Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

I was going to try and write a balanced review of DareYou To by Katie McGarry. Yeah. That’s not happening. There’s simply just no bad for me to balance the good with. This was all good. This was all so good.

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...

From the synopsis you know that the story is about Beth, who has more issues than there are hours in a day, and Ryan who has his share of them. The difference between the two is that Beth carries her problems with her like a cloak in the middle of summer, while with Ryan nobody except his family know. These issues are the driving force in the story of how they ended up together, and the emotional stakes make it a rollercoaster of a read. I love unlikely love stories, and Dare You To gave this to me with a whole lot of kick.

I was instantly drawn to Beth, which is something that doesn’t happen often since I don’t really connect with most stories I read. I don’t have to, to enjoy what I’m reading, but when I did this time, it made such a difference to my reading experience. I have now also developed a healthy soft spot Ryan. I really hope we get to see more of him in the future. He’s an honest-to-goodness good guy and I would have him at my back any day of the week. I also want to take a moment and acknowledge Isaiah. What a badass. I loved him and my heart ached a little when Beth shot him down, even though I knew that Ryan was the right one for her and that he has a story of his own coming up.

Aside from the characters being so opposite that they ended up complimenting each other perfectly, the story flowed incredibly well. I kept on expecting decisions and actions to take me in the clichéd direction, but they ended up driving the story in a totally different one. I appreciated it. More than once I thought that this would make one damn fantastic movie.

Dare You To gets top marks from me, somebody who tends to stay away from contemp. I’m so incredibly happy that I picked this one up and can’t wait to read more from Katie McGarry. I’m a fan for life. If you love a good YA contemporary romance with kick, go pick up a copy immediately. You won’t regret it.

A big thank you to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for the review copy. I honestly appreciate it.


An side(personal musings), because books made me think about things.

When I requested the ARC of NetGalley I fully expected it to be rejected and was very happily surprised when I was approved for a copy. I’ll admit I don’t read a lot of contemporary because I like my reading to be as far from reality as possible. Reading is my escape and sometimes contemp hits too close to home.

But then I stumble across books like Dare You To, and before it Garage Boy by Erin Fletcher(coming to you from Entangled), I think twice about skipping contemp novels. The thing with contemp romance is that the stakes are very personal and a person can learn so much from reading stories like this, especially when it’s written in 1st person. It makes it worth the time spent reading them.

Beth is all kinds of messed up, which is exactly how I like my main characters. I have this tendency to like unlikable characters, which probably makes her likable to me. I’m not a big fan of the phrase ‘unlikable character’ because the world is filled with people who aren’t liked for whatever reason. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is unlikable or there isn’t some way for somebody to relate to that person. Aside from the swearing(which I do when I get angry) and the moving around, I have very little in common with Beth. But I adore her. I understand where she comes from and why she does what she does. I might have felt some of what she’s dealing with a time or two, and probably still do.

If you've read Dare You To, drop me a comment and let me know what you thought.

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