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Review: Dare You To

Dare You To

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DARE YOU TO by Katie McGarry was released in the U.S. on May 28, 2013 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in all formats at AMAZON and in hardcover and eBook formats at BARNES & NOBLE.

Published by Harlequin Teen, the print edition is 480 pages.

DARE YOU TO is the second book in the author’s Pushing the Limits series. The third full-length novel, CRASH INTO YOU, is slated for release on November 26, 2013.

Note: This review is based upon an eARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. I did, however, purchase a finished copy for my collection.

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Description…

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. “Dance with me, Beth.”

“No.” I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again….

“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….

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DARE YOU TO is the wonderfully alluring second book in author Katie McGarry’s highly addictive Pushing the Limits series that takes readers on the exciting and emotional roller coaster ride that is Beth Risk and Ryan Stone’s love story. It is a beautifully crafted story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, connecting two unlikely characters and daring them to fall in love.

When Beth is forced to leave her friends and her mother behind and move in with an uncle she hasn’t seen in years and hardly knows anymore, she wants nothing more than to find a way to get back home. She never planned on meeting a boy who makes her feel things with just a look.

Rich, popular, athletic, Ryan Stone is everything that Beth is not and nothing she ever imagined wanting. And yet she does. But she knows that falling for someone that’s out of her league could only end in heartbreak. Hers.

When Ryan accepted a dare to get Skater Girl’s phone number, he didn’t think he’d lose. He never lost. But when she drove off with her friends, not only didn’t he have her number, he didn’t even know her name. And as much as he didn’t want to, he had to accept defeat.

So when it turns out that the new girl at school is his mystery girl, his failure, he’s eager to turn his loss into a win. But when Beth Risk becomes something more than just a challenge, winning the dare would still be losing if the price is a broken heart. His.

Told in their alternating points of view, DARE YOU TO invites readers to get to know Beth, the outwardly cruel and judgmental girl introduced in PUSHING THE LIMITS, and Ryan, the seemingly perfect boy with a perfect life. It reveals that appearances can be deceiving and that two people who at first glance look to be complete opposites may have more in common than anyone would have realized.

Katie McGarry brings to this story all the elements that made the first book in her series a success – dual POVs, a character with a dark secret that slowly comes to light as the story progresses, a beautifully-written love story between two damaged characters who derive their strength from one another, characters who are opposites but who have an intense and electrifying chemistry between them. And she sets it apart through her characters’ personalities, their experiences and connection to one another.

Heartrending and emotionally-charged, this story of guilt, loss, responsibility, loyalty and love will ensnare readers at the outset and keep them riveted as they take the journey with Beth and Ryan from “can’t” to “can.”

Reviewer gives this book…

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On a personal note…

When I first picked up DARE YOU TO I had no idea that the Beth in this story was the one introduced in the author’s first book in this series. Once I realized it was Beth Risk I couldn’t wait to learn more about her. She was such an interesting character in that first book and I was excited to discover her story.

And it was an awesome one. To read, anyway. Beth didn’t exactly have the easiest life. And her love story with Ryan wasn’t complication-free either. It was angsty, bittersweet, heartbreaking. But it had its swoon-worthy moments too.

I’m just so happy that she got a love story of her own. I thought she and Ryan fit together so perfectly, even though they were practically complete opposites. And I liked that in this book, Ryan wasn’t as much a white knight as Noah was for Echo. He needed Beth as much as she needed him.

DARE YOU TO wasn’t as tough a book as PUSHING THE LIMITS. Beth was damaged but not as damaged as Echo. She wasn’t as fragile as Echo was either. Which allowed for some great chemistry between her and Ryan.

Once again I loved getting to see the story from both these characters’ viewpoints. I loved getting a broader look at the world. And mostly I loved knowing what each of them thought about each other and the situations that played out. Yes, I loved knowing more than the characters did.

I absolutely devoured this read, just like I did the first book. I couldn’t get enough of it. But because I read it in such close proximity to that book and the short novella set in between, I couldn’t help making comparisons due to the similarities in the framework of the stories, character archetypes and plot points. And I couldn’t help choosing a favorite, which was book one due to the fact that what happened with Echo packed more of emotional punch.

Had I left more space between reads, these similarities would have been less obvious and more of a comfort than a distraction. But I just couldn’t help myself.

I had to meet Beth and Ryan. I didn’t want to wait. And even though I picked a favorite doesn’t mean that I didn’t fall in love with this sequel. It doesn’t mean that I don’t plan on reading it again. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t think Ryan and Beth are amazing characters or that the author is an amazing writer.

Because they are. And she is. And I cannot wait to read Isaiah’s story and hopefully get a peek at what’s happening with Beth.

DARE YOU TO managed to bring out all the feels. There was definitely a bit of a roller coaster in this book. One that made me all twisty-turny on the inside. My heart broke for Beth because of her situation and everything she had gone through and I spent half the time wanting to scream at her for the choices she was making and the other half sympathizing, knowing exactly why she did.

My heart broke a little bit for Isaiah, too. And even though Ryan’s situation wasn’t nearly as bad as Beth’s, I couldn’t help but sympathize with him, as well.

As much as I would love to say my favorite part of the story was finding out what Beth’s big secret was – the one that was revealed at the end – it was Beth and Ryan’s love story that held me captive.

I wanted to know if what started out as a dare could become something more, if it would be something that came back to destroy both of them, or if it was just too big a hurdle to overcome.

And no, I am not going to answer that. Even if you dared me to.

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Favorite passage…

I know I picked a favorite passage that is just a little bit depressing, but I thought it was beautifully written and it struck such a strong chord.

Living is like being chained at the bottom of a shallow pond with my eyes open and no air. I can see distorted images of happiness and light, even hear muffled laughter, but everything is out of my reach as I lie in suffocating agony. If death is the opposite of living, then I hope death is like floating.

This review is based upon an eARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

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