Dare You To
By Katie McGarry
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Received by: Netgalley
What I enjoy most about Katie McGarry’s books is even though they seem like a series they are true stand-alone books. The one thing I have found in my collection of read books is that there are a lot of characters that I wonder about and often feel they have more to say. Katie McGarry’s characters are somewhat like veins that branch off each other. Each one wants to share something special with the readers. Beth Risk is a character from McGarry’s first book, Pushing The Limits that takes center stage in Dare You To. A third book is already been set to publish and it is exactly about the character I hoped it would be about. No spoilers!
I really enjoyed McGarry’s writing style. She knows when to be funny and when to bring the right amount of drama. Beth alone is a lot to take in at first but always offers a sense of mystery. I’d have to say that her and Ryan’s first meeting immediately went into my top ten and even inspired my song choice for the book. Even though Ryan is supposed to come off egotistical based off Beth’s assumptions, he never actually did to me. That’s the benefit of reading a novel with two perspectives. There is more room to tell a great story that is thought provoking for the reader.
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FOR MY SONG PICK FOR THIS BOOK
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...
Let me start off with Beth who is the very best hard-core character I’ve read in a long time. She has some incredible family drama that I wish people couldn’t identify with but the reality is that there is a large population that will. I think Beth sees her new living situation with her uncle as being in a box that she must get out of. She is someone who thinks she doesn’t need any help and is very stubborn. She is only stubborn because of her love for her mother and that is what allows Beth’s heart to shine. She’s optimistic about her mother and see’s a life for them through a bashed window, not willing to see the incoming cracks.
Her relationship with Ryan in the beginning is all hate at first but when Ryan grows on her you see the fine line she walks when she wants to feel close to something. I think Beth’s narration during the barn incident was amazing. I as a reader was able to sense what someone with a life like Beth may crave. Beth is someone who always has a comeback and is snappy, especially with her aunt but when something good happens for her you can’t help but feel happy for her despite her attitude.
Ryan I believe is someone many will identify with. I identified with him merely because of his passion for writing. I wished someone had pushed me like his teacher does in the book. Maybe I would have gotten an earlier start. Ryan is talented at baseball and writing. He has to decide whether to take the path of his fathers choosing or the one he think’s he may want. Plus he’s dealing with the absence of his brother and the family secret that is tearing his household apart. All these issues that trouble Ryan and he’s still a nice guy to everyone. He defends his friends and sees something in Beth that he can’t deny. She treats him differently than others at school and it’s almost refreshing to him. With Ryan you get to see how he actually begins to fall for Beth. Every thought of his no matter how tiny puts Beth in this special light. Ryan and Beth will show you exactly why opposites attract.
As a parent I found Ryan’s discussion with his own parents captivating. I feel parents should read this book to see how words can mold their children. Every lecture or piece of advice that is given creates a sort of ping that even though may be given out of love has the possibility of a negative effect if not careful. I felt bad for Ryan because he is in a constant tug of war between his dreams and his parent’s dreams.
Katie McGarry is fantastic at her craft. She can create a story with so many levels of good and bad. Her books read like a movie and always tell two stories that are insightful enough to want to share with everyone. Dare You To has enough broad story telling that I’m not sure you could fit it into a movie, maybe a two part miniseries. I just really love that more two-perspective books are being published now and glad that Katie McGarry is writing them. Dare You To is a must read for the summer and detailed enough so you can really see the characters. You’ll laugh, gasp and cry with this pick and I encourage people to make this a book club selection because there are so many other things that I could discuss about the book but just don’t want to ruin it.