Dare you to CoverDARE YOU TO (Pushing the Limits #2)

Author: Katie McGarry
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 
Genre: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 28. 2013
Recommended Reading: AGE 17+ (Some sexual situations)

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Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Contains no spoilers

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OVERALL THOUGHTSWait a minute; I’m not getting the Beth and Isaiah love story? How can this be? If you read Pushing the Limits you got a glimpse at Beth and Isaiah through Noah and Echo’s story. They are best friends who should eventually realize they are in love with each other. Or so I thought.

Dare You To is a pretty good read. It started off slow but it definitely picks up. You will get drawn in, and you will be surprised by the love that comes out of left field (read the book and my baseball reference will make you smile). I dare you not to fall in love with Beth and Ryan, the real love story in this book.

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SYNOPSIS:  “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….

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THE LOWDOWN: Dare You To has its issues. It wasn’t my favorite book; I took longer than I normally would to read it. Overall, it was cute, a bit unpredictable, and not too cheesy. It was fairly well written with good character development and great dialogue between sassy Beth and basically anyone she talked to.

I say this book was a bit unpredictable mainly because I didn’t read the synopsis prior to getting a copy of it. I figured we were going to be introduced to the love story of Beth and Isaiah who were supporting characters in Pushing the Limits. I was way off. Isaiah is Beth’s best friend. She needs him – needs him in a “you’re my rock, but I feel weird when we touch” kind of way. Beth Risk is a very messed up girl with low self-esteem. She’s had a rough life that never seems to let anything go her way. When she is torn away from the only “family” she knows, she becomes an even bigger disaster who doesn’t trust, doesn’t love, and doesn’t dare to feel. She hates the uncle she is forced to live with. She hates his wife. She hates Ryan and the guy she thinks he is. But once we get further into the story, she mostly hates that she actually doesn’t hate Ryan at all. If only she could trust him. Does she dare let herself feel?

This story goes back and forth between Beth and Ryan’s point of view. I love when authors do this. The quick changes between characters put me in the heads of each person, giving me a real understanding of what they were feeling at every important moment. I liked knowing what Ryan was feeling when he watched Beth feel for the first time. It was refreshing to see Ryan finally realizing who he wants to be in life through Beth’s eyes. These two characters are complete opposites brought together by chance and learning what love is for the first time.

I think Katie McGarry did a great job of describing Ryan, perfect on the outside but a torn young man on the inside. Perfection comes at a price and he pays for it daily. We learn a lot about who he is as a person and we fall for him right alongside Beth. It doesn’t hurt that we know he is a gorgeous star baseball player who loves a good challenge. Bring it on Beth Risk!

My biggest con? It took far too long for this story to get going. 480 pages is not a horribly long book. But when the first 200 pages slowly pass while I’m patiently waiting for the juicy climax, I get irritated. I want a book that pulls me in from the start. I think this story could have done that; it just needed to lose some of the unnecessary drawn out beginning nonsense.

Speaking of that juicy climax in a more literal sense, if you’re look for sexy steamy scenes in this book – don’t bother, you won’t find them. There are moments of lust and a few PG-13 innuendos, but you never get more than a reference to what they might be doing. No erotic sexy descriptions here folks.

Overall, I liked this book. I like Katie McGarry’s writing style for the most part, and I really liked her character development and dialogue. What would have made it better? Less filler, a little less self-sabotaging by the main characters, and a bit more sexy steamy details.

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