Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2), by Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "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...."

My Opinion: If I was worried when I began reading the second installment of Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series that it wouldn't be able to measure up to the first book, which I absolutely adored and couldn't rave about enough, then my mind was set at ease very quickly because yes, I loved this book as well!! Dare You To tells the story of Beth Risk, who was introduced to us in Pushing the Limits as one of Noah's friends, and if Noah's story tore at your heart, then get ready to be emotionally pummeled again by Beth's. Beth had a really horrific home life with an absentee father and a mother who might as well have been gone for all the good she did Beth. Instead of her mother taking care of her, it was Beth who made sure the bills were paid and there was food on the table, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't keep her mom off the booze and pills and away from Trent, her abusive boyfriend. One night she makes the decision to cover for her mother yet again and is sent to jail for her troubles. Her uncle Scott, her father's younger brother, bails her out and tells her that either she goes to live with him and his wife, or he will make sure her mother goes to jail for good this time. This may sound harsh, but Scott's really a good guy who regrets not being there for Beth growing up and who only wants Beth to have a life of her own as a teenager should without constantly worrying about her mother. Unfortunately, Beth can't just walk away, which causes lots of trouble in her home life. 

Beth has spent so much of her life putting up walls to protect herself emotionally that when she meets a good guy who wants to get to know her (albeit on a dare!) she won't let herself get involved with him. But Ryan is nothing if not determined, and as he repeatedly puts it, he doesn't give up until he's won whatever challenge is in front of him, and Beth proves to be his biggest challenge yet!

As with Katie's first book, I am totally in awe of her writing ability! She seamlessly weaves stories full of dark and light, push and pull, and tragedy and triumph. She completely draws you into her character's lives until you feel like you are living right alongside them!

As with Pushing the Limits, Dare You To is told in two POVs: Beth's and Ryan's. The characters have very distinctive voices so it is easy to switch between them, and this way of writing gives you much more insight into the characters than you would have gotten otherwise.

One of my favorite parts of the book tells you so much about Beth in just a few paragraphs:

Ryan's name is read and he answers with a deep, soothing, "Here."  Taking a chance, I peek in his direction and find him staring at me again. No smile. No anger. No cockiness. Just a thoughtful expression mixed with confusion. He scratches the back of his head and I'm drawn to his biceps. My traitorous stomach flutters. God, the boy may be an ass, but he sure is built.

And guys like him don't go for girls like me. They only use me.

I force my eyes to the front of class, pull my knees to my chest, and wrap my arms around them. Lacy invades my space and whispers to me, "I'm glad you're back, Beth." A sliver of hope sneaks past my walls and I slam every opening shut. Emotion is evil. People who make me feel are worse. 

I take comfort in the stone inside of me. If I don't feel, I don't hurt.

Damn!! I get chills just typing it! What an awesome writer Katie is! You can feel Beth's pain plain as day, in just a few paragraphs, which is why it's so sweet to watch Ryan move slowly to gain Beth's trust and not scare her away. It's not easy for him, but it's awesome for us readers! I'm really psyched to read about Isaiah's story in the third book of this series, Crash Into You, and I am giving Dare You To 5 very enthusiastic stars :D

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