Book Review March 7th
Dare You To
by: Katie McGarry
★★★★★ 5 StarsBlurb: 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...
Caution: There are definitely spoilers below!!!
So I admit I was super excited to finally read Beth's story. She's such a strong, take no prisoners-character it's so easy to recognize her need for happiness. Though I read Pushing the Limits (Book 1) in January, Beth was honestly the only thing/character that stood out to me. And while I couldn't really remember Noah and Echo's journey Beth stood out like a sore thumb.
Like many fans of Pushing the Limits, I was saddened and a bit angry that this was not Isaiah and Beth's story. However, having read Dare You To and seeing life through Beth's eyes, it became clear she needed someone different and Ryan surely fits the bill.
There is so much Amazing-ness in Dare You To, I was sucked in on the first page. Ryan is the sweetest guy and the only jock for Beth. When they meet there is no insta-love connection at all and it was super refreshing. Ryan is out with his friends and is dared to ask Beth for her number. Beth is no innocent Miss and dishes out more to Ryan than he ever expects and when they meet again, let's just say the sparks don't immediately fly.
Dare You To was everything it should be and more. Beth is already older than her years and it's nice to see her become the normal teen she deserves to be, away from the influence that was her life. (Partying, Drugs, Sex etc.) I was with Beth while she struggled with her family issues and she handled them so bravely even when the world seemed to constantly be against her.
What I Liked
Beth is Awesome.
Ryan - He was any and everything Beth needs and deserves. Not that she needs to be managed but it's like in some miraculous way, he becomes the only one who can take control from her when necessary. He may be a jock but he doesn't let that go to his head or diminish his character. He too is dealing with some heavy family shit and Thank the Heavens Beth helped him see the light about his future and his brother.
Mark-Honestly I wish we saw more of him. He was such an amazing character and did not let his families stupid choices stop him from being himself and living his life as he saw fit. And Amen to him for playing football and not letting his sexuality hold him back just because his father's an @$$.
I loved watching Beth and Ryan go through so much denial. Neither wanted to admit their feelings and it was a pleasurable/hilarious journey to witness.
Beth's dedication to her mother was admirable. She didn't want to give up or give in until the end. It's so sad to have to see her struggle with her adult mom and her addiction while trying to be a young girl at the same time. She often put too much on her own shoulders but she never broke. And in the end was brave enough to let her mother go when there was nothing else she could do.
Also Beth's emotions were off the charts. I swear you can feel them. She has problems feeling wanted and it's understandable from her side of things but it does get hard watching her push people away. But the writing is done so magnificently that Beth becomes your BFF and you can understand how she is and why she is.
The most shocking thing (at least for me) in this story was Ryan's innocence. How rare to find a guy, a jock, one who's dated slutty girls to still be a VIRGIN. I literally couldn't wait for Beth to de-flower him :) Ryan was not stuck up or embarrassed by this and it was very enlightening. Almost as if he coveted that first time as much as most girls.
The writing, the tension, the drama. There was nothing about this book, that was really bad. So instead here are some things I sorta didn't like but worked so well with this story they barely matter.
What I ( Sorta )Didn't Like
Anything about Ryan's father. He needs to grow up and realize what decade this is. And he should never NEVER have sent his own son away just because he can't accept who he is and alienate him from his entire life.
I had a hard time struggling with Ryan's acceptance of everything his father wanted. He often second-guessed himself and knew it was wrong but went with the easier way. (Luckily he learns better in the end).
Beth's mom, enough said!!
Crazy ex's always meddling in peoples business.
The whole Dare aspect. I was worried it was going to come back in a more catastrophic way. Luckily Ryan wasn't a jackass but these situations always have scary and negative connotations attached so I'm glad Ryan was able to work it all out.
I love Isaiah don't get me wrong, but when he sort of turns on Beth without explaining to her why he did it. He lost bonus points and it was then I knew they weren't meant to be. Thought Ryan doesn't smother her, he always doesn't make her decisions for her, something Isaiah should have known she would never accept.
I was more saddened by the fact that their was no epilogue. But maybe everyone's stories will come together in Book #3 when Isaiah finally find his happiness.
Ok, enough. Dare To You is flippin’ awesome. Amazing. Life-altering. A MUST READ. No matter who you are, or where you are from, add Dare You To to your To-Read list ASAP.