Dare You To - Katie McGarry
Synopsis: 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 fell in love with Katie McGarry's writing and storytelling in Pushing the Limits. I had very high expectations going in to Dare You To and McGarry definitely met all of them. She has the power and skill to create such well-rounded characters that feel as though they are really off living their lives somewhere. Even after I finished Pushing the Limits, I would find myself, days later, thinking about Echo and Noah and what they were up to now. I felt the same way after finishing Dare You To - Ryan and Beth don't disappear when you close the book.
Ryan stole my heart in the first page of this book. He is the ultimate. I love baseball, I love writing, and I don't know why I didn't realize before - but OF COURSE the most perfect boy on the planet is an extraordinary pitcher and an eloquent writer. Plus, he's daring and sweet. He knows exactly what he wants and he's not afraid to fight for it. I could write poetry about this boy. If I could sing, I would definitely sing songs about him. I love him, I love him, I love him.
Overkill? Nah. He really is all kinds of amazing.
Beth was frustrating in so many ways, but you can't help but totally be on her side. It's hard because sometimes she seems so determined to keep doing things that make her miserable or to help the people who hurt her, and she seems completely blind to the good things in her life. But the flip side of that is that she's wonderfully stubborn, determined and fiercely loyal. And she balances Ryan out so nicely. She makes him step up and fight for what he wants and she makes him fight for her. Where she teaches him to fight, he shows her that her life doesn't have to be a constant struggle.
I love the way they come together. Their relationship happens organically, it starts out slowly and then it just happens all of a sudden. I like the way the dares play into their story as well. It's a way for Ryan and his friends to just be boys - to be competitive and to liven up a small town. But Ryan meets Beth because of one of those dares, but where it matters, he's totally up front about it. Even where they both seem to self-sabotage, they still manage to turn it around to make their relationship strong and real.
One more thing I love about Katie McGarry's books is the way that adults come in to play. She writes really strong adults that come in and do their best to help out the teens in their lives. In Dare You To, it's Beth's uncle who is just amazing and he puts up with so much just to make sure Beth's life will improve.
This was another amazing book from Katie and I can't wait to meet the other characters she has waiting in her brain for a chance to spring to life. The same way I still occasionally think about what Echo and Noah are up to, I know I'll be thinking of Beth and Ryan and wishing they're happy. I have a feeling that as Katie keeps writing, I'm going to have a group of friends that I'll have to keep reminding myself are fictional.