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Review: Dare You To

July 3, 2013

Title: Dare You To
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Format: eGalley

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….—via Goodreads

A companion novel to last year’s Pushing the Limits, Dare You To follows Beth Risk, a goth girl with a rough home life. In many ways she mothers her mother, who is all kinds of a mess, and she keeps herself safe by hiding behidn her keep-the-fuck-away-from-me attitude and clothes. Beth has created a life for herself, with friends she considers family, that she’s happy with.

But all of that changes when her uncle—the guy who has perhaps disappointed her most—comes back to town, sees Beth’s life, and decides to take her away from all of that by moving her back to the town she lived in as a child.

Though Beth realizes that she has no chioce but to go, that doesn’t mean she makes it easy on her uncle. Or his snotty wife. (God, she’s The Worst.)

Upon moving, Beth is introduced to Ryan, a guy she’s met—and humiliated—before. He’s immediately smitten with her, though at first it’s more out of challenge than actual feelings, and she sees him as her get-away-free card. But as they get to know each other, they realize that maybe they make sense together, despite the fact that no one would ever think that. It’s a nice slow burn that the right amount of frustrating.

Even though I was rooting for Beth and Ryan throughout the book, I was mostly rooting for Beth. Like in Pushing the Limits, McGarry does an amazing job of relaying the world of neglected, abused-by-the-system teenagers in a way that is laced with compassion, understanding, and provides little judgment toward the minors who find themselves brought up in those situations. In getting Beth away from that world, she sets up a different kind of frustration—the kind where you want people to understand Beth instead of belittle her or criticize her or immediate cast her out because she’s tough and calloused from life at an early age. It’s in juxtposing the different type of communities and upbringings that McGarry’s writing shines, and she brings an amazing amount of depth to Beth.

Overall, Dare You To is a mature, emotional, intense story of family, friendship, and learning when to let go and move on.

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)

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