Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

I got the ARC of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley free of charge – thank you very much! Of course that fact didn’t influence my review in any way.
Beth Risk is…a risky girl. Small wonder – she lives with a mother addicted to drugs who constantly chooses bad guys and never hesitates to bring them home. The acquaintance with Beth means only one thing: shame and troubles. The girl herself seems to follow the steps of her only parent – she has already slept with different guys who dumped her in no time. She drinks  and smokes pot. What’s more, Beth feels responsible for her mom and sometimes intervenes when a particularly nasty boyfriend  hurts her. She seems unaware that it should be completely the other way round – mothers are here to protect their kids. Dysfunctional doesn’t even starts to cover their relationship.
One night Ryan Stone tries to pick Beth up in a Taco Bell joint. It was a dare between him and his buddies – chat that strange chick up, although she has ‘mean’ written all over her face, and make her give you her name and phone number. Ryan loses and he hates losing so he decides to try and try again – especially when Beth moves to his home town and happens to be related to one of local baseball heroes, Scott Risk.
Ryan is a high school baseball star – an excellent player, a boy from a good family every father would like to greet as his daughter’s boyfriend. When he falls for Beth, though, he meets a wall of distrust and worry. Will he be able to overcome it? Will Beth allow him to do so?
What I liked:
I am very happy to inform you that, in my humble opinion the second part was better than Pushing the Limits. Firstly I liked its heroine, Beth, far more than Echo – she was more edgy, more conflicted and dark. Secondly I liked the pacing – especially the fact that the romance between Beth and Ryan developed slowly and we were given the opportunity to know them before they actually hooked up.
I also liked how the feelings between Beth and Ryan influenced their lives – especially Ryan’s family life, not so perfect as it seemed at the very beginning.
What I didn’t like:
Firstly I might repeat my main grievance from the previous book: the chapters narrated by Ryan sometimes read as narrated by a girl. Not by Beth, fortunately, but by a girl nevertheless. They were better than Noah’s chapters from the previous part but still not persuasive enough.
The author kept Beth’s silent admirer and companion, Isaiah, from the first book and created something almost like a love triangle. Keeping him was fine, love triangle – not so much. That ‘almost’ word saved the novel but honestly, how many times a girl must say ‘I love you like a FRIEND’ so the boy gets the message? Especially that from the sneak peek included at the end of the ARC I know Isaiah is going to have a book on his own and he is going to fall in love with a different girl. How it is supposed to work? No idea.
Some fragments of the novel felt a bit overlong – I admit I did skim over such scenes as girls’ bonding and adjusting to new school or arguing with friends over some trust issues or baseball-speak of Ryan.
I mentioned earlier that I liked Beth…yes I did, most of the time. Still there were moments when she felt too clean and almost too innocent for such an experienced character.
Final verdict:
A nice YA romance (sic!) which I requested on a whim and started reading without expecting anything good at all. It proved to be quite decently written, with interesting characterization and characters which made sense. I hope the third part will be even better although I am not a big Isaiah fan.
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6 Responses to Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

  1. heidenkind says:

    Have you ever read Going Too Far? I think you would really enjoy that one.

  2. Nope, will try that one.

  3. rameau says:

    Hey, now. You two. …yeah.

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