Review: "Dare You To" by Katie McGarry {with thanks to Harlequin Teen}



"Passionate and powerful, a complex love story about how when two world's collide...you just can't ignore it, no matter how much it dares you..."
 
 
Oh, wow...I loved this book right down until the last page. Have you ever looked at one of those books you think is going to be amazing, but just totally EXCEEDS your expectations by miles? This was it for me. Katie McGarry is, like, the best author at deep and dark, complex romances; you will love her books, right after you turn the first pages...
 
 
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....
 
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Let me start by saying a huge thank you to Elise at Harlequin Teen UK for sending me a copy to review. At the point of getting the book, I had only just heard about Katie McGarry's writing from a few blogger friends who had read "Pushing The Limits" and loved it, so I was hugely anticipating what was ahead of me...
Beth was...wow. What a beautifully, though broken, character. She was quite the lady with words *all the good bad words, haha ;)* and never laid her sword down, always amped up ready to fight her corner--but that was it; she always had something to fight for. Whether it was her Mom, her friends, her whole life...she had every right to be the way she was, with most people around her (with the exception of her amazing friends at the start, *and where can I get caring, amazing friends like that?!*) were always letting her down.
Ryan had a thousand decisions and past memories that were buried, though close to the surface that they would emerge when he least knew. Whether it was trying to reconnect with his brother, or fighting with his father...it was an up-hill battle all the way. The only highlight in his life was being at the centre of it all in the batting cages in the beginning, or his cool, sarcastic and daring friends. I guess you could say the book was centred around one big dare. The first dare between Ryan and Beth.
The one that brought them together. But not at first.
“That must be love: when everything else in the world could implode and you wouldn't care as long as you had that one person standing beside you.”          
At the start of the book, I kind of disliked Ryan. He seemed a little cocky and all about himself. Little did I know that he was giving the performance of his life; acting as a better image of himself. The more I read about the heartache and turns that bent his life in two, it made more sense that a person under that much strain would try and pretend it's not there.
Beth, on the other hand, set out to make people hate her. I know a lot of bloggers said that they disliked her in Pushing The Limits, but because I haven't read the first instalment, this was my first encounter with Beth. She definitely grew on me, and it took about a quarter of the book to really understand her. There was a side of her, that with Isaiah, really came out of her shell. When they had scenes together, I really wished this story was about them and their journey, but after delving more into Beth and Ryan's toxic-ly, sweet chemistry that simmered away into something beautiful, I realised this story was all them.  
I got swept up in this whirlwind, different-kind of romance. It was bittersweet and rocky, but the destination of the ending was perfectly suited to them. Not everything was plain sailing, but with the Author who writes page-turners, and characters destined for big things, this addictively fiery novel set ablaze a frenzy that turned the pages until it was surely one of my favourite books of the year.
 
A huge five stars for Katie's *phenomenal* novel...
 
Many thanks to all at Harlequin Teen for the amazing copy of "Dare You To"!
 
happy reading,
xo Becca
 
KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.