"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....
Before I start this review, I just want to say HUGE thank you to Harlequin UK for giving me an arc of this book through netgalley, I totally wasn't expecting to get it so thank you again. You guys are very generous and I squealed upon seeing my request getting approved :) So without further ado, let the review begin.
“This overwhelming, encompassing feeling is love. It's not perfect and it's messy as hell. And it's exactly what I need.”
EEP. SO MANY FEELS. Katie McGarry has done it yet again. Damn lady, you're quickly becoming one of my favourite authors of all time. She's gone ahead and created yet another emotional, unforgettable and gut-wrenching story between who utterly messed up yet absolutely perfect characters.
We see Beth Risk a.k.a Skater Girl who is whisked away from her troubled world in Louisville and is sent to live in a small rural town with her uncle Scott, a former baseball player who played for the New York Yankees. Beth is dark. Spiky. Rude. Snappy. Bitchy. Condescending. Think of a small angry goth girl with tattoos, dyed black hair and a nose piercing. Yep, that's her. Ugh, I just loved Beth. She is brutally honest, to the point of where someone's feelings are hurt, swears a shit load and protective of her mother, despite her mother letting her down over and over again. Beth is a deeply misunderstood character who is quickly judged by most people in the small town of Groveton (think of Stepford wives, Sunday dinners, church committee meetings... yep, that's Groveton down pat) and quickly puts her defences up when it comes to meeting new people, not willing to risk getting hurt again due to an incident that happened when she was just a vulnerable fifteen year old. She was frustrating at times with all the patronising remarks she made about Echo and how she was quick to judge Allison (admittedly Allison DID judge her as well), the fact that all of her decisions seemed to revolve around her deadbeat, heroin-addicted mother who isn't a healthy influence on her at all and how she's so unwilling of accepting trust for what it is. But she's damaged and all she needs is someone to take care of her, to be free of responsibility.
Enter the Taco Bell Boy, Ryan Stone. Ryan is your quintessential all-American boy jock who's destined to have a great baseball career and then settle in his McMansion with his pretty blonde wife and their 2.5 children frolicking in their yard with their pet dog. His parents are respected members of the community and his dad seems to be a dead cert for mayor of the town. All of this is a facade. His parents fight. His dad demands too much of him. His brother is the black (well, gay) sheep of the family and is no longer living with them. The author did a great job of demonstrating the inner turmoil in his life and I really appreciated that, he was my favourite character. Let me just say, I pretty much liked Ryan right from the start when we got that excerpt at the end of Pushing the Limits - he seemed like your average, flirty jock with a great sense of humour. My suspicions were right; he is conceited to a point and is your typical jock but he is a contrast of all sorts. He is also sweet, caring and has a great love for creative writing which was a breath of fresh air amongst all the one-dimensional jocks in Young Adult fiction. He knew what he wanted in his life, who he wanted in his life; there was no naffing about on his part and I liked that. Ryan helps Beth grow and develop as a person and helps her see the meaning of trust again and I found that incredibly sweet, how he was so willing to accept her, prickly demeanour and all.
“There are times when you stand on the cusp of moments so huge, you know you'll remember them forever. This is that moment for me and for Ryan.”
I also loved Beth's uncle Scott. Scott is fairly young for an adult (he was twelve when Beth was born), grew up in a trailer park and messed around with trailer park girls before making it to the pros with the New York Yankees and ended up marrying a woman who was the exact opposite of the girls he used to hook up with. Despite Beth rebelling against him and him also ranting back at her in return, he was that tough yet loving authority figure that Beth had always needed and craved for and provides her with the kind of caring, familial love that she had always yearned for.
Damn, I gotta say I feel sorry for Isaiah. Dude was friendzoned majorly. Although I was rooting for Beth and Ryan the whole way right from the start, my heart went out for him when Beth rejected him. He deserves a girl that is in love with him and not just on a friendship level - but I didn't feel too badly seeing that there was a sequel about him called Crash into You. CANNOT WAIT. I'm sure he'd get his happy ending then. But I've got a long wait, seeing as this book isn't technically out yet. Damn.
Dare You To is a fantastic read with a badass chick who doesn't stand for bullshit and is chockfull of sexual tension and scenes that are sure to make you swoon. What more could you want?
RATING: 4.5/5 stars