Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)FeaturedHot
"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....
"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...
Then we moved to Beth, who was every bit as abrasive and argumentative and damaged as she was in Pushing the Limits. She made bad decisions and was self-destructive and harsh, and I was concerned.
But I knew from PTL that Katie McGarry is adept at taking characters from uncomfortable situations and making them punch me right in my tear ducts, so I persevered. It didn't hurt that Dare You To was told with the same flowing, evocative prose that caused me to devour Pushing the Limits in just a couple days. And it wasn't long before I was completely swept up in Beth and Ryan's story, rooting for characters who I didn't even like in the beginning. Soon, the pages were flying by, and during the times when I had to reluctantly put the book down for things like parenting and housework, Beth and Ryan stayed with me.
The verdict? I think I loved Dare You To even more than Pushing the Limits. It tugged my heartstrings left and right, made me smile and gasp and cry. By the end, I was completely in love with Beth and Ryan, as well as much of the supporting cast. Yes, there were moments when I wanted to throttle both of them (especially Beth), but only because they stayed so very true to themselves, and sometimes real people do things that are throttle-worthy. But most of the time, it just wreaked complete and utter havoc with my emotions, in the best possible way.
This book is a bit...ahem...hotter and heavier than PTL, and also manages to go a bit darker, a bit more dangerous, a bit more raw. It takes all the things I adored about PTL and amps them up, but in new and refreshing ways. It's a fabulous follow-up to Pushing the Limits, but will also stand just fine on its own if this is the first of Katie McGarry's books you're trying. I will say, as with Noah in PTL, some of Ryan's inner monologues can begin to smell a tad like Roquefort (read: cheesy), but I was sucked into the story enough that I didn't care. Dare You To kept me blissfully engaged from beginning to end. If you enjoy emotional, butterfly-inducing YA contemporary romance that doesn't shy away from some heavy issues, I recommend Dare You To wholeheartedly.
The plot is heartbreaking. If you've read the first book, you know Beth has a rough home life (to say the least). You know she has issues and she tries to be tough to cover for it. My heart broke for her throughout the entire book. Every time she said "But it's my responsibility", I would should want to cry. Because it wasn't her responsibility to take care of her mom. With the amount of pressure and stress that Beth put on herself, it's no wonder she couldn't just enjoy life. I thoroughly enjoyed reading more about her character, and let me just say that I really like her now. And I think that is because I understand her better. I know she behaves the way she does. I know why she does the things she does. I did feel really bad for Isaiah though and my heart broke for him. I am excited to read his story in the next book of the series!
Ryan is.....hmmm....amazing. He is the type of high school boy I would've picked myself if I could have. A star baseball player, a great writer, and the best part about him is he is a TRUE gentleman. *sigh* I simply adored his character. I'm so grateful that this book includes both Ryan and Beth's POV's. Trust me, you will love him.
I really appreciated the struggle that both characters had with trusting each other. I think that's something a lot of relationships struggle with. Giving yourself to someone (not just in that way) can be difficult. And I thought Ms. MsGarry did a great job of writing that out. I feel like these characters just live in the next town over. A wonderful sequel, that honestly might be a bit better than the first. And I loved the first book!
Now, I do warn you that Beth and Ryan are both rather awful people as the novel opens. Ryan starts out as that cocky jock, used to always getting what he wants out of life. He's basically Freddie Prinze Jr. from She's All That, making dares with his buddies about girls. Specifically, he and his friend Chris dare each other to get girls' numbers at the beginning of the book. The way he thinks about girls made me want to smack the smirk off his face. Beth, too, is a handful. She makes horrible life choices, and is rude to the people trying to help her.
If you stick with them though, Beth and Ryan do really mature through the course of the book, as they realize what's important to them and face up to their demons. They're young and completely screwed up by their parents, so it's a wonder they make as much progress as they do. Both of them, though, have good hearts from the start, even if they don't apply them as well as they could. For example, though Ryan may think unflattering things about girls from time to time, he does treat them well, dares aside, even refusing to allow his friends to call his ex-girlfriend evil, despite her manipulative nature; he cared for her once and won't see her maligned.
