Beth is angry and not in the mood for anyone's BS.
Dare You To is told in the traditional McGarry way- with the chapters alternating from two different point of views. In this case: Beth and Ryan. I really appreciated this aspect because Beth and Ryan are so different from one another and you often can't tell what Beth is thinking from what she says. Seeing things as she sees them makes her a more relateable character. Beth is wounded and that needs to be understood. She's not just walking around with a chip on her shoulder because she's
Some of my favourite scenes were the ones that involved Beth and her Uncle Scott. Scott was twelve years Beth's senior and was supposed to come and take her away when she was young. He waited nine years and theirs was a relationship that needed mending. But you could tell from the get go that the two cared deeply for one another and there was hope.
Ryan also went deeper than what is on the surface. He had his own demons to fight and his own battles that needed winning. He may have appeared to be the all American boy. But he was also wounded and insecure. But instead of rebelling against all that was making him unhappy, he was ignoring it and pretending. I liked Ryan. I think I liked Ryan more than I liked Beth. I liked how nice he was to her. I liked seeing how his feelings for her evolved into something bigger and more intense than he was expecting and how he was okay with that.
While I loved Dare You To there was one thing that I wasn't sure about. In my review of Pushing the Limits I mention that I loved that the romance didn't fix the issues that the two characters were faced with. Which was totally true. In Dare You To, it kind of felt to to like the romantic relationship between Beth and Ryan are what healed Beth. This is not all bad, as Beth had some serious trust issues and in order for her to get over those issues, she need to trust the relationships she had. It just would have been nice if there were other relationships (such as the one she had with Lacey- an old friend) would have also contributed to her healing. I never felt like Beth and Ryan were ever friends, they sort of went from not really liking one another, to really liking each other. It was maybe a little unbelievable.
Overall, I really enjoyed Dare You To and if you liked Pushing the Limits, you will also like this one. The characters are complex and warring. But it's well worth the read.
~Happy Reading everyone!