Sunday, May 19, 2013

REVIEW: DARE YOU TO (Pushing the Limits, #2) by Katie McGarry

Title: “Dare You To
Series: (Pushing the Limits, #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Genres: NA / YA, Romance
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley
My star rating: 5/5


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....


I honestly didn’t think Katie McGarry would be able to top the sheer brilliance of Pushing the Limits. I should’ve known better. This woman was born to write, and she does so from the heart. Dare You To is an absolutely mind-blowing read, but be warned: it will rip you apart. You know how they say “if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen”? You have to have steel in your arteries to survive the raw, brutally honest emotions in this book.

Her words slice me open. I’m not that bad. No, I’m not kittens and bunnies, but I’m not that bad. I glance down at my outfit. Jeans. Tank top. My black hair falls in front of my face. It doesn’t matter. She made her decision before she met me. I bury the hurt, step into the room, and welcome the anger. Screw her.


Beth: “Me-the poet in my mind when I’m high.

Beth is definitely a complex character, but undoubtedly one of the most realistic characters I’ve come across. I couldn’t identify with her anger because I don’t have the same life experiences she has, but the author sketched her so clearly, I had utmost sympathy for her situation. All Beth wants is to be happy, get her mother out of her dire circumstances, and be loved. That’s not asked too much, right? Yet, Beth has built walls around herself which are practically impenetrable which makes it nearly impossible for the people who want to help her, reach out to her.

This is what happens when you believe in hope. Karma comes around to destroy it.

Starting a new life at a new home, new friends, new school, with a new look that is forced on her, is a huge step for Beth. She has to give up cussing, her usual style of clothes, smoking pot, her hair color, seeing her old friends, and she has to improve her grades. On top of all this she’s taken away from her mother and in order for her mother to stay out of jail, Beth has to abide by her uncle’s rules.
There were many times when I thought to myself, come on Beth, give them a break, it can’t be that bad. Where the reader is given glimpses into Beth’s past, only closer to the end do you really get to see what her past has been like, and it’s shocking. Trust and hope is a really big deal for Beth and looking at the type of life her mother lives and what she put Beth through, it was so much easier to understand Beth.

One of my favorite Beth-isms: “Jocks usually aren’t smart. Their muscles feast on their brains.

Ryan: I wouldn’t say Ryan is a typical jock, but on the surface he sure seems like it. Like any baseball player who is the star of his team, he has good looks going for him, he used to date the hottest girl in his school, and his friends, Chris, Lacy and Logan, has his back all the way. Oh, and, Ryan always accepts a dare. He doesn’t lose. That’s his motto and what he lives by.  At home, things are a lot different. His family is falling apart and Ryan struggles to keep up with the demands his father places on him. Social standing is very important to his family, so naturally and according to his parents, Beth – even though she is the niece of a famous baseball star, doesn’t fit into their picture of perfection.

It’s our rain, Beth.”…”I told you I loved you in this rain and when you doubt my words, I want you to look at this bottle.

The way Ryan pulls Beth into his life and breaks down her barriers is simply breathtaking. Who hasn’t dreamt of a guy saying all the things – all the right things – exactly the way Ryan doees. He builds her trust in so many beautiful and touching ways. He helps her to overcome her fear for water by teaching her to float, and he gives her a bottle of rain to show her his love. It’s really just…wow. And sappy. The romance is so sweet and sincere it borders on sappy, but at the same time it is exactly what propels the story, kept me riveted and had me begging for more.

Isaiah – “Isaiah-a sleeve of beautiful tattoos that frightens the normal and entices the free.” Isaiah completes the love triangle in this story, and as much as I detest love triangles, this one was perfect and it worked to advance the plot. I’ll shamelessly admit that I was rooting for him all the way, and I’m ecstatic that the next book, Crash into You, centers on him. Just a pity it only releases next year. Anyway, Isaiah shines in this book and he even made my heart miss a beat a couple of times. As with the previous book, his character exudes tough-guy persona with a heart of gold.

I came to this house for safety. They came because the foster care system ran out of homes. We stayed because we were stray pieces of other puzzles, tired of never fitting.

I was ecstatic to meet up again with the characters I adored from Pushing the Limits, and it was such a thrill being part of their lives again. Noah and Echo makes a brief appearance as Beth, Isaiah, and newcomer baseball star, Ryan Stone, takes centre stage in this epic love story about a girl who has to battle her inner demons and the ghosts from her past that keeps her from being the person she’s meant to be.

The further I read the story the more it dawned on me why Beth cannot end up with the character I wanted her to be with; because he’s just as damaged as she is and neither of them would be able to grow as individuals if they ended up being more than friends. Beth needed to be challenged by someone else who views her circumstances from an outside point of view in order for her to grow as a person and find the peace she craves.

Dare You To is an unforgettable, hard-hitting; rollercoaster-ride-of-emotions read which is impossible to put down once you’ve started. The writing is exceptional; especially the dialogue which seriously packs a punch. The author knows exactly how to illustrate every single emotion to the reader by means of clever wordplay. Everything about this book makes it a perfect read, and I highly recommend it to those who loves to read books that makes every part of your body and mind tingle as you fall head over heels for characters and a story that leaves an impression on your soul. And don’t forget to check out the awesome playlist for Dare You To at the end of the book. It rocks!

I’m in love with him. I love how he smiles. I love how he moves. I love his hands on my body and his lips on mine. I love how he laughs. I love how he makes me laugh. I love how he can smooth away the roughness and make me feel like someone worth loving.
Yes, Beth, and in love with him is every hot-blooded female reader who has read this superb novel and survived it with their hearts intact.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

*NOTE: This book contains YA characters with New Adult situations. Quotes and excerpts taken from the uncorrected ARC sent to me for review.




This is my choice of theme-song for Dare You To by Katie McGarry. Enjoy!

Wrapped In Your Arms by Firelight


Dare You To by Katie McGarry has 744 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



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