Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dare You To ~ Katie McGarry (earc) review

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Harlequin Teen
May 28, 2013
456 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

It all starts out on a dare . . . then it becomes much more.

Beth is keeping a secret. A secret that, if found out, would send her mother to jail and Beth, herself, well she's not sure where. So, for now, at least, she's stuck living with uncle.

Bailing Beth out of jail, Scott, her uncle, tells Beth she can move in with him and leave her life -- including her mother and Isiah -- behind, or she risks her mother's freedom. Willing to protect her mother above all else, She's living with an uncle who's been gone for years, an aunt who doesn't seem to want her around and spending a day at a school where no one understands. Except, maybe, for one guy.

Ryan seems to be the All-American guy. The all-star jock with the perfect family and great girlfriend potential. Except he, too, has a secret he can't tell anyone. None of his friends know his secret.

They do know the dare, though. It's just another one of the endless dares and pranks that they give each other to pass the time, not supposed to mean anything -- bot soon it does, leading to to so much more than Beth, Ryan, or anyone else could have ever expected.

The dare? For Ryan get the 'skater girl' who just walked into the Taco Bell to give him her number.

Like Pushing the Limits, Dare You To throws together two characters who don't seem to have much in common: Beth with her troubled life, her mother, and how she acts; Ryan with her seemingly easygoing life, love of sports and how he acts -- and throws them together.

The reasoning for the characters repeatedly having to spend time together, here, made sense. The explanation for Beth's not simply running back home worked and also explained why other parts of the story happened how they didn't. Yet, it kept her character from being complacent or just giving up. It was just enough.

Ryan's motivation wasn't quite as complex, but it still worked. It was logical and kept things flowing. As the story progressed and we found out more about the characters' pasts - and presents - their interactions developed more depth and emotion, both for Ryan and Beth and for readers. They were keeping secrets from each other but also, in some ways, from themselves.

'Dare' stories have been hit or miss for me since 10 Things I Hate About You (the movie, not the show). They can either go really wrong or really right. This one went right. Partially, at least, because the characters didn't have an immediate change of heart about each other. That such a large portion of the story involved them being adversarial towards each other -- while this was, still, a romance -- was a definite strength of Dare You To.

They had a lot to overcome, both individually and together and for Beth and Ryan to move past either their own issues or those they had as a 'couple' without due course would have been detrimental or flat our ruined the story. They took their time and it made for a great tale.

Pushing the Limits did leave things looking like Beth's story might go somewhere else, but after reading Dare You To it's clear that she did need this different story and I'm eager to read Crash Into You and see where Isiah's story goes.

Rating: 8/10

Soundtrack:  Bottle of Rain by Tony Lucca; Farmer's Daughter (Explicit Version) by Crystal Bowersox; Run by Pink

thank you to the publisher for the egalley via NetGalley

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