Review: Dare You To (Pushing The Limits #2) – Katie McGarry

Release Date: May 28th 2013
Published By: Harlequin Teen Australia
Pages: 462
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 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: Dare You To is the companion book to Pushing The Limits. Noah and Echo from Pushing The Limits are still in this book, but they take a backwards step as secondary characters and instead, this book focuses on Beth who we met in the first book. Beth is emotionally closed off and angry but we learn the reasons why in Dare You To and we meet her love interest Ryan, who is the all American baseball jock.

Similarly to Pushing The Limits, our characters have major issues in their lives – and upfront I am going to say the themes presented in this book probably aren’t appropriate for young teens. The book is aimed probably at those around 17 and above – with heavy drug themes, domestic violence,  and sexual scenes within.

I loved the character development of both Ryan and Beth (but particularly Beth) in this story. She is a damaged and broken girl when we meet her, scarred by a troubling past she’s had with a mother who is drug addicted with an abusive boyfriend in addition, which has meant that Beth has had to grow up quickly to deal with very adult problems. The roles have been reversed with her mother and she is very much the adult in the relationship, constantly on the lookout for her mothers welfare. Beth also has extreme trust issues after being hurt by a guy when she was a little younger, and so by the time Ryan meets Beth, she is closed off, jaded and cynical of anyone that comes into her life.

The endearing thing about Ryan that won me over from the start was his persistence. He was able to see something in Beth that no one else could see and wasn’t about to let her go. Everything about Beth and Ryan as a couple screams incompatible and as a jock, he himself has been stereotyped as someone that shouldn’t be into someone like Beth, but Ryan doesn’t care all that much for what others think – and we see this confidence in him grow more and more as we get through the story. Ryan’s ultimate battle is with his parents, and his fight to be able to live his own life instead of being controlled by his parents constantly.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted contemporary romance, this one is probably too heavy for you – whilst the romance factor is most definitely there, there is a stronger focus on the actual issues I mentioned at the top of the review. Beth’s mother. Her uncle and his wife. Isaiah and his love for her. Ryan’s homosexual brother and him being banished from the family. Ryan dealing with his father’s expectations. There’s a LOT of sub plots within the overall story itself. I felt these themes contributed to the overall story in a positive way though, because we see Ryan and Beth dealing with so many different issues, that we feel as though they’ve been on a true journey by the end of the novel.

I really like this series. This can be read separately to Pushing the Limits, if you’ve not read this yet – however having read both books, I feel you’ll get more out of Dare You To if you have read the first book. There will be a third companion to this series coming out in November this year called Crash Into You which will follow Isaiah (who is a side character in both Pushing The Limits and Dare You To) and a new character Rachel. I’ll definitely be reading this one when it comes out.

Quotes:

“You’re a lot like that bird in the barn. You’re so scared that you’re going to be caged in forever you can’t see the way out. You smack yourself against the wall again and again and again. The door is open, Beth. Stop running in circles and walk out.”

“That must be love: when everything else in the world could implode and you wouldn’t care as long as you had that one person standing beside you.”

“I like you. I. Like. You. I’ll admit you’re annoying. Sometimes you agitate me to the brink of insanity, but you can throw it back at me like no one else. When you laugh, I want to laugh. When you smile, I want to smile. Hell, I want to be the one to make you smile.”

Book Trailer:

 

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