(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Published by Harlequin on May 1st 2014
Genres: General, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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....
Katie McGarry makes me question every minute detail of my past relationships. She creates wonderful love stories. But what, you might ask, is the best part? The characters are so real—I could picture them walking the streets, talking, living, and breathing. McGarry doesn’t sugarcoat things. What you read is what you get.
To say Beth Risk was a raw character is an understatement. She spoke her mind, wore whatever the heck she wanted to wear, and didn’t shy away from a challenge. That being said, this book does have some language and a few heated moments, so it fits in the upper YA category but doesn’t move into NA. The way Beth talked—her word choice and her opinion on, well, everything—helped develop her character. She was cynical and transient—a gypsy soul. Even though Beth and I were practically opposites, I found it easy to connect with her character. I’ve moved a few times, and I have one of those spirits that loves to move. After staying in a place for a certain amount of time, I start to get antsy, like Beth. Like her, I like options. She wanted to be able to move and go, without having to worry about anything but herself and her mom. I wouldn’t go as far to say I have a gypsy soul like Beth—even though I might; it’s highly plausible—I understand her need to always be moving. Being rooted terrified her; not having freedom terrified her—falling in love almost made her shut down completely. For all her faults, I loved Beth Risk. She’s honest and worthy of your time.
With any McGarry novel, there is a love interest. Her romances are magnificent. Dare You To was about opposites attracting. Ryan Stone lived a seemingly perfect life: perfect parents (that hated each other), loving brother (who was kicked out for telling his family his deepest secret), and an amazing pitching arm (but those fingers could also write incredible stories). He didn’t even know how complex of a character his was until Beth came into his life, wearing her black jeans with the questionable holes. I enjoyed watching him grow and mature into the man that would not turn into his father. His relationship with Beth acted as an undercurrent, wonderfully balanced and skillfully done, to the issues that encompassed his life. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be dreaming of country boys with baseball hats after meeting this blonde-haired, brown-eyed boy.
Their relationship didn’t come without its challenges. Beth trusted no one, and Ryan had to break through the barriers she had been building for years. Like I mentioned, she had a gypsy state of mind—always moving and rarely stopping to appreciate the good things in life. For a moment in time, she let herself appreciate Ryan. The girl that wanted to run had been running since she had come to Groveton. Ryan had to run fast to stop her, and part of their story is the chase. How do you catch someone that’s standing right in front of you but still miles away? Yes, Beth irritated me at times, but I think everyone will be able to see a little be of themselves in her.
If you want to write, you should strive to write stories like this. Not only is Katie McGarry one of my favorite YA contemporary romance writers, but she also inspires me to write better and to create characters that people could see walking the streets. Isaiah’s story is high on the top of my TBR list, especially after the changes that his and Beth’s friendship underwent. Plus, she changed my opinion of Taco Bell forever.