Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Dare You To

DARE YOU TO
Pushing the Limits #2
Katie McGarry
Contemporary Young Adult
462 pages
Harlequin Teen
Available May 28th
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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 THOUGHTS
Dare You To is a stunning follow up to Pushing the Limits, Ms. McGarry's ability to pair life's darker moments with its achingly beautiful ones something that profoundly resonates, leaving us thoroughly exhausted after the emotional wringer she drags us through but pleased beyond measure by the time we emerge on the other side. One of the highlights of Ms. McGarry's storytelling is the visceral quality to the love between characters, the relationships neither a sudden magical cure-all for the problems in their lives nor a means by which they are able to eradicate all fears and doubts, ridding their worlds of darkness and pain. The love between these pages doesn't seek to smooth out all the sharp edges, but it does give them a soft place to land, preventing those fragile points from shattering on impact. There's nothing instant or simple about Ryan and Beth's relationship, it's hard work and it hurts at times, but we can't help but revel in the realism and the acknowledgement that love isn't always epic, sometimes it's gritty and scary and all the more affecting for it.

Beth is a young woman whom if we saw only from the outside without any access to her chaotic mind and turbulent emotions we might not like at all, her attitude and anger creating a wall of broken glass around her, cutting anyone who dares step too close. We do have access to her though, and as a result, we see the vulnerability behind the bluster, and though we know she would hate us for it, we can't help but want to wrap our arms around her and hold tight. Her life has taught her that she's worthless, that her value is only measured by her past, her family and her mistakes, and so her ability to trust is non-existent and makes her relationship with Ryan difficult at every turn. For Beth, Doubt is a many-tentacled monster; as soon as she escapes the grip of one arm and takes a few hesitant steps toward freedom, another arm swoops in and wraps her up tight, and though we want to rage against that monster for her, screaming at her to recognize her own worth, we know it's a battle she has to fight herself.

Ryan is at first glance the opposite to Beth in every possible way, but as we spend more time with him we come to see he has his own monster to fight. As Beth battles expectations of failure, Ryan battles expectations of success, something that sounds like it should be far easier but proves to be equally challenging and demoralizing. He stumbles and makes mistakes as Beth does, but through Beth he learns to fight back, to make his voice heard amidst the compliments and accolades that mask dictation on how to live his life, and in doing so he also teaches Beth that not every battle is one worth winning. Sometimes winning comes in the form of letting go; lessons both Ryan and Beth learn as they find a safe landing in one another.

Overall, Dare You To is everything we hope it will be when we break the spine, Ryan and Beth a painfully striking couple who embed themselves so deeply under our skin we're positive we'll find evidence of their presence when we next look in the mirror, their pain and their joy lingering with us long after their story comes to a close.

Rating: 5/5
 

Find Katie


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

35 comments:

  1. I think as I let the book and its story sit with me I find new appreciation for it. I really liked Ryan, but again, Beth took a little while for me to warm up to. I agree, Dare You To is a perfect companion to Pushing the Limits. I am very much looking forward to Isaiah's story.

    Thanks for the review Jenny!

    Sara @ Just Another Story

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    1. Beth does take some getting used to, but I ended up just loving her:) AND YES TO ISAIAH! I so want him to be happy.

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    1. I hope you get to both the books in this series, they're fabulous:)

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  3. Oh Jenny lemme give you a bear hug!! It seems like we both love the same type of books. I adored this one and actually my review is also up - great coincidence :) Anyhow I love your review and you know better with words than I do. :)

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    1. YES YES YES YES!!!! So glad you loved it! I'm basically a Katie McGarry fangirl, I will read anything and everything she wants to write:)

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    2. That's right! :) We should create some fangirl base or something ;)

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  4. yay! Glad you like this one too. Beth and Ryan really complement each others. They are perfect for each others. I loved that Katie MCgarry didn't pair Beth to Isaiah. But I'm also excited to know what will happen to Isaiah in the next book. Can't wait!

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    1. Initially I was bummed it wasn't Beth and Isaiah together, but having read this book now, it makes more sense. Beth and Ryan are a much better fit and I can't wait for Isaiah's story!

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  5. At first, I was unhappy about McGarry's choice for Beth, not because I disliked Ryan, but because I always thought she'd end up with Isaiah. I think we all did. But I also think she was right. Those two wouldn't function well together. They both needed someone different and Ryan is SO good for Beth.
    I actually liked this one more than I liked Pushing the Limits, which is a bit odd.
    Such a wonderful review, Jenny!

