Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
*Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review!*
Summary: 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....
My Favorite Lines:
“You're a lot like that bird in the barn. You're so scared that you're going to be caged in forever you can't see the way out. You smack yourself against the wall again and again and again. The door is open, Beth. Stop running in circles and walk out.”“How many more of us are faking the facade? How many more of us are pretending to be something we're not? Even better, how many of us will have the courage to be ourselves regardless of what others think?”
“My fingers lightly trace her arm and I swear she presses closer to me. I'd love to kiss her right now. Not the type of kiss that makes her body come alive. The type of kiss that shows her how much I care - the type that involves my soul.”
Why I Loved It: For me, this was one of the best companion novels I've ever read. Katie McGarry's writing is just incredible. I went into the book still clinging to a shred of hope that Isaiah had a shot. I mean, I loved Isaiah in Pushing the Limits. Beth, not so much. I wasn't sure how I felt about a book being centered around her, but one of Ms. McGarry's many fabulous gifts as a writer is an incredible hand at character development. By the time I finish one of her novels, I feel like I'm so well aquatinted with her characters that I wonder why they aren't around to hang out anymore. Even when Beth frustrated me and drove me crazy with her well-earned right to angst, I still loved her. So I tip my hat to you, Ms. McGarry. Very well done.
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.
Low Points: Ok this is one that's kind of low, but not very low. Really it's more like having to try and find a low point for me. Anyways, the plot is kind of predictable. I've seen that same kind of plot before. But, I must emphasize that Katie McGarry's writing kept me from even really thinking "well that's predictable"and more like "OMGOSH GIVE ME MORE" instead.
High Points: Ryan, Ryan, and Ryan. He melted my heart. Beth's blossoming relationship with her Uncle Scott. I loved seeing Noah and Echo again. Katie McGarry's incredible writing skill.
Teacher's Notes: Heavy explicit language, one sexual scene without a lot of detail, some steamy make-out scenes, and some drug use and underage drinking.
Who Should Read It: If you loved Pushing the Limits, please read this. People who love that NA genre or like romance that focus on the tough issues.
Need a Second Opinion?