Thursday, May 30, 2013

ARC Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication: Harlequin Teen (May 28, 2013)

Description: "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….

My Thoughts: DARE YOU TO is an emotionally intense story with two very likable main characters. Ryan Stone looks like the perfect kid—a real golden boy. He is handsome; his parents are well-off; he is a star baseball player. But no one sees the hidden Ryan with constant pressure from his parents to be perfect. They don't see the fights that are constant between his parents. They don't see the older brother who was kicked out the house when he told his parents he was gay. They don't see the kid who is torn between his father's constant pressure to become a pro baseball player out of high and the possibility that he could go to college to further his gift as a very talented writer.

Beth Risk is the girl from the wrong side of town with Goth make-up and a real potty mouth. They don't see the kid who has had to be the adult in her relationship with her alcoholic, drug-addicted mother. They don't see the kid who is afraid to trust because everyone she trusted betrayed her. They don't see the kid who can't understand why anyone would love her.

Beth and Ryan meet because his friends dare him to ask "the Skater chick" for her phone number. She shoots him down which really irks Ryan because he hates to lose at anything. But then Beth shows up as the new kid at his high school. When Beth gets in trouble with the cops by taking the blame for something her mother did, her Uncle Scott, now retired from his pro baseball career, swoops in and convinces her mother to give him custody so that he can give Beth a better life. 

Beth goes through all kinds of adjustments as she moves in with her uncle and his wife. She doesn't want to be there because she knows her mother needs her to protect her from the abusive boyfriend who has beaten both of them. She doesn't want to try to fit in at a new school. And she sure doesn't want to spend any time with Ryan when she learns that he is trying to get close to her to win a dare.

It takes a lot of time and missteps and miscommunication before Ryan and Beth come together. Both of them grow and change a lot during the course of the story. Fans of romance will really enjoy getting to know Ryan and Beth and will love reading their story.

Favorite Quote:
Noah told me once that I have a gift that borders on supervillain status—the ability to push people past the edge of sanity. The way Scott releases another breath and rubs his forehead tells me I'm pushing him hard. Good.
I got this eARC from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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