Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry
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. (Goodreads).
So, remember in Pushing the Limits how Beth was a big old beeotch?
But in this book we find out a little more about why she is the way she is. I’m not saying she’s super-likable, but after getting to know her story I felt bad for her because her mom is a serious druggie in a relationship with a man who likes to beat her and her daughter for fun. And like most kids with jacked up parents, Beth sees the best in her mom. She believes that one day she’ll clean up. She wants to help her get away from her abusive boyfriend and find some magical place where life can be good for them and they can be a family, just the two of them. Beth’s mom has other plans and mostly they include being wasted and defending her boyfriend. So Beth has been through a lot. Cut her some slack.
Because of an incident with her mama’s boyfriend (one her Mother of the Year let her take the fall for) Beth spent a night in jail. There was a deal made with the court that her uncle, a former baseball star and local legend, and his wife would retain legal custody of Beth until she turns eighteen. She’s uprooted and sent to live with the guy she believes abandoned her back so many years ago when she was a little girl convinced her uncle would protect her from the world. So here it is, her fresh start.
But Beth is That Girl. She’s difficult. She’s foul-mouthed. She dresses slutty and she clings to her old life with ferocity. Even in a new school and a new town you can smell her trashiness a mile away. And this is by choice, trust me. Of course it’s because she doesn’t feel worthy and blah blah blah and she wants to save her mom still, but still. Take the do over and move on, Beth!
Then there’s Ryan–perfect hot jock, somewhat douchy at first,Ryan–whose dad wants him to play ball professionally. This is something he wants to do too, but he’d also like to go to college. Maybe pursue writing. Who knows? But dad’s a ball buster. It’s his way or the–well, you get it. When Ryan is dared to hit on Beth by his best buddy teammates, drama ensues because 1) She’s not having any of that and 2) She’s not having any of that. The problem is that Ryan doesn’t lose bets. I know, right? It’s sort of annoying until it actually becomes something you like about him (it happens, I swear!). Add to that the fact that Beth’s uncle asks Ryan to look out for her and you have the recipe for some serious fighting and some sparks, of course.
In Beth’s mind, no matter close she grows to Ryan, she’ll always wonder if it’s all a game. Maybe she’s just a dare. And even though she becomes more engrossed in him and in her new life, part of her is still back with her mom, holding tightly to the plans they made to run away together. Ryan is in all the way with Beth, against his family’s wishes, against what everyone else thinks and it challenges him to look at his own life and what he really wants.
I had a harder time with this book than I did with the first. Beth was really tough to like. I felt terrible for her, but every time she got close to having a meaningful moment or a second of peace, she’d screw it up with her sucky attitude. It’s was disheartening and honestly, annoying. Eventually, I came around to her, but it took serious time and I’ll never love her like I do some characters. Ryan, on the other hand, was her opposite. Once you got past the whole jock thing he was a really good guy. I loved that as soon as he realized the depths of his feelings for Beth he was all in, baby.
McGarry write excellent tension-filled moments, times when you’re on the edge of your seat practically making kissing faces at yourself as you wait to see if they finally, finally smooch. Beth and Ryan have good chemistry and , yes, some cheese, but that’s okay too.
Crush Intensity: 3.75/5 There were some good moments here and some likeable characters, but I wasn’t as impressed as I was the first time around. Still, it’s an entertaining read with some good kissing.
Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Net Galley for providing me with an e-galley of Dare You To in exchange for an honest review.