Dare You To by Katie McGarry

5/5 Stars
Published by Harlequinn Teen
Published May 28th, 2013

Synopsis:  Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."
"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"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....

*swoons* I knew I would love this book, but I didn't think I would love it as much as I did. With Pushing The Limits being one of my favorite contemporary novels, probably ever, I knew it would be hard to compete, but Dare You To knocked my socks off. Katie McGarry is wonderful at pulling you into her story with great characters, a thrilling plot-line, and lots and lots of kissing. I'm sure most people would look at the covers of the books in this series and label it as a stereotypical romance book, but it lies far from that. There is so much substance in the plot, so much dimension to these characters and the way they work, and a writing style that does not allow you to stop. Within literally the span of two books, Katie McGarry became an author who is at the top of my radar. I must note that these books do deal with abuse, so please take caution if you decide to pick them up. 

I thought the cast of characters in Dare You To excellently captured the essence of a group of high school friends. They go out to parties, they look out for each other, and they crack jokes at the most inappropriate moments, which sounds exactly like friendship to me. Beth Risk is a fierce main character, with a personality that has her living unapologetically. From the snippets of Beth we got in Pushing The Limits, it's hard to picture a soft layer underneath the tough walls she built up, but we learn that there is far more to Beth than the eye can see. I thought this was one heck of a character development, which I love seeing throughout books and especially during times of hardship. She opens herself up to people she thought she could never trust and in turn, eventually learns to trust herself. Ryan is not your stereotypical jock/athlete. In addition to this love of baseball, Ryan has a deep appreciation for the art of writing. I thought this was a great depiction of how stereotypical high school students don't always stick to the status quo (wow is this high school musical??) and veer out of their comfort zones. Together, these two bring out the best in each other. They discover themselves as individuals, what it means to be happy in a stable environment, and learn to trust each other - allowing them to be able to find the courage to stand up for what is right for themselves.

Dare You To, again, deals with a lot of heavy concepts, but I think Katie McGarry writes it in a very sensitive style, that shows how aware she is of the depth of these topics. I am very happy with the way she approached them - allowing it to be fully understood, without it being too overwhelming for readers. In addition to that, the books in this series are so addicting. Once you start, you cannot put it down! For the first three books I have read in this series, I have stayed up past at least 3 in the morning. There is something so delectable about the relationships in the book, then you add it to the intensity of the story and its subplots, and you're hooked for a wild ride. Also, it has been approximately three months since I read Pushing The Limits, but ever since I've been back at school and have only been reading my biology textbook, I have only wanted to read Katie McGarry books. I must be in this crazy reading slump that only her romance books can get me out of, but they are literally magic, you guys. I have a deep appreciation for the immense amount of feelings these books bring me and can only be optimistic for the future of these characters and book series. If you are looking for a book with a fiery, passionate romance and provoking plot, then pick up Pushing The Limits now!