Feb 7, 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

"I dare you..." 

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....

Katie McGarry has the uncanny ability to blow me away. Pushing the Limits was my #1 book for 2012 (see the full list here), and it was killing me that we'd have to wait so freakin' long for Dare You To. Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to receive a copy a little earlier, satisfying my craving. 

This novel is all about the characters, their relationships, and their individual desires, demons, hopes, dreams. 

Beth Risk has a rough life taking care of her alcoholic mom, avoiding her mother's abusive boyfriend, and constantly getting high to avoid the pain her life has brought her. When a crappy set of circumstances causes Beth's uncle, Scott, to gain custody of her, Beth has to give up her old life in exchange for a "fresh start," as Scott puts it, but she's relentless in the belief that she doesn't belong in the perfect little town of Groveton. 

To make matters worse, Ryan, the "cliche" jock with money, popularity, and a shot at the MLB, has his sights set on her. It's all part of a game, but Beth isn't naive, so she makes damn sure that nothing is easy for him.
This girl is sexy, but she's also a handful. If I hadn't accepted the dare, I'd toss her into avoid-like-the-plague territory.
Beth is one of the more complicated characters I've ever read. She's tough, determined, and seemingly unafraid of anything, but really she's overcompensating, doing everything she can to hide what's really going on inside. Truthfully, Beth is vulnerable, untrusting, broken-hearted, and man-o-man does she need a lift in her self esteem. She's been roughed up, both emotionally and physically, so I can't say I blame her for constantly being on the run from anything or anyone that dares to get to close.
The problem with feeling too much is how the hurt consumes every part of me.
Ryan, on the other hand, comes from the other side of the world in Beth's eyes, but he's got his own demons to deal with. On the outside, everything is picturesque ~ perfect family, perfect girlfriend, perfect baseball career, and a perfect promise of the future. Inside, his family is falling apart, his ex-girlfriend is a total witch, and while he loves baseball, he's uncovered a love for writing that he had ignored for the most part. His father is controlling, his mother is annoyingly silent, and he feels as if his brother has abandoned him. All in all, I'd say the mouthy, yet honestly blunt Beth is just what the doctor ordered.

This book kind of reminds me of The Taming of the Shrew. Ryan pursues Beth on a dare, only getting close to her to win, but once he's there, he realizes he's discovered something unique and beautiful underneath all the tongue lashings and black hair. Beth may not allow people to get close to her, but when she does, she's fiercely loyal and gives all she has. Ryan becomes determined to win her heart, not because of a dare but because he needs her in his life.
Screw perfection. This girl is mine.
Their relationship is rocky as hell. They both make mistakes, say the wrong things, and they can butt heads to the point that you hear teeth rattling. But they also make each other see the truth of what they are and who they can be. Screw reputations and, like Ryan said, perfection. Screw the rumors and the images that have been created for them. Ryan realizes that none of it matters; all that matters is how he feels about Beth, and how he believes she feels about him. All that's left to do is convince her that it's true.

Such a beautiful, emotional, and frustrating novel. Not frustrating in a bad way... Just... Beth is always running away from everything and everyone... I'm glad Ryan is there to finally make her see that running doesn't change anything. And I'm glad that Beth is there to make Ryan see that he can make his own choices for his life, despite the path that's been laid out for him.

Katie McGarry is a rockstar. Her stories never fail to make you feel an entire rainbow of emotions. I laughed, cried, hoped, prayed, and hurt with these characters. These are the kind of stories that stay with you ~ the ones that you can relate to, the characters you can understand and feel for. McGarry has mastered the art of sucking in her readers, and I can't wait for more of the incredible way she weaves her stories.

5/5 Stars!!

Favorite Quotes 
"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."
No, I'm not kittens and bunnies, but I'm not that bad.
It must be a male thing to talk about playing with balls. 
This overwhelming, encompassing feeling is love. It's not perfect and it's messy as hell. 
I see the judgement in their eyes. The amusement. The pity. Damn hypocrites. 

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~


  1. Great review. I also loved Pushing the Limits and am about to start this one. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

    I'm starting it tomorrow and I hope I love Dare You To as much as you did too.

  2. I'm reading Pushing The Limits now, and so far it's very good.


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