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Dare You To

Dare You To - Katie McGarry Originally Reviewed At: Mother/Gamer/WriterRating: 5 ControllersReview Source: NetGalleyReviewer: MeDare You To is a gut-wrenching tale of pushing the limits, relinquishing control, and finding yourself in order to become who you are meant to be. I knew going in this novel would be explosive. Last year, Pushing the Limits was one of my top reads of 2012 and rocked my Contemporary Romance socks off. Dare You To is no different. The subject matters and themes of the novel are razor-sharp tough but also a reality for some of today’s youth. Not everyone lives a glamorous rock star life and others function just enough to make it through the day. And Dare You To doesn’t touch lightly on these gritty subjects. It thrusts you into the middle of Beth and Ryan’s struggles and forces you to live them angrily, crying, and in fits of rage and passion as they do. Coming from a group of misfits with troubled (and that’s putting it mildly) pasts, I knew Beth was going to be a character that would melt my heart right off the pages. Her skin is so thick and heart so closed off to others except the few she allows in, it was hard to imagine anyone cracking or causing a small tear in her I-will-beat-your-a$$-if-you-even-look-at-me exterior. Her home life is brutal. And I’m sure anyone who’s dealt with an alcoholic parent or relative can relate. The constant torment caused by her mothers’ addiction left invisible flesh wounds on Beth’s skin. But like any kid, she still craved her mother’s love and would do anything to save her mother from herself. This unconditional love lands Beth at a new school and living with an uncle – and his new wife – both of whom she despises. It even puts her in the path of the all-American high school baseball star, Ryan. Although I thought her love interest would be someone else, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I began to adore Ryan. He too was in a rut. Attempting to please his parents, Ryan does what he’s told even if he doesn’t agree. Reeling from the abandonment of his brother, Ryan only wants to play ball and make his parents happy. On the outside he personifies everything a kid should strive to be. While on the inside he’s holding onto hope and dreams of bringing his family back together and living a life he’s chosen and not one that his parents chose for him. And when he meets Beth, the niece of a famous town baseball player, he views her as his ticket in and a way to make everyone happy. This seems to work until he starts to fall for the girl with the filthy mouth, unlikable personality, and nose ring. Katie McGarry knows how to write and portray rich, passionate, raw characters. The entire ensemble in the book felt real. Like you could pluck them out and place them in any home down the street. The love story is simply amazing and you’ll find yourself rooting for them until the very end and then wanting more long after it’s done. I can’t give this series enough praise. Even though Dare You To works as a standalone title, I do recommend reading Pushing the Limits because it too is an epic read and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one in the series, Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits, #3) . *swoon*