Review: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

Katie McGarry
Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 28, 2013

From the back cover:

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…

I expected to like this book more than I did. I really WANTED to like it more than I did.  Katie McGarry’s debut, PUSHING THE LIMITS, while enjoyable, dragged heavily for me in the middle, and unfortunately, I had the same trouble with her second book, DARE YOU TO. Ms. McGarry’s books always seem to start out with an emotional bang, but halfway through, I find myself losing interest, waiting and waiting for something to happen to get the story moving.

In DARE TO  YOU’s case, the book spends so long setting up back story upon back story that when I finally got to the reveal of Beth’s big, emotional scar that she’d carried since she was a child, well, I admit to feeling a bit gypped by it all. The secret involving her dad just didn’t feel believable to me, and there was so much back-and-forth between Beth and EVERYONE else in the book, that it got a little exhausting to deal with, even for the reader.

However, I appreciated Katie McGarry taking on an atypical heroine. Beth is extremely rough around the edges and yet she has a good heart and the desire to do the right thing. Her vulnerability was, in truth, the main thing that kept me reading. In the end, I liked it and found it enjoyable, but I didn’t love it.

DARE TO YOU will appeal to fans of edgy contemporary YA romance who like their stories filled with lots of angst.


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