Friday, July 12, 2013

Dare You this book without loving it!

Book:  Dare You To
Author:  Katie McGarry
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Date:  Now available
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  A+

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....(cover and description from

Initial reaction
Oh. My. God.

Cover Story
These damn kissing covers are starting to really tick me off!  I mean, I know there’s more sexual tension in this book than in a lot of YA, but this cover makes it look like it should be shelved over in the Romance section with all the shirtless firemen, cowboys and Highlanders!  This book has substance!  Give me a cover with substance!  ::steps down from soapbox::

What’s the Story?
I avoided reading Pushing the Limits last year.  Even when I saw that all the bloggers in the universe were loving it.  I just thought to myself, “Self, it can’t be that good.  And look at that raunchy cover.  This is really bad smut romance disguised as YA.”  Then, I saw this one on Netgalley and thought “Oh, what the heck!  A little smut never hurt anyone and besides, I’m going to order these for my library, so I should probably check them out.”

If myself could beat up myself, I would totally be doing that.  This book was NOT a raunchy YA smut-fest.  This book made me laugh and cry and feel something.  It’s true that there was more sexual tension than in the average YA book and there is the actual deed, but it was not like a bad romance novel.  Of course, this book also deals with drug and alcohol abuse, crimes, domestic violence, bad marriages, families torn apart by views on homosexuality, etc.  So one sex scene doesn’t hurt this book.  It is definitely a book for older teens, but wow!  What a book!

I loved Beth.  I mean, even when I hated her and wanted to strangle her, I also wanted to just hug her.  She broke my heart.  She’s the kind of kid that I see in my classroom and I just want to take her home and try to fix her.  Of course, Beth is the only one who can fix Beth and that’s where the novel takes us.

I loved Ryan also.  In fact, I found that I became deeply invested in both Beth and Ryan’s lives and well-being.  Now, I have seen a lot of people express their dismay about Beth and Isaiah, but I’m not feeling that one.  Probably because I didn’t read the first novel (a mistake I plan to rectify soon), but I never felt the connection with Isaiah.  I really didn’t even like him that much.  Gasp!

Even though there’s a lot of drama and action surrounding Beth and the situation with her mother, this is really a very character-driven novel.  These characters are so STRONG.  I developed strong emotions regarding most of them as well.  Katie McGarry wrote this novel in a way that made me feel as if I personally knew these characters and I became completely invested in what would happen to them.  I developed strong feelings of love and hate toward them.  Which makes it hard to read the story at times, but oh so worth it!

I loved this book.  It was so raw, both emotionally and plot-wise.  It made me really FEEL something.  I couldn’t put it down and I can’t wait to pick up the first one and the next one.

The Soundtrack

Imaginary by Evanescence

She Talks to Angels by The Black Crowes

The Only Exception by Paramore

Last Leaves of Autumn by Beth Orton

In My Veins by Andrew Belle

Gone, Gone, Gone by Philip Phillips

The Final Grade

My final grade for this one is an A+.  This book was crazy good.  As soon as I can, I plan to go back and read Pushing the Limits as well.  Don’t be dumb like me and miss out on this goodness!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  I received no compensation, financial or otherwise, for my review.  Not even a cute as hell baseball player.

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