Daring the Bad Boy by Monica Murphy
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Series: Endless Summer
Published by Entangled Teen Crush on August 22nd 2016
Truth or Dare was never this much fun…
Annie McFarland is sick of being a shy nobody. A session at summer camp seems like the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself—gain some confidence, kiss a boy, be whoever she wants to be. A few days in, she’s already set her sights on über-hottie Kyle. Too bad her fear of water keeps her away from the lake, where Kyle is always hanging out.
Jacob Fazio is at Camp Pine Ridge after one too many screw-ups. Junior counseling seems like punishment enough, but the rigid no-fraternizing-with-campers rules harsh his chill. When a night of Truth or Dare gets him roped into teaching Annie how to swim, she begs him to also teach her how to snag Kyle.
Late-night swim sessions turn into late-night kissing sessions…but there’s more on the line than just their hearts. If they get caught, Jake’s headed straight to juvie, but Annie’s more than ready to dare him to reveal the truth.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains references to drinking, sexual situations, adult language, and an intense bad boy hero who will melt your heart.
Ah, summer camp. Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of summer camp. By the time I turned fourteen, I told my mom I was done and read as many books as I could get my hands on that week that I was supposed to be at camp. Nineteen-year-old me does not regret this decision, but I do love a summer camp story, especially considering that I never went to an outdoors-all-the-time, The Parent Trap-esque camp like this. I most definitely did not discover I had a secret twin living in Europe, either.
Annie McFarland didn’t want to spend another summer with air-conditioning—she wanted to branch out and do something that she had never done before. Summer camp landed on the top of that list, and while she had trouble finding her footing at the beginning and let herself get sucked in by the popular crowd a bit, she did become a new Annie. I liked watching her grow and stand up for herself, speak her mind, and dare even the most dangerous of boys to spend time with her, even teach her to swim. While summer camp played an integral role, as it was the setting, Annie’s blooming relationship with Jacob Fazio really impacted the story.
I would hate to say that Jacob, more commonly called Jake, was the reason for Annie’s change—because he wasn’t. That belonged solely to Annie. In fact, Annie picked a difficult target when she decided to dare Jake, and that struck the beginning of an unlikely friendship. Or should I say forbidden friendship? I liked Jacob, though it did take me a few chapters to like him. When the story first switched to his narration, I grimaced because I disliked him so much. Summer camp changed Annie, but a whole month without Annie as a tangible person (since this was a two session camp) impacted him, too. Neither one of the MCs change was brought upon by another person. Yes, they helped each other become new people, but they decided on their own that they wanted to be those new people. Jake supported Annie and was along for the ride; transversely, Annie supported Jake and watched him turn into a new boy, not the only defined by his bad boy tendencies.
The ending—eh. I had a few issues with that. Annie made some stupid decisions, mainly one really stupid decision, that didn’t quite fit the new Annie that I had in my head. Though, as we all know, “old habits die hard.” Either way, the epilogue was sweet and ended in a way that gave me hope for the future.
Daring the Bad Boy has summer camp kisses, late night swim lessons, and jumping into the unknown.
“Don’t forget to pack extras of everything,” Mom stressed, her voice high, her entire demeanor anxious. She really didn’t want me to leave, though she was the one who’d suggested I go to camp in the first place. And I guess I can’t blame her, since I am her only child, but it’s just for a few weeks—I had to be wait-listed, and when a spot opened up for the second session, I begged my parents to let me go.
But with the way she’s fretting over my leaving, I realize she needs to cut the umbilical cord sometime. At least I’ll be outside getting fresh air, not stuck in the air-conditioned house with my nose in a book. That’s how I usually spend my summers.
Well, no more.
Not that there’s anything wrong with reading, but…it was my escape, my safe place. I’m tired of living in someone else’s imaginary world—I want to live in my world for once. But it’s hard making a new impression on people you’ve known your entire school life, some of them since preschool.
To them I’m quiet little Annie McFarland. The girl who cried so hard on the first day of kindergarten that she blew a bubble of snot out her nose. The girl who was so petrified to perform in the third-grade Christmas play that her knees literally knocked together and everyone could hear them. The girl who had a major crush on Wade Johnson in sixth grade and wrote him a heartfelt Valentine’s Day poem—and he shared it with all his friends.
I endured their teasing for the rest of the school year. Sixth grade was definitely not my favorite year.
Yeah. I could go on and on.
I’d just finished my sophomore year, and while everyone was busy pairing off, being social, actually doing something with their lives, I was stuck. Stuck in my quiet shell, stuck with the nerd-girl label, stuck as the teacher’s pet. I hated it.
More than anything, I was beyond ready for a change.
“Extra T-shirts, extra shorts.” Mom ticked off the items with her fingers, her gaze meeting mine. “Extra, um, feminine products.”
My cheeks went hot. “I’ve already packed extra everything.” I waved a hand at my open but mostly stuffed duffel bag.
“Okay, good. Good. Wouldn’t want you to run out of necessities. Though I fully plan on sending you care packages. And there’s parents’ weekend, too, so I can always bring you whatever you might need.” Mom was rambling. A sure sign she was upset.
“Mom.” I went to her and took her hand, giving it a squeeze. “I don’t leave for another twenty-four hours. It’s not time to cry yet.”
“I’ll just miss you.” She brushed a stray hair away from my forehead, her gaze soft. “You’ve never left us like this before, for this long. A whole month, hundreds of miles away. With strangers.” She stressed the last word.
That was my favorite part of the plan. Being with strangers, people who don’t know the real me. I could totally reinvent myself. Be whoever I wanted to be. I could demand they call me Ann, tell them I’m the most popular girl at my school, and win the attention of all the hot boys within hours of my arrival.
Though I doubted any of that would really happen. Just because I’m with people who don’t know me doesn’t mean my real self won’t make an immediate appearance. It’s hard for me to open up to new people. Plus, I really don’t like it when someone calls me Ann—I think Annie’s a much cuter name. And I’ve never gotten the attention of a hot boy in my entire life. Well, I have—hello, Wade Johnson—but that was unwanted attention. That I’m great at.
I’d like to change that particularly annoying trait of mine.
Okay, I’m not drop-dead gorgeous with a bubbly, flirtatious personality, not by a long shot. I’m not a hideous troll, either, but come on. Hot guys have never noticed me—unless they’re six and I’m blowing snot bubbles out my nose. Or I write really bad poetry that makes adolescent boys howl with laughter. And that’s not the way I want boys to notice me.
“I’ll be fine,” I reassured Mom, offering her a smile in return, which somehow only seemed to upset her more. Her chin got all wobbly, and she yanked me into her arms, holding me close. I let her smother me with Mom love for a few minutes before I disentangled myself from her embrace. “Seriously, it’s going to be okay. I’ll write you and Dad as much as I can.”
“Which shouldn’t be very much at all. I want you to meet new people and try new things. You need to stay busy and have fun. Don’t worry about us.” She wagged her finger at me before her hand dropped to her side. “I know you feel a little stifled here, so this will be good for you.”
Mom understood. She always had. We moved here when I was two, back to Dad’s hometown; he felt right at home because he was home. Mom, on the other hand, was still considered an outsider, and they’d always treated her that way. So she knew what it was like, to feel like you didn’t fit in. She understood my problems at school, when Dad always blew them off. Not that he was mean about it. He just didn’t get it.
“It’s going to be great,” I told Mom with a genuine smile. My heart did a funny little flip in the center of my chest and I breathed deeply, telling myself everything really would be great.
Going to camp was going to change my life.