Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Book Series: Pushing the Limits, Book #2
Author: Katie McGarry
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, YA
Format: Audiobook (Audible)
Narrator: Christopher Gebauer & Brittany Pressley
Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins

My Ranking:

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...

I LOVE THIS SERIES!!! Usually, I am not a fan of  dual narrations. Two much like a yo-yo, bouncing between two sets of personalities, two different takes on a story and so on. But, not so with this book. I feel like both Beth and Ryan are honest narrators. They react how they react and talk about there regrets and vulnerabilities openly and honestly, no matter what they are. And even through they're not that alike, it didn't feel like I was going up and down on a string. As a matter of fact, it never has with this series and that's what I  love most about McGarry's writing style. Her characters are unique and different, their accounts of how life plays out feels amazingly authentic and real. All of her characters become even better the more their flaws are exposed and that's a truly beautiful thing. What's surprising is that if I had to pick a character that I liked more, in either book, I would have gone for the male lead in both. Noah and Ryan are amazing. Nothing against Echo or Beth, but i prefer them.

What I most appreciate about McGarry's works is that she has a special talent for capturing the essence of the pressures of family, and exploring the dynamics in brutally honest and often devastating ways. No matter what, we are damaged by our families. Okay, maybe damaged is too strong of a word. Rather it's like your family leaves a sticky residue on your skin that exists always. Whether it's failed expectations, abandon hopes, disappointments, physical pain or hurt feelings they've given you, it's something you can never shake - it's always there. And no matter how hard you try to change yourself to shed it, it never really goes away. On the flip side, you give what you get. You hurt them too, leave your residue on them. Family is who you love and hurt the most... sucks.

While reading this book, I felt that Beth's residue was anger. It was her very special friend. Something she can whip out and use against the world. And it's a sad thing. Because when there's no one left to unleash that hurt and anger onto it turns inward. Corroding your happiness, or "lightness" as she called it. But I can understand where all the anger and resentment comes from because the accounts on the relationship between Beth and her mother are heartbreaking. And for Ryan, it was the pressure to be the perfect son. Exactly who is parents wanted him to be and to hell with his own wishes.

Also, After reading Book #1 and realizing that Beth had a deep secret in her past like Echo's, I prepared for the worse. Because Echo's was 10 kinds of f***ed up. Well, this one delivered again and ... damn. Just damn. It's heartbreaking.

One last comment is that, as a sports fan, I loved Ryan's reflections on baseball. So perfect!

Will I be progressing to the next book? Most definitely! This is definitely a favorite series, no doubt.

I think that both of the narrators did fantastic jobs. I preferred Christopher's narration a bit more. Could have been because I liked Ryan more as a character. But - I think both narrators connected with the characters and performed flawlessly. I will now be stalking both on Audible....

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