Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarryDaring You To by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing The Limits #2
Published by HarlequinAUS on 28th May 2013
Format: eBook
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 462
Source: NetGalley
GoodreadsGood BooksAmazon
three-half-stars
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....

Pushing the Limits, excuse my profanity, is a bastard to follow up on.  It was such an emotional, powerful book, so neat and well-constructed, that I was wary to pick up the next one.  I needn’t have been entirely terrified, Dare You To is still a pretty good book with enjoyable things to reccomend it.  I simply didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.  I didn’t even cry once.  It made me question, for a moment, if McGarry had lost her touch to regularly make me bawl like a little baby who got pricked by their first vaccination.

A big, angry, devastated baby

To me, it’s construction and execution didn’t seem as tight and effortlessly fluid as Pushing the Limits.  In Pushing The Limits, it really felt like the the characters and their relationships with each other, with the world, with their flawed perceptions were all part of an intricate dance in a wonderful universe where everything made sense.  WHY DOESN’T EVERYTHING MAKE SENSE, MCGARRY?!  WHY?!  MAKE IT BETTER FOR ME!

In Dare You To, Beth, Noah’s goth friend from Pushing the Limits, is separated from her drug-addicted mother and forced to live with her rich uncle.  This means:

New school

New town

New friends

No drugs, drinking or random hook ups.

This would be a lot of difficult life changes on their own but then comes Ryan.  Perfect awesome school dude who has his own set of problems.

Only Ryan’s life isn’t perfect.  His brother’s been kicked out of home and his parents hate each other.  The unlikely couple is forced together and form a relationship that is sweet and respectful and nothing that Beth has ever had before.

So first issue: Dude, what happened with Isaiah? And no disrespect because this author is badass and everything.  I just happened to kind of be shipping toward Isaiah/Beth because things just seemed to be driving at break neck speed in that direction.  The direction in which my heart sings, double rainbows break out and I get to go live in Equestria with all my pony friends (Rainbow Dash, we would be the best of friends).

But, you know, I liked Ryan in the end.  He was cool.  Real cool.  Romantic too.  There were some nice gestures there, bro.

In fact, he was so nice, the only real relationship I ended up contesting was Beth and her uncle’s. Ultimately, I could imagine Beth deciding she didn’t love Isaiah.  That’s cool.  Ultimately I could reconcile Beth’s 180 change in characterization, despite my issues with its story line.  But the one thing I struggled with was the relationship between Beth and Scott, because this was a really pivotal relationship for Beth’s character development, and I was totally not feeling it.  A good portion of the initial respect and tolerance between them is developed off page.

And then it just kind of takes a jagged, cutesy path that I didn’t feel was a natural progression.  Of course, it doesn’t help that Beth had to change a lot in ways that I felt were unnecessary.  Like you can’t be a good character if you dress like a goth, smoke some weed and like to drink occasionally.  I guess I just felt it was hard to watch Beth change to other people’s expectations when a lot of those were a result of needs that didn’t seem to be met.

“I need to be there for my mother!  I’ll give everything to help her- no wait.  I’m cool. Totes seen the error of my ways.  Let’s party, aye, Ryan?”

However, no matter how you feel, it’s still a well written, nice contemporary romance that made me all squishy inside.  Up to individual tastes, but most people will mostly like it, so go ahead!

I’m not entirely sure if this review made sense because alcohol, drugs, and dressing in black seem to be a bad combination according to this book.  But I guess, what I wanted, was more acceptance of Beth’s actual issues, as opposed to the outward issues.  And that never seemed to be addressed fully.  Her pain, her issues, were kind of swept aside with platitudes.

And, frankly, I was just in the mood for hardcore truths and badass emotional situations.  Having a nice, lovely novel was good, but it just wasn’t the awesomeness I expected from McGarry.  Because I love her.  And I kind of wanted Unicorns and double rainbows, and Rainbow Dash to read me my favourite book.

Wait… I can still get that, right?

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery

Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books.
Find her on GoodReads.

Kat Kennedy

@Bookish_Belle No diversity there at all. But there’s a cat. http://t.co/WaB0LhhmJf – 2 hours ago

Kat Kennedy



6 Responses to “Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry”

  1. I agree with a lot of what you said.  I liked this book, but I didn’t OMG OFF THE CHARTS LOVE IT like Pushing the Limits.  I just didn’t feel it as much.  Dare You To didn’t make me giddy or excited or teary or any of that.  I just kind of read along without any huge feelings of emotion.

  2. “So first issue: Dude, what happened with Isaiah? And no disrespect
    because this author is badass and everything.  I just happened to kind
    of be shipping toward Isaiah/Beth because things just seemed to be
    driving at break neck speed in that direction.  The direction in which
    my heart sings, double rainbows break out and I get to go live in
    Equestria with all my pony friends (Rainbow Dash, we would be the best
    of friends).”
     EXACTLY WHAT I SAID. I looked at the synopsis and I thought, WHAT A TOOL. She actually left behind Isiash. This Ryan person can suck it. But, I’m hoping the book will change my mind.
     “I’m not entirely sure if this review made sense because alcohol, drugs,
    and dressing in black seem to be a bad combination according to this
    book.  But I guess, what I wanted, was more acceptance of Beth’s actual
    issues, as opposed to the outward issues.  And that never seemed to be
    addressed fully.  Her pain, her issues, were kind of swept aside with
    platitudes.”
    But ultimately THAT was my biggest fear about the book. You see that evolution of characterization in Pushing the Limits, the resolution to all that emotional shit clogging their pores from the inside, and that’s what made the book so damn good (and the smoochy scenes OBVS). And if Dare You To doesn’t have it, it’s not going to live up.  Even though i expected it a little with this one, I’m still strangely disappointed :(

  3. You had me thinking! I cried when reading the Pushing The Limits but not even a tear was shed for Dare You To! Nevertheless, it’s still an enjoyable book! :)

  4. AH

    Great and entertaining review, Kat. I loved Pushing the Limits and I also loved this book. I thought it was pretty daring of the author (no pun intended) to take such a bitchy character and make her the focus of the 2nd book. I was disappointed that Isaiah was not her love interest, but my disappointment faded when I saw that Isaiah will be the main character of the next book. I liked the fact that Ryan appeared to be Mr. Perfect, when in fact his family was imploding.

  5. [...] reviews: Cuddlebuggery | Birth of a New Witch | Realm of [...]

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