"How many more of us are faking the facade?
How many more of us are pretending to be something we're not?
how many of us
will have the courage to be ourselves
regardless of what others think?"
--Katie McGarry, Dare You To
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, 462 pages
Publication Date: May 28th, 2013
Source: e-galley provided via publisher from NetGalley
Other Books In This Series: Pushing The Limits
Other Books In This Series: Pushing The Limits
So after reading Pushing the Limits, I was not a fan of Beth's...like at all. I thought she was an uber bitch who just didn't get Echo at all. And she didn't. I was totally an Echo fan and loved her journey and her emotional growth from the traumatic experience she had...and Beth was still a bitch. Uh, what the hell was her problem? Going into Dare You To I was very hesitant. I don't like Beth. Will I want to root for her? Do I care? Do I even want to care?
Why I doubted the writing of Katie McGarry I have no idea because I officially LOVE Beth. Katie brings this character to life. She gives her light and darkness. Depth and character. A reason to be who she is. A reason to root for her. Beth doesn't take no shit. She defies everyone who gets in her way. She unabashedly uses the F-word and I loved every second of it. This girl is who she is and does not care one bit what you think of her. I found this so refreshing and endearing. There are quite a few moments that deal with her mom that she really pissed me off though. Her mom is such an absolute loser and her constant need to save her and help her took irritating to a whole other level. I understand that this is her mother, but I just can't understand that kind of devotion to somebody who hurts her time after time. It broke my heart to see Beth constantly go to bat for her mom and never get any return investment. Tragic, heartbreaking--doesn't begin to describe this situation.
Ryan Stone...rawr. He was harder to read for a while. I wanted to like him. I wanted to like him A LOT. But it took me awhile. This whole thing starts with a dare so it was hard for me to see his true intentions for awhile. He was constantly obsessed with "winning," anything and everything so that left a sour taste in my mouth at first. But man, when he does declare his intentions...holy hot damn. Watch out. Man on a mission. From there their relationship was a smoking inferno that nobody could put out. Their chemistry and trial and error to find a relationship they were both comfortable with was amazing. It was real life and it was complicated. They both made mistakes but they talked through their problems. Oh I just die. I thought I loved Noah and Echo (and I DO) but I love these two just as much. They are amazing together.
Oh but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel the same rage with some of the characters in this story as I did in Pushing The Limits. Ryan's parents. Oh my gosh, I wanted to throw something. Close-minded, cookie cutter, faux-perfect bastards. And Gwen--I wanted to punch her in the throat something fierce. Take the hint Barbie! Ugh, they were all so toxic I couldn't take it. Do people really act like this? Oh wait, they totally do. Humans are horrible. I almost forgot.
And can I say how much I love the supporting cast of characters?! Scott is amazing. He totally gives Beth the business but you can tell he loves her so much. *tear*. Lacy, the old and new best friend, is also a force to be reckoned with. Her loyalty to Beth is absolutely one of the best aspects of the story. It's not a forefront story line but when it comes up it is brilliant. She's an awesome fictional BFF. Chris and Logan, Ryan's best friends, are a fun comic relief. They all aren't in it a whole lot but I loved it when they were.
I LOVED this book. Beth and Ryan are just perfect...yeah, I said it. I CAN say it :) I can't say enough how real this book felt. These characters are complex, the situations anything but easy, and chain of reactions resulting from these things is realistic. I think Ryan and Beth's relationship is beautiful in its flaws because that is real life.
I think this book is just as amazing as Pushing The Limits, it's hard to say that one is better than the other because their issues are so different. To try to compare them and say one is better than the other takes away the emotional impact of the books. They are perfectly complementary and I LOVED them both.
Should You Read This? Oh hell yes. If you loved Pushing The Limits, you will love this one just as much. Beth will grow on you. You will get the amazing combination of real life issues, emotionally damaged characters, and real life issues. My recipe for a good contemporary. Enjoy ya'll.