Dare You To

Dare You To - Katie McGarry I just finished reading Dare You To and I have to get this out now. I loved it. All along I was worried about this Ryan guy and where Isaiah would fit in, but it was all so good. Everything worked so well. Isaiah is there, thought perhaps not the way we had originally wanted him. But he'll get his own story next and, hopefully, a worthy girl. And the way everything worked out with him and Beth actually felt right, so I was very happy with that. Plus, I promise, you won't be disappointed with Ryan. You won't. So, now that I've gotten all of that out of the way, I think I can go on with maybe a more coherent review.Dare You To takes place after Pushing the Limits at the start of a new school year. This time, while we get glimpses of Noah, Isaiah, and Echo, we are actually following Beth and Ryan as their worlds collide, as they discover truths about themselves, and as they learn what they want from each other and what they're willing to give. Just like with Pushing the Limits, there is much more to the story than the dare that starts it all and much more to the characters than how they originally appear.Katie McGarry has an amazing way with words. She draws me in to the characters she creates and their stories and refuses to let me go. I can easily relate to the characters and their struggles. And while I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to live with the problems that Beth is facing, I can relate to her difficulty in trusting people. I can also understand the characters' struggles in making the tough choices and standing up for themselves. So even though her characters are dealing with these huge issues, the underlining struggles are pretty universal.Beth as a character was one of my favorites from Pushing the Limits but I was worried that I wouldn't be able to stand her attitude for an entire book. But she surprised me. She's tough on the outside but scared and alone on the inside. The new characters we meet in Dare You To all play their part in either helping her or hurting her with her decision to try and change, and some of them surprised me along the way too. Ryan was a character I wasn't sure I would like simply because he takes the place of Isaiah. But after reading the book I am both a fan of his and of the way McGarry dealt with the Beth/Isaiah relationship. And regarding the Beth/Ryan relationship, Beth was tough and closed off and mean, Ryan was patient and supportive and constant. They complimented each other well and helped each other through the difficult moments, with some fun banter along the way. Also, Ryan didn't annoy me with his use of words like 'baby' all the time like Noah did in PTL. (Don't worry, I still love Noah.)Another aspect that worried me was the whole dare thing. But (Spoilers!), there was no need. This book does not take the typical girl meets boy through dare by boy's friends and then finds out at the end and hates boy until he convinces her otherwise route. It does not follow that story line and for that I was grateful. I would have hated that after the amazing twists in PTL. Dare You To is full of its own surprising twists and revelations. I am amazed at McGarry's ability to turn a story that seems so normal (a group of boys dare their friend to get a girl's number, the bad boy gets tutored by the smart girl struggling with her dad's new wife and baby) into something so unique and interesting and deep. I can't wait to read Crash into You. And anything else that McGarry writes.Dare You To was a perfect companion to Pushing the Limits and, in my opinion, even better than the first. The characters and their struggles are easy to relate to and the twists and secrets are just as surprising as the firsts'. The romance between Beth and Ryan was better than I thought it could be, especially after seeing Beth and Isaiah's relationship in PTL. I definitely wanted them together at the beginning, but by the end I was cheering for Ryan and Beth. They were perfect compliments to each other and showed growth and a natural progression towards a relationship throughout the book. I can't wait to see what McGarry does for Isaiah in Crash into You and I will buy it as soon as I can. I gave Dare You To 5 stars, purchased my own copy as soon as I could, and have given Katie McGarry a permanent spot on my favorite authors list! If you like YA contemporaries, you should definitely not miss Dare You To.