Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads):
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail. And who knows where they’d send seventeen-year-old Beth. So she protects her mum at all costs — until the day her uncle swoops in, and Beth finds herself starting over at a school where no one understands her. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her…but does.
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular jock with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including 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.
Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image is risking everything for the girl he loves. And the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all…
This is one of those books that I’ve been anticipating for a very long time. After having loved Pushing the Limits, I was anxious to see just what happened next to Beth Risk. And – like many others – I was wondering just how Katie McGarry was going to satisfy me with a pairing that wasn’t Beth and Isaiah. But I was both thrilled and surprised. Beth is damaged. A mysterious childhood trauma and a home life that is anything but perfect, Beth knows just how dark life can be. Ryan Stone is her polar opposite. The good boy with an immaculate home, supportive parents and the whole town on his side. Beth’s been involved with drugs and has a reputation that precedes her whereas Ryan couldn’t be more committed to baseball and wouldn’t do anything to damage the pristine reputation his parents strive for.
But both of them are so much more than what they seem. Ryan has the sensitive soul of a writer and Beth would do anything for those she loves. Katie McGarry exceeded my expectations and delivered a story that was beautiful and so much more than I ever could have expected – having read Dare You To it’s now clear to me that Beth and Isaiah would never have worked (and I’m envisaging fantastic things for the next book, Crash Into Me which features Isaiah in a main role!).
All of the characters – main and secondary – are three-dimensional with problems and issues of their own. They’re well-developed and draw you into their world. I loved how the point of view switched chapter by chapter between Beth and Ryan. I felt like I knew what was life for each character as well as being able to see their thoughts and feelings about the other and the other characters from each perspective. The supporting cast were brilliant in their own ways with Chris and Logan being stand-outs for me. I found Ryan to be a little insipid but in his own way he was perfect for Beth.
There’s a lot that happens in this book and I loved the journey I was taken on. The contrasts between the rural and inner city, the suburban folk and the down-trodden city slickers were fantastically crafted. The romance felt real and the issues that the characters face were handled beautifully by the author.
I recommend this for all fans of Pushing the Limits but can also be read as a stand alone for anyone who loves a story about love – even when things seem absolutely dire – overcoming all obstacles.
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