Beth is pretty much emotionally ruined, unable to trust anyone but Isaiah and Noah. She has good reason, since most people either leave her or hit her or both. Her mother is an alcoholic and a junkie, unwilling to leave her drug dealing boyfriend, Trent, not even for her daughter's sake. Even so, Beth takes care of her, even to the degree of taking the fall and getting arrested for a crime her mother committed. Beth's determination to protect and save her mother is evidence of her good heart, but it's also tragic, keeping her from doing what's best for herself. Children really do want to love their parents, even when they shouldn't.
Speaking of bad parents, it's young adult fiction, so Ryan has them too. His mother and father live a life of social events and pretending to be the perfect family, when actually they just kicked his older brother out after Mark revealed his homosexuality. Ryan feels abandoned by Mark and stifled by his parents. What I love about Ryan's story is that he's actively making choices for the future: whether to pursue a career in major league baseball or to go for college and consider writing as a career. Not enough YA actually deals with thoughts of the life beyond high school.
As in Pushing the Limits, Katie McGarry wrote the book from the perspectives of both of the main characters. Yet again, she does a phenomenal job writing two distinct points of view, neither of which reads like Noah or Echo either. Color me impressed. McGarry even managed to sell me on their romance, though I was skeptical at first. Ryan's actually a really sweet, respectful guy under the swagger. He's very up front and good at communicating, and that's something Beth needs and isn't good at herself. This is another romance where the tropes are sort of turned on their head, with the tattooed bad girl and the more innocent guy. He embraces feelings and she just wants to keep things physical and temporary. Also, they become more social as they get closer, rather than descending into the couple cave, which is great too.
What Left Me Wanting More:
My only qualms are these: the melodrama and Ryan's writing. Though I think it's well done, the drama of it all did seem a bit over the top at times. I let that slide in Pushing the Limits, but having both teens have terrible parents again and dealing with a lot of the same issues was a bit too much for me. Then there's the apparently amazing story that Ryan has written, which gets him nominated for a literary award and scholarship. That's all fine, except that he apparently wrote Warm Bodies, which is weird to me.
The Final Verdict:
In Dare You To, Katie McGarry dares to take a risk on characters who aren't as likable on the outset. If you can keep an open mind, that gamble pays off in the end, but, of course, that's not for everyone. With this, I can confidently declare myself a McGarry fan, and will be eagerly anticipating Crash Into You, Isaiah's story.
What I loved: This a heartrending story about of love, forgiveness and learning how to trust. Beth and Ryan are the kind of characters who tug at your heart strings right off the bat, making it virtually impossible not to route for them. They're raw and edgy yet completely relateable and are supported by a cast of characters who want to see both them reach their full potential.
Beth is a force to be reckoned with and I.loved.her. despite her potty mouth. ;)
Ryan puts the "swoon" in swoonilicious. That is all.
What left me wanting: My heart broke for Isaiah *cries* but I know his story is coming and I'm really looking forward to reading it.
Final verdict: I dare you to read this. I double dog dare you to read it and NOT love it! *whispers* Especially Ryan.
“I like you. I. Like. You. I'll admit you're annoying. Sometimes you agitate me to the brink of insanity, but you can throw it back at me like no one else. When you laugh, I want to laugh. When you smile, I want to smile. Hell, I want to be the one to make you smile.”
Ryan is expected to play ball and date Gwen. That's it.His father has put immense pressure on him to focus on baseball and date a "good girl" like Gwen. The pressure has gotten worse since Mark, Ryan's older brother came out of the closet.Ryan's family has all but abandoned Mark for something that he cannot control.
