Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 28, 2013
Genres: contemporary, new adult
Source: ARC from publisher
Buy it: Amazon • Add it: 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....
Give me a moment to take a deep breath because I seriously thought there was going to be something else in that spare bedroom…
Whew! Ok, down to business. After reading Pushing the Limits, I knew that Beth’s story would be an interesting one – but I have to admit, I was worried about Dare You To because I just really didn’t think it was possible to successfully follow up book one. Pushing the Limits broke me down, ya’ll. It made be face demons I didn’t even know I had and left a tear-soaked, runny-nosed, blubbering mess at 6 o’clock in the morning. I was not prepared. There was no lube or anesthetic or warning or anything, just unexpected, excruciating pain and suddenly there was my soul, bared before my eyes and tinged dark as night. So I figured, “No way. No way is this Katie McGarry person good enough to do this to me again.”
But she almost did.
Dare You To wasn’t nearly as hard on my psyche as Pushing the Limits for personal reasons, but it still managed to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. Meet Beth, the messed up kid with the messed up family from a messed up part of town. She’s a hardass and an underdog so of course she was automatically near and dear to my heart. Beth has secrets that, as much as she wants to face them, send her running. Her mom, Sky, is a worthless waste of space who’s dating an even more worthless waste of space named Trent who likes to make up for his lack of worth by beating Sky and Beth. Beth has mostly managed to avoid Trent’s wrath since pretty much moving in with Noah and Isaiah, but she can’t let go of her mom…and that ends up causing a lot of trouble for a lot of people before everything’s said and done. Naturally, she ends up taking the fall for some destruction of property courtesy said mom and lands herself in jail. Out of the wings, Scott, the brother of her deadbeat dad, appears to swoop her away to a new life.
A new life that Beth wants less than anything else in the world.
Or so she thinks. Ryan – seemingly perfect, baseball playing, jock boy – makes Beth think about things she shouldn’t. Like what life in small-town Groveton might be like if she stays instead of following through on her plan to collect her mother and run. Like how maybe being with Ryan could be a better analgesic than the drugs and alcohol. But Ryan’s life isn’t perfect either. He’s got family issues of his own and he’s a boy to boot, so that automatically means he’s pretty good at screwing things up.
Despite everything though, Beth and Ryan seem to find their way back to each other. I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about this. I mean, IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE BETH AND ISAIAH! What happened to that?? I had a hard time buying that Beth had purely platonic feelings toward Isaiah. This was such a distraction to me – it made the whole book feel a little less…real. I would think that wasn’t the only thing that kept me from enjoying this book to the extent that I did Pushing the Limits, but I’m finding it hard to place my finger on any other specific things. It just didn’t move me as much. The characters and romance seemed convoluted…this story just didn’t fall into place like the first one did.
But don’t get me wrong…I was still moved…and it still took only a few hours for me to read the entire story, and that’s saying something. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary…or baseball…but McGarry managed to sell both of them to me with this book. There were things about it I didn’t like, and I think Pushing the Limits was definitely a better story, but there was plenty about it that I DID like too. Like, oh I don’t know, getting a deeper look into Isaiah’s character (Book 3, Crash Into You, cannot come soon enough! Isaiah deserves a HEA too, and I hope it’s a good one.) and the fact that was a lot of (gender) role reversal.
My heartstrings still feel a little tender. Katie McGarry once again proved her talent as a contemporary writer and if you loved Pushing the Limits, you’ll enjoy Dare You To as well. And if you haven’t read Pushing the Limits, well…I’m not sure you’re making the right choices in life, frankly. You might want to look into that.