Monday, June 03, 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

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I received this book for free from Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarryDare You To by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 28th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Harlequin Teen
Buy on Amazon

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...

After Pushing the Limits became one of my favorite reads of last year, I went into this one with a lot of enthusiasm and high expectations. I’m sad that I didn’t en up loving it as much, but I still quite enjoyed it and am happy that I read it. I also can see why so many are enamored by it, if I had read it at another time I might have enjoyed it much more as well. As it stands I’ve been reading a string of similarly plotted books lately so my patience for certain elements of the book has been worn thin.

Unlike with Pushing the Limits, I had a difficult time with the characters and romance in this sequel. I liked the characters okay, and the chemistry is definitely not missing between them, but the back and forth, hot and cold romance they develop went on a little too long for me until I became utterly exhausted with it. Beth is dealing with a drunk mother who has an abusive boyfriend, making her somewhat of a bitter person who blocks everyone out. She has a hard time opening up to anybody, let alone letting anyone get close enough for her to fall in love. Consequently, she’s not an easy character to like, but she’s meant to be that way. We’re meant to sympathize with her situation, which I did, and like how she grows out of it through the story (like expected), but this did not happen until after she had me wanting to rip my hair out. The problem was more with how she dealt with Ryan than anything else. Athletic superstar, popular, rich, and with a bright future ahead of him, Ryan is Beth’s polar opposite. It’s, at the same time, the allure and the downfall of the romance. Beth being so cautious makes it extremely difficult for Ryan to get her to let him in. At first this was a great kind of frustration. The kind where you yearn for them to finally open up to each other and become rocks to lean on, however this fails to happen for what felt like an extremely long time, I began to lose my eagerness and gain some irritation. My patience for Beth to finally get a clue that the whole world wasn’t out to get her ran out and I simply wanted to slap her silly for trying to ruin every good thing she had. I get that she’s had a very very hard life, her crappy attitude was just making it worse for herself which made it hard for me to connect with her more than on the surface. Perhaps her keeping everyone at arm’s length worked TOO well 🙂 I also can’t fail to mention the constant referral to Ryan’s looks. She must have described his gorgeous godliness over a dozen times in the book. We get it, he’s sculpted perfection, let’s move on, shall we?

No matter my complaints, the characters are still carved into real human beings. The character development doesn’t miss its mark as Katie, again, creates realistic characters with hearts you can feel beating and breaking. Even though I was a little irritated, I still couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards both of them. Beth for her screwed up upbringing, and Ryan for the pressure he was brought up under. Another part of these books that I enjoy is how it’s not JUST about the romance. Beth has to acclimate to a whole new life where she feels anything but welcome, while Ryan is looking at his family crumbling after his brother announced he was gay to a father who thinks the most important thing is perfect outward appearance.

As with any companion novel it’s always fun to see old characters again. While I loved hearing from Echo and Noah in their brief cameos in this book, Isaiah stole my heart away. I love his character and my heart broke for him in more ways than one. His character has just as much soul and presence, getting his story line ready for the next book. The 3rd installment of this series will be his story, and I absolutely cannot wait for it as I have a very big feeling it will be my absolute favorite. I just hope he gets his happy ending or I may be found in a puddle of my own tears.

Dare You To may not have been as good to me as I had hoped, but I still found myself flipping the pages eagerly, waiting and hoping these two will finally give in to each other completely. The love and chemistry they share make all the hurt and frustration worth it.


3 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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

  1. Siiri

    Read your review on Goodreads already, but I’ll say it again that PtL is one of my favorite contemps as well and it definitely shows Katie’s talent. I am a fan of Beth and I guess it’s tough to surpass the bar that PtL set so it’s not much of a surprise that it’s kinda mediocre after the bang that was PtL. I’m still glad you enjoyed it and I understand the 3 expressos and the reason behind them. Love this review, btw!

