Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: Young Adult, Chick-lit
"I dare you..."Review by Nara
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....
Thank you to Harlequin (UK) Ltd for sending me an advance copy of Dare You To through NetGalley. In no way did this affect my opinion of the book.
Note: Cover provided was obtained from Goodreads and may not be the final cover from this publisher.
"It is the beautiful bird which gets caged."- Old Chinese Proverb
When first reading the novel, it isn't obvious who the above epigraph is talking about. Is it Ryan, who is "caged" by expectations and perfection, or is it Beth who is "caged" by her home circumstances? From the blurb, Dare You To almost seems a bit like Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (or the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, if that's more your style). However, the similarity ends there, with McGarry creating two powerful characters reminiscent of Josh and Nastya from The Sea of Tranquility.
A rarity in the world of contemporary young adult novels, in Dare You To, there is an interesting reversal of genders of the virginal girl and the bad boy, i.e. Beth takes over the role of the "bad boy" and Ryan is the (somewhat) pure one (it was nice to know that not all young adult male love interests are man-whores). Ryan and Beth were both great characters due to their depth- much like in Pushing the Limits, McGarry's first novel, the secrets of the main characters were slowly revealed, and these secrets were actually good ones (unlike in some other books I could mention *cough The Thing About the Truth*). Beth was somewhat frustrating, but you understand why she acts the way she does when her background is revealed. The romance was built up well, with no instalove and, thank God, without the incredibly tacky twist where the girl finds out it was only a dare and is distraught and the guy has to complete 12 labours in order to win her back. (Side note: Bottle of Rain <3)
Dare You To is written with a dual narrative perspective, alternating between Beth's and Ryan's points of view. A minor issue that I found was that the narrators sometimes sounded like the same person, with not much of a difference in their narrative voices. Another minor issue was that, perhaps because we don't see things from their points of view, I found the secondary characters all pretty bland.
Although the book was slow at the start, the pace swiftly quickened, with it being quite obvious to the reader where the climax was leading, but at least it wasn't overly dramatised and annoying. There was quite a bit of drama, and it was nice to see it all finally resolve in the end. I will be eagerly awaiting Isiaiah's story in Crash Into You.
1. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
2. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
3. A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger