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B REVIEWS Contemporary Romance YA

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Publisher: Harlequin Teen UK
Where did you get the book: e-ARC
Release date: May 28th

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….

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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….

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

Dare you to is the second book in Katie McGary’s Pushing the Limits series. I enjoyed the first book in the series (see my review here), but I liked Dare You To even better!

Dare You To is about Beth who we met in Pushing the Limits. Beth likes to get high to escape from her life. She parties, smokes weed and she doesn’t like any outsiders to get close to her. The only people that are close to her are Noah, and her best friend, Isaiah. Beth and Isaiah love one another, but they use each other for comfort in the dark and lonely hours. They both know about Beth’s home life with her alcoholic mother and the abusive boyfriend. One evening, Beth finds her mother black and blue from a beating. In a drunken stupor, Beth’s mom takes a bat to her abusive partner’s car. When the boyfriend goes for her mom, Beth finally snaps and goes to attack him. Everything is halted when the police arrive, and they arrest Beth who takes the blame for the car incident.

Beth is separated from her mom, Noah and Isaiah when her absent Uncle finds her and takes guardianship over her. Beth is very very angry about this. Who is going to take care of her mother? She has no love for her Uncle who abandoned them all when she was a child. When Beth moves back to her childhood hometown with her Uncle, she hits out in anger towards her Uncle and anyone who approaches her, including Ryan, the boy who takes a chance on her and doesn’t give up.

I admit I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to like Beth’s narrating voice. She was bitchy and defensive in Pushing the Limits, and she was like that also in the beginning of Dare You To. After chapter two and three, I really warmed up to Beth. When her home life is revealed and you see how much pain Beth has gone through, it’s clear to see her behaviour and actions are an outlet for the pain she has suffered. And when her Uncle, whom she loved, suddenly reappears in her life, Beth’s rebellious nature and anger towards him awas understandable. She’s not a child but a young woman who never had the love or care she needed for so many years.

At first I wasn’t too sure about Ryan with the trope of good guy with the bad girl. But Beth isn’t a bad girl. And her and Ryan’s friendship and romance becomes something sweet and healthy for Beth–Something she’s never had before. At a quick glance, Ryan looked like a typical jerk jock but he never acted like one. Ryan is a good guy, and his friendship with his friends at the beginning show he wasn’t an asshole. He acted like a normal teenager, and when he made a harmless bet with his friends to try and date Beth, he came up against a girl who could eat him for breakfast. And instead of running away, he came back for more and more. I really liked Ryan and his group of friends. It showed strong bonds and positive and healthy friendships. Ryan and Beth butted heads against each other in school, and I loved that Ryan never gave up. Beth was so puzzled by Ryan because she found it hard to believe he would want to be friends with her and be romantically interested in her.

Ryan’s issues with his family ran deep, and the pain and loss he felt for his brother was tied up in his relationship with his parents. Ryan felt he couldn’t let down his parents for the chances they had given him in life. Ryan’s relationship with his Father was very strained, and Ryan is confused when his passion for writing clashes with his love for football–and his Father makes no bones about what Ryan should choose. But Beth helps him in one aspect, and Beth shows great understanding and maturity when it comes to his brother. I thought Beth was going to be a complex character, but deep down she was a very strong and capable young woman.

Beth began to build friendships’ but she never let her guard down. She missed Isaiah terribly, and her relationship with her Uncle and his wife was strained. One of the minor problems I had was with Beth and her Uncle was that I didn’t feel that there was a strong enough or emotional bond between them. Even though Beth behaved rudely towards his wife in the beginning, I thought that her comments towards Beth were cruel in light of Beth’s past. I wanted to see more bonding between Beth and her Uncle, rather than the odd scene here and there.

Beth’s relationship with Isaiah and Noah became very strained. Beth made some impulsive decisions that put her in danger, and her budding romance with Ryan made Isaiah very jealous. Beth loves Isaiah deeply, but only as a friend. Beth doesn’t string him along, and I loved that despite Beth’s painful issues, she does the right thing and shows maturity with Isaiah in knowing that in the long run, it’s best for both of them.

Ryan and Beth’s romance is very sweet, and it was heartbreaking seeing Beth doubt in herself and feel as if she’s not good enough for him. Beth isn’t sexually innocent and not once is there any slut shaming aimed towards Beth by Ryan. Their romance slowly came together throughout the book, and I liked that Ryan told Beth’s Uncle the truth in how much he liked her.

I could go on and on about this book but I won’t. The ending, whilst very high energy, concluded a lot of ends and it was a little neat wrap up. But Beth finally reached a decision that she knew had to be done, and it allowed her to open up to her Uncle and mend a break that was painful to both. I really enjoyed Beth and Ryan’s book, and I can’t wait for Isaiah’s story and for him to have his HEA.

I give Dare to You a B.

Goodreads

By Lou

One thing that Lou loves most is her HEA in romances.

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