Then we have Beth. Hardcore Beth who we saw a bit of in Pushing The Limits. The Beth that a lot of us were convinced would end up with Isaiah. I think that was part of my initial issues with her and Ryan. I couldn't get the idea of her and Isaiah out of my head.Beth's had a hard life. She's had to play the adult to her mother since she was pretty young.She feels like it's her responsibility to do that because her mom didn't leave her.
It takes just about the entire book for her to realize that she is not responsible for her mother's behavior. Her mother chooses that life. Her mother would rather have a violent drug dealer as a boyfriend than get away and be safe with Beth. Watching Beth realize all of this was gut wrenching. Watching her lean on Ryan was amazing to watch. In the past, her self esteem was in the toilet. She never felt like she was good enough for anyone. Which is why, when rumor swirl around the school about her past, she goes back to believing that she's not good enough.
"I love how he can smooth away the roughness and make me feel like someone worth loving." -Beth
At the end of the book there is a particularly heartbreaking scene that had me in tears, actually more like violent sobs. It wrecked me in the best possible way. It's no secret that I like books that give me the feels and this book did that.
It took me awhile to warm up to Ryan but once I did, I really liked him. I also really liked that he called her by her name and NOT some stupid nickname. Beth remained my favorite character throughout this book.While I couldn't relate to her, I could empathize with her.
I wish we had seen more of Ryan's brother Mark, but what we did see of him, I liked. I really liked how Beth worked to get Ryan and Mark on speaking terms again.
"Grow a pair of balls, that's what I would have done. God, Ryan, you are an asshole.Your brother is gay and you toss him out of your life because you are too much of a pansy to stand up to your father." -Beth
Ryan's friends Chris, Lacy & Logan all seemed like a good crowd. They supported each other and they were always willing to help each other out. The dares that were part of the friendship took a backseat to true friendship which I loved.
This book was near perfect for me. I am giving it 4.5 stars. I am taking off a half a star mostly because it took me nearly half the book to warm up to Ryan. If you haven't read this series yet, then you need to and soon.
It is always hard for me to read a companion novel or spin-off with different narrators than the ones I originally fell in love with. but McGarry has a knack for making characters that are so real and stay with readers for a lonnnnng time. Once again, Beth and Ryan seem like opposites, but is reality, they compliment each other very well. Whereas Beth seems prickly, defiant, and stubborn (with trust issues off the charts), Ryan is the golden boy who everyone adores (with a secret hobby: writing). I was reluctant to get inside both of these characters' heads, but I do not regret jumping in. Both of them are full of secrets and family problems and personal obstacles they need to conquer. Seriously, both characters grow so much. I wasn't swooning hard-core for Ryan, but he was a good guy and I like him. And Beth isn't exactly someone I would want as my best friend, but I loved getting to know what was going on in her mind and understanding her life.
The relationship between Beth and Ryan is more than just a fluffy relief from the drama. The romance is used as a tool for growth and self-discovery. Ryan and Beth's relationship is far from perfect--it can get frustrating and repetitive--but the two continuously encourage each other to face fears and make better decisions. At it's foundation, their romance is solid and meaningful. Oh, and sexy. There's lots of kissing, in case you were curious. And then some.
The other people:
But Beth and Ryan aren't the only characters in this book. Even those that only make brief appearances in the book had an effect on me. Scott (Beth's uncle) provides the parental backbone that Beth has needed her entire life. I really liked him. He kept trying to do the right thing, even when Beth made it difficult. And then there is Isaiah. I was sad when I found out that this book was Beth and Ryan's story, not Beth and Isaiah's. While I realize that Isaiah and Beth are not meant for each other, my heart still broke for Isaiah. He is so sweet and he deserves happiness. Needless to say, I cannot wait for his story, Crash into You. Ryan's friends are also great and I appreciate how supportive they are of Beth. Unlike his family and skankbag of an ex-girlfriend. Blech!
