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Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Synopsis: "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.
Review: In Dare You To, Katie McGarry pulls readers along as her narrators—two teenagers struggling to survive in the families they were born into—fall in love.
Katie McGarry does an excellent job of making Beth and Ryan’s relationship believable. Both have their doubts at first. Ryan doesn’t like how rough around the edges Beth is, and he is worried that his parents won’t approve of her. Beth is used to getting hurt and doesn’t want to give anyone else the ability to hurt her. It takes Beth and Ryan a long time to get where they are at the end of the novel, but they make it.
Beth and Ryan both have hard lives. With an alcoholic mother who has an abusive boyfriend, Beth is unable to hide hers. With controlling parents who want nothing to do with their gay son, Mark, Ryan is used to doing what he can to maintain his perfect jock image. But Beth and Ryan both need to work through their problems, and I don’t think they would have been able to do so if they didn’t have each other.
Although I liked these aspects of Beth and Ryan’s relationship, I could have used a little more from other aspects of their relationship. There is so much sexual tension, but it doesn’t really get resolved. Beth freaks out during one juicy scene early on, and no other scenes are described in the detail that one was told in.
Dare You To is a part of a different kind of series. The first book in the series, Pushing the Limits, tells the story of Noah and Echo’s romance. Noah and Echo are a part of the life Beth leaves behind when she moves in with her uncle. The third book in the series will tell of Beth’s best friend, Isaiah, and his relationship with a girl named Rachel. The books in this series do not continue where the previous book let off; instead, they turn minor characters into major characters. It’s a unique idea, and it works.
Dare You To is an intense exploration of what it likes to be a teenager, fighting against the life you can’t control by fighting for the love you can.
Reviewed by: Stephanie.
Rating: 4/5 DIAMONDS
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