Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To

“Give up on us if you need to, but don’t give up on you.”

“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….

Personal Thoughts:

When I first encountered Beth Risk character in Katie McGarry‘s debut novel Pushing the Limits as one of Noah’s best friend, I honestly didn’t like the girl. She’s kinda sounds bad news to me. So when I found out that Katie McGarry‘s next book, Dare You To is centered to her, I’m a bit skeptical. I assumed that the book will be about her and Noah’s other best friend Isaiah, who is already in love with her in Pushing the Limits. But upon reading the blurb of this book, I found out that it isn’t about Beth and Isaiah, as there is another guy in the picture. So curiosity for the new guy, Ryan Stone leads me to finally try the book and I am glad I did. As it turned out Dare You To is much better than Pushing the Limits.

In Dare You ToKatie McGarry give us a raw version of Beth Risk. She shows each layers of the tough and freak girl we first met in Pushing the Limits. As she peels Beth one layer at a time she open us to a better version of Beth. She unfastened every sides of Beth, from the tough outer appearance to the soft and broken girl that she is. Beth is all about building a tough facade but deep inside she is just a broken girl molded by the dark and vicious life she is living through. She rarely trust anyone because her past experience thought her not to. As her bad experiences escalates she becomes the hard Beth that we know in Pushing the Limits. But despite of her being the bad girl that everyone knows, it can’t be mistaken that she cares for her Mother and her friends. She will do anything for them, even give her own life.

“How many more of us are faking the facade? How many more of us are pretending to be something we’re not? Even better, how many of us will have the courage to be ourselves regardless of what others think?”

Beth doesn’t see who she really is as she is too busy showing to others the Beth that she wants other to see – the Beth that is tough and doesn’t need anyone’s help. But in reality she is just a broken soul that needs some saving and she needs other to see beyond her. There still hope for Beth because there are people who see her more than the tough package, like her Uncle Scott who gives her a chance for a clean slate and start over, Lacy who sees her the same girl that she was when they were a kids, and Ryan Stone who teach her how to trust again and show her that she can do better.

Ryan may not plan it but he sees Beth more than the physical appearance. It may all started as a dare but that dare is the reason why they are into each others life. He wanted to see what Beth’s Uncle Scott and Lacy see in Beth and in the process he see not only the real Beth, but also the potential that she has. He also saw the wall that Beth is building and he intend to demolish that wall no matter what it cost. He may not always understand Beth and her reasons but he never give up on Beth. His winning attitude is what really saves Beth, because Ryan don’t accept defeat. Like what he said, “he always win”, and he intend to win Beth whatever it takes.

“Beth feels likes this storm. Constant and persistent as a whole, but the more I get close and try to clutch the individual drops of rain, the more the water falls out of my hands.”

Like Beth it is easy to lose trust and be molded by our own circumstances in life. Life experiences and people has that capacity to change us. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for worst but no matter what we become we have our chances and choices and it is up to us to take what is best. It may be easy to stay on safe path, be where everyone expects us to be, but staying in the safe path doesn’t always mean the best nor happiness.

I understand Beth trust issues. I really do. Because when everyone you trust turn their back against you, it is really hard to give your trust again. Sometimes it leaves you a scar that reminds you to always hold your guard so you won’t be fooled again. But when you lose your trust to yourself, like what also happened to Beth, that is beyond self-salvaging. You need someone to show you that you can be trusted and that you can trust yourself. In this case, Ryan shows that to Beth. Beth made a lot of mistakes in the past and she is afraid that she is making bad choices again. She is scared that she’ll screwed all up again that’s why she wants the safe route. But Ryan shows her that she is capable of doing the right things. She can’t changed her past mistakes but she can start doing the right things now for her future.

“You’re a lot like that bird in the barn. You’re so scared you’re going to be caged in forever you can’t see the way out. You smack yourself against the wall again and again and again. The door is open, Beth, Stop running in circles and walk out.”

I’m really glad that Katie McGarry didn’t pair up Beth to Isaiah. Not that they don’t worth a shot, but because I know it would be hard for both of them. Maybe it will work for a while but I just can’t see any growth of characters if they end up together. I think they will just get stuck in their old life and bad habit of getting drunk or high. Also, it is too safe for Beth. Being with her best friends Isaiah and Noah is her safest ground but she can do better than be safe. She has so much potential and she needs to know that. Isaiah can’t give her the chance to see her real potential. Even if he really wants what is best for Beth, he is also one hindrance for Beth to get the best. I hope Isaiah will also find his own path to a better life, maybe not with Beth but I know he can. He is not a total lost after all. Like Beth he just need a chance.

I read this book twice in a row, and to be honest I think I’ll be reading the book again. It is not perfect, but there is something in Beth and Ryan’s story that is so addicting. I’m still trying to figure out what is it though. Katie McGarry‘s writing is not really grand or sophisticated but she obviously can write a story that can make you hooked from start to end. Her way with words is absorbing and engaging. I can feel every ounces of emotions her characters went through even the feelings that I usually keep on hold like Beth. I can relate so much to Beth and even to Ryan not because there is something in them that is similar with me, but because they feel so real, like jumping off the pages characters kind of real. It’s like I know them personally that’s why I’m rooting for both of them.

Laced with complex characters, deep and raw emotions, and an engaging plot, Dare You To is a beautiful story of a broken person who managed to see beyond the broken pieces. It is about love, trust, forgiveness and seeing beyond the outside appearance. It shows that sometimes there is so much more to others, and that we are responsible for our choices in life.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Australia via NetGalley

10 thoughts on “Dare You To by Katie McGarry”

  1. Great quotes! I also thought Dare You To was better than Pushing the Limits, but I actually liked Beth in the first book. She really made me laugh in DYT 🙂
    And you make a great point about her staying with Isaiah. She needed to get away from this environment.


    1. if you like Beth in Pushing the Limits then for sure you love her in this installment. She’s really funny and though. I like how Katie developed her character. She done it realistically.

      The next book is about Isaiah! cant wait to see how that guy will mature! I got high hopes for him and I know Katie will deliver! can’t wait to read that book according to Katie she’s still in the process of revising but I hope her publisher will release it at least early next year.


  2. Awesome review! I haven’t read the book yet or any book by Katie McGarry but I might try one soon because of this review. I’m a big fan of contemporary novels in YA and this one actually reminds me of Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry series which I really enjoy reading. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


    1. Thanks so much Kaye. If you enjoyed reading Simone Elkele’s Perfect Chemistry series I’m sure you’ll enjoy this series of Katie too. Especially this one, Dare You To. It’s well written and definitely engaging. Try this, I think you’ll like it.


  3. AHHHHH LUCKY YOU THAT YOU’VE READ THIS!!!! I cannot wait, and I’m so glad to see it’s as emotionally intense and the character are as complex and layered as those in Pushing the Limits. Love your entire last paragraph – beautiful:)


    1. Thanks Jen. I requested the eBook from NetGaylley! I can’t wait long enough for the released date 🙂 I’m so glad that the publisher approved my request. I don’t visit much NetGalley but when I found out that this book is available from them, I can’t help but try requesting, after a day my request was approved. SO happy!

      For sure you’ll love this book Jenny. I remember reading your review for Pushing the Limits last year and I know you love that one. So for sure you’l like this too. This one is much better, well, at least for me.

      I hope you’ll be able to read and review the book too. I’d love to hear your thoughts for this one.


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