Honestly, the plot isn't all that spectacular. Not very memorable. I read this book a few months ago and have since forgotten most of the details about the plot. It's the characters that make this book what it is. Still, McGarry demonstrates exceptional writing skills and a story that will envelop readers. It goes to show that McGarry is certainly much more than a one-hit wonder. I pray that we keep seeing LOTS more of her. Even if this isn't my favorite book in the entire world, I still flew through it, eager to see what happens next. Yeah, you want to read this.
I loved watching these two characters grow throughout this book. Beth is not quick to trust anyone. She has been let down by so many people in her life which has made it hard for her trust. She is a big ball of snark which I loved! Seeing her learn to trust someone and know that not everyone is going to leave her was amazing. Ryan grew throughout this book as well. He always does whatever his father wants and is pretty much living the life his father wants him to live. I loved seeing him learn that he needs to do what is right for him and take his life into his own hands.
This book deals with some real issues. Beth's mother is a drug addict with an abusive boyfriend. I really wanted to smack her and haul her off to rehab myself. I felt for Beth having to be the adult and take care of her mother like she was her child.
If you have read Pushing Limits I don't doubt that you will love Beth and Ryan's story as much as Noah and Echo's. McGarry has an amazing way with words. You can't help fall in love with and feel for her characters. When they laugh you laugh and when they cry you cry. I love books that deal with real issues and characters that are flawed.
My favorite part of any book is the love story and this book did not disappoint. Beth has some big walls up that Ryan needs to break through. She doesn't trust and is more concerned with her mother and her problems. But once he starts to break through that first wall what these two have cannot be denied.
Dare You To is a book about love, loss and learning to trust others and yourself. McGarry has quickly become a favorite author of mine and Dare You To has been one of my favorite reads of 2013.
But all those thoughts changed when I started reading. This has been much easier to relate to compared to Echo's story. The problems the characters were dealing with had a bit more of reality. Beth's story is crazy and heartbreaking but in the end, you still want her to have her happy ending despite how frustrating it has been.
Beth is such a dynamic character that I could easily relate to. There were times when I wanted to slap her and make her realise how bad her decisions are or to make her believe that everything in front of her is true. But there were also times when I want hug and comfort her. She's tough and doesn't let anyone make the shots for her but at the same time, she's vulnerable and needs someone to hold her. Her flaws made her more real and tangible.
Ryan was also someone I loved unexpectedly. I honestly felt like I was betraying Isaiah when I started liking him but Ryan was such a likable character. He wasn't like other popular boys who are so sure of themselves and gets every girl they want. He didn't went through girls like he does with his clothes. He was actually emotionally attached to someone before Beth and that alone made me like him. He was not the typical I-never-knew-love-til-I-met-you kind of guy.
The way Isaiah and Beth parted was heartbreaking. I hated how it's supposed to happen but I understood why it should. There was something about the two of them being so close that they seem to forget reality and forget how to grow up and face life.
This book was another roller coaster ride. It sort of reminded me of Stealing Parker because of baseball but there's this particular scene that I love that reminded me of how Henry left the game for Jordan when she was injured in Catching Jordan. I would love to have a guy leave his game for me. Katie also wrote another set of swoon-tastic kissing scenes that you'll definitely love.
Looking forward to Isaiah's story. Merlin knows how much I am cheering for that guy to have his own happy ending. I just hope he'd rekindle his friendship with Beth in the next book.
I read fewer contemporary novels than sci-fi, steampunk, paranormal and high fantasy, and don’t usually pick up the highly charged emotional novels, because they often descend into the sort of melodrama that causes my eyes to roll up to the ceiling. Yet Pushing the Limits was a real page-turner despite the drama and immediately placed Katie McGarry in my top three addictive writers list – joining Jennifer L.Armentrout and Brigid Kemmerer. There’s something about the writing of these authors that makes me simply devour the stories and it’s not easy to explain why. Whatever it is, when I saw Dare You to on Netgalley, I couldn’t not request a copy
Plot: We met Beth Risk in Pushing the Limits, where she went out of her way to be as uncharming as possible. Despite her confrontational ways, her friendship with Noah and Isaiah hinted at her ability to be a good friend. This story tells us exactly why Beth is such a hard cookie.
