Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Title: Dare You To
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: contemporary, young-adult
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Pages: 655 (ARC edition)
Published: expected May 28 2013
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

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....

Two for two!

McGarry continues to improve and grow as a writer! I'm impressed and happy that this was such a quick, enjoyable real. McGarry's sophomore novel was by turns so fun, and entertaining and sad, in all the right places. A fast read, with great and well-drawn protagonists, Dare You To is an impressive and strong second novel from this promising and talented author. I loved this, from drama to dialogue to plot, it all worked so well together and added up to a really memorable read.  Full of the same complex, flawed characters one has begun to expect from McGarry, the second Pushing the Limits novel was an even bigger hit with me than the first, the eponymously-titled Pushing the Limits

A lot of the reasons this was a bigger success than its predecessor with me comes down the main characters. While I liked Noah and Echo (mainly Noah), they each were a bit too dramatic and cliche for my tastes. Their story was compelling enough, but nowhere near the level of Beth and Ryan's interactions.  These were two complete opposites whose attractions felt genuine, and believable. Full of the typical ups and downs of teenage relationships, the sources of the drama between the two that prevent their inevitable coupledom didn't feel like filler. Both have fleshed out personalities and lives beyond each other, and that help to shape these two into real people with incredibly sad histories. McGarry has largely left behind her overwrought drama from the first and learned to craft more subtle - and thus meaningful - conflicts and struggles for her two protagonists to overcome.

 There is a plot in Dare You To, but it really takes a backseat to the evolution of the characters and their relationship. McGarry is more than adept at creating a character-driven novel and both Beth and Ryan's narrations are engaging and distinctive. It's intense and emotional from the start, and the slow reveal of how horrific Beth's life has been pulled all the heartstrings I have. Ryan might have had a better homelife, but these are two characters you want to end up together. It's a foregone conclusion that they will, but McGarry and Beth and Ryan make it a tumultuous ride to that result. McGarry isn't afraid to make hard choices for her characters - as Beth's rejection of Isaiah shows in spades.

McGarry is a growing writer, and it's apparent in Dare You To. All the talent and promise she showed, but didn't quite achieve in her first book has come to fruition with her second. I am immensely excited for this, especially as there is a third Pushing the Limits novel due out not soon enough soon. Crash Into You will be Isaiah's story, and I for one can't wait to see even more improvement from an already talented author. McGarry - you've won me over. I am officially a fan.

1 comment:

  1. Like you, I really enjoyed this one as well, Jessie! Although I think I liked PtL a little more, I do agree that this was considerably less dramatic and I loveeed the depth to the characters! Amazing review! :D


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