Sunday, February 17, 2013
REVIEW: Dare You To by Katie McGarry
And while Pushing the Limits still has that slight edge over this book, Dare You To was still a really addictive read that managed to pull at my heartstrings in very subtle ways. Dare You To is a companion novel to Pushing the Limits, featuring Noah's messed-up friend, Beth and her struggles with her new family and living situation after she is arrested trying to protect her mother. Moving to Groveton to live with her estranged uncle is a huge change for her, and so is falling for her complete opposite, golden boy and baseball pitcher, Ryan.
I think, like most of us, I was a little bit uncertain starting this book knowing that it isn't a love story between Beth and Isaiah, as I thought it might be. Beth and Isaiah seemed pretty close and definitely on Isaiah's side, it seemed like there was more than just friendship going on. And as much as there is this emotional connection and history between the Beth and Isaiah, I loved how Beth's relationship with Ryan seemed to help her to move towards something better for herself and her life. I was completely sold on the idea of them from the beginning and that did surprise me a little bit.
Before I began reading this book, I also wasn't sure if I'd really warm to Beth as a character. In Pushing the Limits she seemed a bit abrasive and as though her attitude would really get in the way of anyone getting close to her. But as this story went along, I found myself really loving Beth. She's been through more than her fair share of crappiness in her life and yes, there is an attitude and bad language and her really blunt way of speaking. But I also just seemed to get her. All of the hideous experiences that Beth's had growing up with an alcoholic mother with bad taste in men and the way in which she's had to look out for both herself and her mom for such a long time leads Beth to have very little faith or trust in the people around her. But we definitely do see a much softer side to her... a girl who likes ribbons and sticks up for her friends and worries that this thing with Ryan is all just a set-up to be further humiliated. I wanted to give Beth a big hug throughout most of Dare You To and tell her everything was going to be okay, even if I was never sure that it would be.
And Ryan! I do love Ryan. He seems perfect, just like Beth keeps calling him, but of course he isn't. He's struggling with his own family problems after his parents disown Ryan's older brother when he comes out as gay. And Ryan's under a lot of pressure from his father to push himself to be the best baseball pitcher ever so that he go into the pros after graduation. But after placing in a writing competition, Ryan seems unsure if the path that his father has laid out for him is one that Ryan really wants...
The whole dare thing and this thing Ryan has with winning and losing grated on me slightly, as did all the sappiness with the L word. But both of those things weren't enough to put me off this really great love story between two very different people. I loved the people around both Beth and Ryan, from Scott Beth's uncle to Chris and Logan Ryan's two best friends and I loved seeing Beth form a life in Groveton that is miles healthier than what she left behind.
I can't wait to read more from Katie McGarry and I'm absolute desperate now to find out what will happen in Crash Into You, Isaiah's story. Now there's a boy who needs a good cuddle and a happy ending!