As mentioned in the blurb, Beth’s uncle ‘swoops’ in to give her a chance at a new life, but don’t expect Beth to be happy about it. You’d think finally having to only worry about school would be appreciated by Beth, but Katie McGarry does a great job at showing just how complex people can be. Beth’s angrier than ever in her new life, and the last thing she needs is ‘perfect’ boy Ryan Stone trying to charm her. Beth’s convinced there’s something more to his persistent interest and we already know all about his dare, but once again there’s more to this story. The plot examines how different Ryan Stone’s life is from the image his family portray. All in all the plot focuses on how often people make assumptions based on appearances and would be surprised if they were shown the whole picture. Rating: 4 out of 5
Characters: The images portrayed by Ryan and Beth are polar opposites – Mr Perfect and Ms Imperfect. He’s focused and controlled, while her energies are scattered and she’s quick to anger. Beth’s never been allowed to concentrate on herself – not on what she wants, let alone what she needs – which explains why she finds getting a break difficult to cope with (and trust). Ryan’s focused on the dream of becoming a pro-baseball player, while Beth’s not a dreamer…she’s an escape artist who has resorted to drink and weed. Yet below the images and at the heart of the people we find they aren’t all that different after all. Yes, they react to situations differently, but each of them cares about their parent(s), and each have to learn in their own way that truly being your own person isn’t selfish. The jock and the skater girl make for a surprisingly sweet – and sizzling – romance.
The sidekicks for these likeable characters are a great supporting cast, and the realistic conversations and interactions with family members help to bring out the detailed complexity of Beth and Ryan’s personalities. Ryan’s controlling father and perfectionist mother make his life at home less happy and free than most would assume. Beth’s mother demonstrates how not to win the “Parent of a Lifetime” award, after putting her daughter into harms way time and again, the reader can’t help but root for Beth. Rating: 4 out of 5.
Writing Style: The pace was great, making this a page turner. It’s true that the scenes and dialogue that pulled this story are mostly suffused by angst, and usually this would have me running for the hills. Yet when Katie McGarry has her characters exhibit this anger and generalised anxiety about life…well, she makes it work. When you get into the heads of the characters you can understand how they’ve come to distrust having opportunities. You understand why they would choose to live in the shadows than come out into the light.
“Emotion is evil. People who make me feel are worse. I take comfort in the stone inside of me. If I don’t feel, I don’t hurt.”
We move from scenes in Beth’s new high school – Ryan’s personal playground – to her new life with her uncle. Then we head off to Ryan’s dysfunctional family life and back to the horror of the non-family life Beth’s been leading, to her friendships with Noah and Isaiah – the latter who she sees as her best friend and confidante. It’s a world that shows that parents are just people, but given the people that Beth and Ryan’s parents are it’s good to have a couple of pretty swell adults to read about too. Rating 4 out of 5.
But even though I wasn't 100% on the Ryan bandwagon in the beginning, the story definitely turned me into a Ryan fan. Granted he's no Noah, but he and Beth had their own story and I loved something about each one of them. As for Beth, its a little hard to say what I thought of her. I loved that she was so passionate about certain things, but that was also her downfall. She was so passionate about the wrong things. Her mother and her past life smh, I would have left it all behind. If I had been her, in that first scene with her mother I would have sent her to jail. She can be fed, clean, and free of the monster in there. But Beth was too busy focusing on the fact that she wanted her mother free, but she didn't think about the fact that even while she's not in jail, she's still not free of the bad things holding onto her. As she held on to all those things, she seemed ungrateful and it was hard to read through her temper tantrums. But as her shell begins to crack, Beth turns into a different person. I loved the person she became when she was finally with Ryan. She had hope and finally knew the real meaning of love.
