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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Review: Dare You To

Author: Katie McGarry

Release date: 7th June 2013
Genre: Contemporary Teen Romance
Target audience: YA
Publisher: Mira Ink
Series: Pushing the Limits #2

Dare You To is the second book in Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series. Although it does follow from the events of the first book, you can read it as a standalone. It’s more of a companion book than a sequel. This is another page-turner of a romance, told in alternating viewpoints.

This novel focuses on Beth and Ryan. Beth lives in Louisville in the roughest part of town. She’s been living in her auntie’s basement with her best friends Isaiah and Noah. But when she’s arrested for vandalising her mother’s boyfriend’s car, her estranged uncle takes her in and she moves to Groveton. Beth doesn’t want to leave her mum in Louisville to be the victim of domestic violence but her uncle gives her no choice. Ryan is all about baseball and dares. When his friends dare him to get Beth’s phone number one night in Taco Bell, he can’t resist the bet. He has to win. But Beth is not the sort of girl that is wowed by a jock. Ryan is left with egg on his face and a bet lost. So of course, when Beth arrives in his part of the neighbourhood, he’s determined to come out on top.

This is a story of trust and false impressions. Beth is prejudiced about the type of boys that play baseball and the type of girls that fall for them. Ryan has no real understanding of the challenges Beth has experienced growing up and why she keeps people at arm’s length. But Ryan’s not perfect and Beth needs love and affection. The plot follows the conflict between them and the way they use each other to get what they want.

This is a really enjoyable and entertaining read. Both characters leap off the page and I couldn’t help but like them and want them to be together. The only thing that irked me was some of Ryan’s phrasing. Sometimes he said that “Beth’s mine” rather than “my girl” and it was a little bit uncomfortable for me. I think the author could have toned that down because I don’t believe she meant him to appear possessive or controlling. He certainly isn’t like this at the end. He wants what’s best for Beth whether it is to be with him or not.

I think this is in part a book about realising your parents are flawed. Sometimes it is blindingly obvious like with Beth. And sometimes it is a little more subtle like with Ryan. But in the end, we all grow up and the best of us make our own choices and then stand by them.

Dare You To was a really satisfying read. It was romantic. It was sad in parts. But it was the sort of book you get swept up in and can’t wait to pick up. Highly recommended.

Source: Bought and read on my Kobo

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