Rummanah Aasi
   Dare You To is a highly anticipated companion novel to Katie McGarry's popular debut novel Pushing the Limits. Readers who like edgy romances with realistic issues should definitely pick up the book. This review is based on the advanced reader's copy of the book provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Description: 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.

Review: Dare You To follows the same format as Pushing the Limits: A dual narrative from both of the love interest and a wide variety of important and hard hitting topics ranging from sex to violence. For the most part the book works but it does veer into the drawn out and melodrama arena. While I did like the characters, I found myself more interested in Beth than in her straight laced love interest Ryan.
  Beth is a very prickly character, one that does not make a great first impression on you when you first meet her. After witnessing her home situation of being abandoned by her junkie mother, abused at the hand of her mother's abusive boyfriend, and seeking solace from drugs and friends, we see how Beth builds her walls and her thick skin. My heart broke for Beth many times while reading Dare You To and while I understand the need to help her mother, the failed attempts to help her mother became redundant and dragged the plot for me.
  Unlike Beth, Ryan is a boring love interest. Sure he is hot, a jock with a great body but he really didn't hold my interest. What really bothered me was the fact that virtually everything he did was based on a dare. The dare that started the rocky relationship with Beth reminded me a lot of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles which is a book that I hated. Though I did feel bad how his parents made his decisions for him and the predictable mystery about his black sheep brother, Ryan made me miss hearing from Noah and especially Isaiah because I didn't take Ryan's genuine interest with Beth seriously or genuinely.
  The romance between Beth and Ryan is very, very slow. They learn to trust each other with lots of bumps in the road from "Is this another bet?" to "Am I your dirty little secret?" that takes them one step forward but three steps back, which I found frustrating. I also thought there was not enough romance to counterbalance the all the issues the book tackles. While I appreciated how McGarry shows how both teens are similar despite their upbringing, I couldn't connect to Ryan and Beth as a couple and as a result, was a big cheerleader for them. I'm still very excited to read Isaiah's book Crash into You which releases later this year as I do love the characters and McGarry's writing. Teens who like grittier romances will enjoy Dare You To, but readers who were lukewarm towards Pushing the Limits might not enjoy this one as much.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, sexual crude humor, a small sex scene, and underage drinking and drug usage. Recommended for Grades 10 and up.

If you like this book try: Crash into You by Katie McGarry, Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholt
4 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Sorry Ryan didn't really hold your interest Rummanah, but I'm so glad you enjoyed Beth! I was worried I wouldn't care for her all that much because she can be so in your face about things, but I adored her. And my heart broke for Isaiah in this book! I'm glad your still a fan of the series overall and I can't wait to hear what you think of Crash Into You!

  2. I was one of those who were lukewarm towards PtL, and I ended up feeling the same about this. I have issues with McGarry's characterization, especially when it comes to danaged characters. I think her lack of insight is stopping me from fully enjoying these.
    I'm sorry you didn't much care for Ryan, I liked him far more than I liked Beth.
    Great review!

  3. Candace Says:

    The melodrama is one reason I didn't rush to get this one. I liked the first book a lot, but it was rather stressful for me and for that reason I've been a bit afraid of this one. I thought that fear would fade, but it hasn't yet.

  4. I liked Pushing the Limits but didn't really like Beth in it so I've been hesitant to read this one. I know a bunch of people loved Ryan so it's interesting to hear that you found him kind of boring. I'm looking forward to seeing your review for Crash Into You.

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