When it came to Ryan, he had his own demons following him. His parents are both idiots in my opinion. His father is a man who I could NEVER talk to or understand. So many things in this story he steered his son down the wrong path. I was floored that his mother never said anything about it as scared as she seemed of him. But the persona they put on for their community makes them all seem perfect. To everyone except Ryan. At first I wasn't just in love with him, but as the story went on I began to see why everyone was falling for him so hard. He had to figure out a few things about him self just as Beth had to figure out somethings about her self.
Together, their romance felt real and it didn't seem rushed. It was nice to see their changes as things went by. There was so much growth for the both of them throughout the story and it was nice to see that love can really change even the hardest things.
So in Pushing the Limits, the image we got of Beth was a girl with a messed-up home life that was best friends with Isaiah. In Dare You To, us readers get an inside look into what exactly is so messed-up, and let me tell you there was a lot there. As crazy as Beth's perspective was at times, she had been through and seen a lot more than I would ever want to imagine. This book gives a lot of background on Beth's mom and her evil boyfriend, Beth's dad, and a new character: Beth's Uncle Scott.
Scott ends up convincing Beth (well maybe with a hint of blackmail) to live with him. He left when he was 18 to play baseball, made the pros, and now he is back and wants to take care of Beth. Even though he's made some mistakes over the time, he owns up to them. And he truly wants to give Beth everything he can to help her truly live her life in a way she can be proud of and be successful. I really admired him as a character, though his wife annoyed me most of the time.
But of course, there is another part of the book. The part that all of us Team Isaiah's were fighting. Still, I had to switch teams about halfway through the book. I had to switch to Ryan. Oh Ryan. Let's talk about Ryan, shall we? Even if he did ask Beth out at first on a dare. Despite a rough start, Ryan proved himself to be amazing. There was just something about him that I don't find in other fictional boys. Both Beth and Ryan have some demons in their life that they have to face *though Beth's are a tad bigger to me* and they are magical together.
The book pulled me in so fast that I hated having to leave Beth and Ryan's world. Katie McGarry manages to create steamy stories that are also incredibly sweet and romantic. The differences between Beth and Ryan truly made the story powerful and the book pulled my emotions in with a strong force that left me flipping pages breathlessly.
I loved Beth and her tough exterior and how Ryan broke through that and while she was still amazing and kick ass we get to see get beautiful heart.
Ryan is perfect on the surface but there is a lot brewing under neath. I loved his loyalty and admired his self confidence and how hid desire to win became a theme. Though i really appreciated that he stepped up and did what wad right even if it meant losing.
There were some smoking hot scenes that made me need to stick Mt head on the freezer and then run back to get more.
The characters in this story are so beautifully written! Ryan's inner dialogue was awesome and it made me smile a lot.
Lacy is a great character as well and i loved how she fit into the whole scene. She reminded nee a lot of myself with the boys was friends and the limited loyalty. As well as being on the fringes.
Gwen... Oh, Gwen. I wanted to smack her.
Loved Ryan s brother and that her read not perfect bit he too had a story and things to prove to himself.
Beth and her need to take care of her mom is so understandable and it hurts my heart all that sheer had to go through.
Isaiah... I so thought that some how this would be his and Beth story but while he was in it and their friendship was an important theme and he had a lot to add to the story it was not in the way that i thought.
Watching Beth learn to trust others and especially learn to trust herself was the most amazing part of this story. It wasn't an easy road, and she had to go through sooo much. Not only did her relationship with Ryan help, but also her uncle, Lacy and letting go of her past. She had to realize that no one is perfect, herself included, but that there are people who are worthy of the trust. Really, the theme of learning to also accept yourself for who you are is what I am coming away from this story with!
I love the dual narrative, it helped me to understand and love both of the characters all the more. It is also a unique way of storytelling where you know what the other person is really thinking and feeling.
The ending is like the rest of the book--perfection.
Bottom Line: Darkly captivating an emotional romance woven with hope and character growth.