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    1. Exactly Maja! I felt the same way:) And I actually liked this one more than Pushing the Limits too, though I loved both:)

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  6. Ryan did seem like a guy with a light personality and the total opposite of Beth so it's intriguing to hear that he has darker spots in his life as well sinc we know Beth has it bad. I want this one so bad. Pushing the Limits was a wonderful debut and Dare You To has a lot to live up to. I hope I'll love it as much as you did, hon! :)

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    1. I hope you do too Siiri! While Ryan's struggles are vastly different from Beth's, they're equally hard on him so I just loved the two of them together:)

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  7. I adore the analogies you used. Wall of glass, the monster. Very thoughtful review! I liked the way you clarrified the lesson you used. While this was an imperfect book in my view because of the repetitive plot progressions, i also admired how Beth and Ryan benefited from each other; their relationship is so ... Real.

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    1. I loved how real their relationship felt, it's one of the things that really drew me into their story:)

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  8. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny! I really loved that Ryan was an opposite to Beth, but that they still worked out together so well. Lovely review, dear!(:

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  9. "...doesn't smooth out all the edges but it does give them a soft place to land." Wow beautiful Jenny! I am a little wary of this one because I am one of the VERY few that PTL didn't work for but I am very curious to get to know Beth better. This was a wonderful review!

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  10. Seriously, everyone is reading and reviewing this book. And the fact that I am behind doesn't take to well with me. I need to read it. STAT. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Um. I have Pushing the Limits on my Kindle, and I think it's time to move that book up the list so I can read it, love it, and move onto this book.

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  12. I'm glad you really loved this one! It seems like most everyone does. I'm very curious to get more inside Beth's head and see how she's thinking. I think it'll be a very interesting ride!

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  13. That is it I HAVE to push this one up my pile! I have heard so many good things abotu this author and series. I have the books, now I just need to read them!

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  14. I loved Dare You To so much. I really liked getting to know Beth and she and Ryan were so amazing together. Great review! :)

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  15. You know what is terrible about having a jinx with you on the same book on the same day? I have to compare my review with yours. ;) Oh I LOVED your review and so agree!

    I know that some people wanted Beth to go with Isaiah, but I actually wasn't one of them. To break free I knew that both had to look outside their group. So glad she did that and I can't wait to see what is in store for Isaiah! Can't wait to peel back his layers and find out his story!!

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  16. Oh, I loved DYT more so than PTL! Beth was so special and it was so easy for me to connect with her, specially because of the way she loved the mother selflessly even though her mom didn't deserve it. Ryan was perfect for Beth in every way and I'm so glad he was the one paired up with her instead of Isaish. Though I can't wait to read Isaiah's book. Great review, Jenny!

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  17. Gahhhh I five-star review!? I rated it 4.5, and my review is up soon ;) seriously though, how perfect is this story? I swear Katie speaks to my contemporary soul. Love your thoughts on this one, Jenny!

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  18. Yes!! I knew you'd love this too, Jenny! Ryan and Beth although an unexpected relationship were wonderful together! Brilliant review! :)

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  19. Yeah, I don't think I would have liked Beth if I just observed her from the outside. I'm so glad we got the chance to dig inside her head and see all of her complicated emotions like her love for her awful mother and her fears about being played by Ryan.

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  20. Hi, Jenny! Happy Memorial Day. I still almost tear up whenever I think about Noah's relationship with his brothers. This author writes such amazing characters, and I can't wait to read this. Fab review!!!

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  21. I'm so happy you loved this too! I agree with your review wholeheartedly. "The love between these pages doesn't seek to smooth out all the sharp edges, but it does give them a soft place to land, preventing those fragile points from shattering on impact." <---SO beautifully put! I love how Katie McGarry is able to write about love in such difficult circumstances without falling into cliches or taking the easy way out. This book absolutely blew me away. Thank you for your eloquent, beautiful review, you've expressed my feelings better than I could! :-)

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  22. Fantastic review! I completely agree. I loved this book (although some part of me loved Pushing the Limits a tad more) and Beth grew on me as the story progressed. Ryan was SOO swoon-worthy and you are right--he had his own monsters to fight as well. I can't wait for Isaiah's story!

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  23. ohhh, loved your review Jenny!! Pushing the Limits was one of my favs from last year, so I know Ill love this one too, Im moving it up on the TBR.

    ~Tina

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  24. Beautiful review Jenny and so agree McGarry really brings her characters alive and there is so much depth you cannot help but become emotionally invested. I cannot wait for book three!

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  25. Aw, I'm so glad you loved it! I liked the first book, although I have to admit I didn't think it was anything particularly special like most people did. (Which always makes me feel awkward!) :/ I wasn't really planning on picking this one up, but I might have to eventually. =)

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  26. Have not read this yet but it sounds like a really great to put in my TBR list.

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  27. I'm skimmed through this review because I don't want to be spoiled. Can't wait to read this one. I'm so happy by your 5 star rating. :)

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