Dare You To(Pushing The Limits 2) by Katie McGarry
Published by Mira Ink (Harlequin UK)
3.5 out of 5 stars
Format: eGalley (available from Jun 7 2013 in a variety of formats)
Pushing the Limits was what I would term a ‘breath of fresh air’ it was a YA Contemporary with a bit of edge, however I wasn’t a MASSIVE fan, I enjoyed it but felt there was more it could do. I was hoping that Dare You To would prove to be an improvement.
Firstly – you do not need to have read Pushing the Limits (PTL) to read Dare You To (DYT) they are linked in a way, DYT is written from the POV of PTL secondary character Beth and a new face, Ryan. Isaiah, Noah and Echo all make appearances, but you don’t need to know their background when reading this, any link is explained for the new readers.
DYT follows Beth as she tries to save her drunk mother from her boyfriend Trent, and she ends up in jail because of it, she’s bailed out by her Uncle Scott, who is a big time pro-ball player (or was), and their relationships strained to say the least. Scott takes Beth into his home, and forces her to cut all ties with Isaiah and Noah, and starts her off at a new school.
Ryan is a baseball jock, who cannot turn down a dare, and when he is dared to get a snarky girl’s number at taco bell, he tries and fails. When she (of course its Beth) shows up at his school, the dare is back on. Ryan is determined to get that date with her, he NEVER loses a dare.
Throw in a number of revelations about Beth’s past and her inability to let go of her mother and you’ve got 500+ pages of a story.
The whole plot for me felt a little 90s teen movie (with added bad language and drugs), she’s all that, 10 things I hate about you, etc etc. The guy is dared to get the longer/strange/odd girl at school to date him, to believe he likes her, and of course he then falls for her. Thats the first half of the book, the second half is him convincing her that he’s no longer in it for the dare, he’s reformed and that she likes him too. Like I said. 90s Movie. I loved 90s movies, so its not necessarily a bad thing, just a little predictable.
I know a lot of fans will panic when they realize that Isaiah and Beth are not going where we though they would in PTL, but believe me when I say that is a good thing, McGarry has been really brave in separating two characters that in the first book you think will end up together.But don’t worry – it doesn’t go the way you think it will either, McGarry handles their complex relationship with respect, and because of that the results are believable.
Where McGarry excels is bringing the hard hitting reality that is the underclass youth into the real world. She doesn’t hide the fact that there are many struggling teens out there, and these are issues they deal with every day. He character building is again, excellent, the reader sees the characters grow, Beth in particular, and you care what happens to them. The major moans I have (and its the same in PTL) is the possessive language used over the girls. The guys talk to each other about girls being ‘mine’ and ‘my girl’ as if they are objects, not people. I struggle to believe a character like Beth would be owned in such a way, I certainly wouldn’t. The other issue is the whole ‘forever’ and intense level of the relationships portrayed in both books. These characters are teens, yet they are getting involved in relationships most adults would struggle to cope in, lets face it teen romances are usually short lived, yet the stories are written as if this is their only chance. I don’t think it sets a particularly good example for the Ya reader, authors should be telling the reader that teen relationships can be fun, light and if they end, thats OK. Not putting pressure on teens to find their soul mates by age 16. This is not an issue that is solely related to McGarry, many teen authors do it, the pair meet, a week later they are in love and then its forever (or in the case of many paranormals, destiny).
Over all a good read, I was flicking between 3 and 3.5 stars, so went for the higher in the end. I read it quickly, it was entertaining, and the character building was great. There was however very little in it to add to PTL, the story doesn’t go above and beyond the first book, its more of an extension of the story.
ARC/Egally kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.