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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Thoughts: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

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....

Review copy received from Netgalley 

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 pissed ticked off at her uncle. She's feeling abandoned, rejected, unloved you name it. Ryan showing up and expressing his affection to her is not something she is used to. I hurt for Beth. I felt her confusion and her insecurity and I understood why she was so apprehensive about letting people into her life. I also understood the loyalty she felt towards her mother, however misplaced it was. Beth was a complex character and I loved what McGarry did with her.

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!


  1. I too enjoyed Scott and Beth's relationship along with rest of the story really of course

  2. So glad you enjoyed this one too Sara! I adored it:) I wasn't the biggest fan of Beth going in, but I knew Katie would make me see why she was the way she was and she'd win me over, which absolutely was the case. I loved her relationship with Scott too, they both had to make such tough decisions. Lovely review!

  3. I'm definitely intrigued by this one, although it's not super high on my TBR list. Glad you liked it!

  4. I'm so on the fence with this series because I'm really not sure they are my kind of read, but all the positive reviews have me curious. And it's a good thing to read outside my comfort zone sometimes right? I should really give at least Pushing the Limits a try. It's too bad Dare You To wasn't quite as good as Pushing the Limits for you, but I think I would have the same problem with the romance as you did.


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