Early Review : Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Title : Dare You To
Author : Katie McGarry
Genre : Contemporary
Expected Publication : May 28th 2013
Publisher : Harlequin Teen
Pages : 462

Source : Publisher via Netgalley
Rating : ✿✿✿✿

From Goodreads :
Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"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....


After finishing Pushing the Limits, I was actually quite pessimistic about starting Dare You to, because : One, I don't really like Beth. And Two : I'm afraid that this book would have a book-two-syndrome. You know, when the first book was so amazingly great and you have had high expectation, and the the second book was so amazingly horrid?
But, the nice surprise for me was : I actually really loved the overall concept of this book once I decided to give it a try. Starting the story from a simple dare that turned out complicated, it really added the real feeling to it, because life was—in reality—not well-scripted. And also, Beth was not as horrible as I thought she was. Great, even, actually.

"It's our rain, Beth."

Dare You to focused on the life of Beth Risk—the side character from the first book Pushing the Limits—as she covered her mother crime and was arrested. Bailed by her now-rich, long-lost uncle, she was once again free under the conditions. That she must cut off the connection from her past slum-and-drug life, and that she had to move and live with her uncle.
But when past came back and haunted her life, and it forced her to choose : Between the new fun life, or the old safe one. Or between the safe Isaiah, or the rollercoaster ride Ryan, how will Beth made her choice?

The character was where I totally fell in love with Katie McGarry's novel all over again. She always wrote a character who we would love to read and root for, but at the same time had a horrible life we wouldn't want to live on. And that's the real extra point for me : the character that had a real problem, and life was not at all a fairy tale.

The main character, especially Beth Risk, was really well-rounded and three-dimensional. Her grungy personality was unique and stood out from the rest, and she also had a nice background story that supported her characteristic well.
One thing I really love from Beth was how she wouldn't react to a certain situation with the typical reaction. She stood on her ground and acted strong, but when she did break, her soft side also shown and made it easy for us to sympathize with her.
I also really can relate with the other main character Ryan Stone, and felt what he felt as well. When he was anxious and waiting, I waited as well, and when he got excited, I felt happy for him as well. It's not easy to make us feel what the character feels, but with Ryan, I really experienced his up and down within me.
I also love how he truly portrayed a real people, not like the typical jock character out there with their typical attitude and all that. It was interesting to read that even though his family looked perfect, it was actually crumbling on the inside. That despite his good looks, he actually had no idea when it come to girls. And no matter how strong and badass he might looked at school, he was still just a mere brat against the real world. 
See? I love the realistic feelings he brought to this book. And the plus thing was, he was so totally sweet he was officially swoon-worthy.

The side characters, however, such as Chris, Logan, and Lacy was a bit let down. Sure, they all have their own part on this story, but it seemed like that's all. They played their part, made the story goes and wheeled it forward, and then boom, the end. The details about them was told with a fleeting one sentence, and throughout the whole story, I really can't pictured them clearly on my head, except for their status as Ryan's friend and Beth's friend.

I also love how McGarry finally decided to pay attention to small and trivial things on this book, such as a strip of ribbon or a bottle of rainwater. When it might not give a real huge impact on the stories, it did enhanced the feelings and made us pulled into it even more.

The thing that I'm not really fond of this book was the way its ending wrapped up way too nicely. For one problem, Beth and Ryan had to really really struggle, and for another, they simply had to said something, and it was done, and it made me feel like just "That's it?".
And while this whole novel really supported realism, I founded that in the end, the real feeling was a bit lacking. Even when Beth did nothing, and Ryan said nothing either, the mean girl was punished. Where in real life, karma wouldn't be that nice to us and she wouldn't be punished unless we said something. So if from the beginning, it all felt so real, so why didn't it now?

Overall, Dare You to was really a satisfying read for both Katie McGarry's fan like me or a first-time reader. As the second book, it really lived up my expectations, and if you want to read a contemporary novel with strong and solid characters, as well as a swoon-worthy romance and intriguing storyline, you should totally give this one a try.

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  1. Great review. I also loved Pushing The Limits and I'm glad to hear that McGarry didn't disappoint with Dare You To. I'm even more eager to get my hands on this book after reading what you had to say about it.

  2. I love your review. I absolutely loved this book. Katie McGarry has a way of making her teenage characters be relevant to adults too. That's pretty awesome.


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