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Wednesday 10 April 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Author: Katie McGarry

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count: 462 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: June 7th 2013
Find it on Goodreads: Dare You To
Source: E-Galley provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley!
Hardcover, 462 pages
Expected publication: June 7th 2013 by Harlequin Teen (first published May 28th 2013)
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....

This was an amazing book. I adore McGarry's style and Beth's and Ryan's voices were captivating and distinct. Their story hooked me from the beginning.

You may remember from my review of Pushing the Limits that it was a special book for me. I loved it a lot last year and it was one of my favourite debuts of 2012, if I remember correctly. I was so excited to receive Dare You To as an eGalley, but hesitant as I had not yet read a companion novel that I liked better than the first book.... Dare You To changed that. I think. Dare You To was an emotional roller coaster and contains incredible characters that I couldn't help but fall in love with. 

Like Echo and Noah last year, I'm sure Beth and Ryan will be showing up on my favourite couples lists this year. I've been on a contemporary kick lately and I'm so glad I picked this one up, as it was perfect for my mood. Dare You To was deep, dark and filled with an engaging story, but like Pushing the Limits there was a light sprinkle of humour and I always enjoy that type of style. McGarry has a way of writing her characters so diverse and distinct and I love that about her books. I was curious about Beth in Pushing the Limits, so I was so excited to read more about her in this novel. She's tough. She's put up lots of walls, has had a hard past and full of attitude. But she's also very vulnerable and scared and has many trust issues, as well as she cares deeply about what happens to her loved ones. I loved Beth. I connected with her character on some levels and I understood many things about her, but she also went through so many things that I cannot even imagine. How much Beth wanted to protect her mother and help her was heartbreaking, but I loved her uncle Scott. He was tough but cared deeply about Beth and I really liked reading his scenes. Beth was a character that I will not soon forget.

Then there was Ryan. GUYS! Ryan was not a typical, cliched bad boy! 

I really liked Ryan. He's a jock, a baseball fanatic, but also loved writing. He grew a lot in the story and I loved watching him go from a cocky guy doing dares with his friends to someone who loves so deeply and understands people and accepts them. His family troubles frustrated me, mostly because I just wanted to shake some sense into his father. Ryan's thoughts about his brother and his struggles standing up to his father were all things that helped him grow in this novel and I loved reading his story. I adored Ryan's attitude and his inner thoughts and how much of a guy he is, but also how respectful and polite he is. That boy's going far in book life.

The story itself was engrossing and gripping. It had me sneaking my eReader behind my textbook in class and staying up late in the night to finish. There was one message that Ryan learns in this story that stood out to me. Everyone has a secret. Their lives aren't perfect. They have issues too. We may not know them all, but we must understand that people don't have the perfect lives they portray.  I really appreciated that McGarry really inserted that into Ryan's thoughts so that it was a clear message, not super cryptic. Beth's courage, mixed with her vulnerability was intriguing and I loved her snark. I totally related to her thoughts about Ryan, when she started to feel all mushy-gushy and blush and maybe kind of start to like him and then scold herself because she isn't the type of person to be thinking those things. I do that ALL the time, when it comes to anything to do with a guy, so it was kind of funny to pick out some of my own thoughts in Beth's.

I'm honestly surprised I've been able to write this review without going all crazy on the GIFs and lots of Capslock. Dare You To was one of those books for me. It was beautifully written and the characters were raw and the story had me captivated from the moment Ryan and Beth met. The humour mixed in with the tough subjects and gorgeous, heart wrenching romance made for an incredible book and I loved every minute of reading it. I loved the little glimpses we got of Noah and Echo and I'm so excited to read what happens to Isaiah in McGarry's next book. If you have not read Pushing the Limits, I urge you to do so. And then, as soon as possible, pick up Dare You To. Overall, this is one of my favourite books I've read this year so far!

Happy reading!


  1. I'm really looking forward to reading this! It's on my kindle and I keep hearing good things about it.

  2. Wow, sounds great. I love a non-stereotypical love interest. I'll have to check this series out.

  3. I want to meet Ryan! So reading this next! :)

  4. I'm even looking forward to reading this more so now :D Great review!


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