Dare You To by Katie McGarry

 
Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)I read fewer contemporary novels than sci-fi, steampunk, paranormal and high fantasy, and don’t usually pick up the highly charged emotional novels, because they often descend into the sort of melodrama that causes my eyes to roll up to the ceiling. Yet Pushing the Limits was a real page-turner despite the drama and immediately placed Katie McGarry in my top three addictive writers list – joining Jennifer L.Armentrout and Brigid Kemmerer. Whatever it is about them, when I saw Dare You To on Netgalley, I had to request a copy 🙂

We first met Beth in Pushing the Limits, where she went out of her way to be as unpleasant as possible. Despite her confrontational methods, her friendship with Noah and Isaiah hinted at her ability to be a good friend. This story tells us exactly why Beth is such a hard cookie. 

The book mentions that Beth’s uncle ‘swoops’ in to give her a chance at a new life, but don’t expect Beth to be happy about it. You’d think finally having to only worry about school would be appreciated by Beth, but Katie McGarry does a great job at showing just how complex people can be. Beth’s angrier than ever in her new life, and the last thing she needs is ‘perfect’ boy Ryan Stone trying to charm her. 

The book is a page-turner. Indeed, the scenes and dialogue that pulled this story are suffused by angst, but Katie McGarry makes it work. When you get into the heads of the characters, you can understand how they’ve come to distrust having opportunities. You understand why they would choose to live in the shadows rather than come out into the light.

The images portrayed by Ryan and Beth are opposites, and the jock and the skater girl make for a surprisingly tender couple. The side-kicks for these likeable characters are a great supporting cast, and the conversations and interactions with family members brings out the intricate complexity of Beth and Ryan’s personalities. 

We move from scenes in Beth’s new high school – Ryan’s playground – to her new life with her uncle. Then we head off to Ryan’s dysfunctional family life, and back to the horror of the non-family life Beth’s been leading, to her friendships with Noah and Isaiah. It’s a compelling read, and I’d recommend it to fans of YA/ new adult, contemporary romance.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin (UK) for my advanced reader copy, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

 

14 Comments

  1. EEEEEEEEKKK! I loved this book so much- while Beth did get under my skin at times, Katie still did a marvellous job. This is one of my favourite contemporaries, glad you enjoyed it too!

    Stunning review, Katja! <33

  2. I really don’t read contemporary fiction much since I prefer speculative reads. But your review makes me want to hurry up and read it.

    I also loved the sample of her writing. Wonderful review.

  3. I completely agree that this is a total page turner, which surprises me in a contemporary! I really loved Beth and Ryan, and thought the supporting characters were wonderful too, though I did wish Beth would stop putting her life in danger for her mother. “Beth’s mother demonstrates how not to win the “Parent of a Lifetime” award”<—YES! She is pretty much the worst character, in both this and PTL. Fabulous review Katja! 🙂

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