  2. Amy

    I really need to try to get back to this one. I got 22% in and stopped. I just wasn’t feeling the story or the characters. Like you, I think I had just been reading too many similar type of books so I read a few different types and I think I will enjoy it more when I go back to it. I want to love it like PtL so I hope I will. Great review love!!

  3. Melanie

    It’s such a shame to see you disappointed so much- I agree- PTL was way better and heart warming. I still enjoyed this one greatly though, good to hear I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t 100% in with the romance.

    Stunning review, chick! <33

  4. Aman

    Oh, sorry you didn’t love this one as much as PTL, Giselle. I loved both of them, and it’s true that Beth was kinda hard to relate to, but for some reason i connected with her instantly. She and Ryan were so perfect together, it did took them a long time to realize that though. Hopefully you’ll enjoy Isaiah’s book more. Great review!

  5. Alexa Y.

    Oh, I absolutely LOVED this one! I thought it was another wonderful novel from McGarry, and I totally fell for Ryan. Her writing was wonderful, and the story was really good.

  6. Megan K.

    Yeah, quite a few people preferred Pushing the Limits over this one, but I’m not one of them. 😛 Ha, I absolutely fell in love with Ryan. Though I DO get that Beth’s constant thoughts about how he’s a sexy love god got a little annoying. Hopefully Crash Into You will be better for you, Giselle!

  7. Soma Rostam

    I have this feeling, too, Giselle
    I feel like the 3rd one will be my favorite
    If i get to choose between the 4 main characters now
    I would choose Beth over Echo
    But Noah over Ryan
    I don’t know why, but Beth appealed to me more than Echo
    I love this series a lot and I cannot wait to read more
    Your constant reader

  8. P.E. Mari

    Great review! This one kind of fell flat for me and I agree with what you said about Beth. She pulled back from every good things that was offered to her and that really got to me.
    Happy reading

    -Mari @ The Sirenic Codex

  9. JessicaRaexox

    I actually liked this one more than Pushing the Limits which seems kind of weird now after seeing how a lot of people don’t seem to like it as much as the other one..I really loved it… lol 🙂

  10. Ning

    I have the same problem with this book. Beth just got on my nerves with her attitude, especially near the end. I like how it ended though and I love Isaiah so I can’t wait to read his story

  11. Ariella Blake

    Pushing the Limits was one of my favorite contemporaries last year! I don’t read many but those that did make it on to my favorites were awesome! I’ve been hesitant to read this one as I don’t want to ruin my memories of the first book if this was bad. I read a lot of positive reviews and your review has definitely helped me make my decision. I think I’ll still read it! Lovely review 🙂

    -Ariella @ Secrets of Lost Words

  12. vivalabooks

    I wasn’t a big fan of Beth in Pushing the Limits which I absolutely loved, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to like Dare You To. After reading your review, I don’t think I’m going to be Beth’s biggest fan, but I think I’m going to like her story with Ryan. I love Echo + Noah, so I’m not sure if Isaiah’s story will be my favorite. But, I’m definitely looking forward to it. Great review!

  13. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I loved this one, I actually loved it more than PtL (even though I LOVED PtL). I agree that these scenarios can get tiring but the reason it didn’t bother me was because we already knew that Beth had a shitty life and that she was kind of a bitch from PtL. I didn’t think it was added for shocjk value like so many other book right now. I did like Beth better than Echo…
    Isaiah broke my damn heart, it hurt for him! I think his book will be my favorite 🙂

  14. Alexa

    I’m really enjoying this one more than Pushing the Limits. I love Beth and I wouldn’t have her any other way. Getting over things in life takes time and I love that she isn’t just running to Ryan to fix her problems in life.

    I also am in love with Isaiah!
    Great review!

  15. Lauren Elizabeth

    I also didn’t love this one as much as Pushing the Limits, mostly because of the prolonged back and forth. I agree it went on too long, and the ending was a bit abrupt for me, but overall I still felt it was a quite emotional read, and I was glued to the pages. Lovely review, thanks for your honesty!