Title – Author: Dare You To – Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Series/Standalone: Series – Pushing the Limits #2 (can be read as a standalone)
Format – Source: e-ARC – Publisher via NetGalley
Seventeen-year-old Beth Risk doesn’t want anyone to know about her home life: her alcoholic mother on probation, her absent father, and her mother’s abusive boyfriend. When her mother makes a mistake and Beth takes the fall to stop her from going to jail, her mother loses custody and Beth suddenly finds herself living with the uncle who left town years ago, abandoning Beth. Beth knows she doesn’t fit in her new town, not like Ryan Stone, the popular baseball jock who gets under her skin like no other guy has before. Ryan may seem perfect on the outside, but he has a troubled home too. Soon they can’t ignore their attraction to each other. But by being together, Ryan risks his dream and Beth may have to give up on her mother.
I really enjoyed Katie McGarry’s first YA contemporary, Pushing the Limits, so I was really excited to read the next book in this series. Beth was a side character in Pushing the Limits, but gets her own story here. Of course, Noah and Echo make a few cameos, as well as Isaiah. I wanted to like this story, but ultimately there were too many troubling factors for me to like it.
One troubling thing to me was Ryan’s attitude towards girls. In his narration, he’s possessive, overly defensive, and jealous. He constantly refers to Beth as “my girl” and rather than be endearing, it sounds possessive and makes Beth seem like an object. He also always says things like “guys shouldn’t do this to girls” or “guys should always treat girls this way” and while I think the intent was to sound chivalrous and honorable, it screamed sexism to me.
Then there’s the blatant slut-shaming that occurs in school towards Beth. Not only that, but Beth shames herself for her sexual past. Beth’s perception of herself was wrong, too. When arguing with Ryan multiple times about why she can’t be with him, she describes herself as a whore or refers to him as perfect. She also says “guys like him don’t like girls like me” multiple times. It just got really disgusting the way that Ryan was idealized but Beth was constantly putting herself down. Don’t even get me started on the homophobic father.
At 462 pages, the book is much too long for the story being told. At times the action just dragged and there was a lot of repetition. Like I said before, Ryan and Beth spend much of the novel arguing about why they can’t be together, with Beth running and Ryan chasing after her.
Dare You To was really disappointing. With unlikeable characters and troubling aspects like sexism and homophobia that weren’t challenged in the text, I have to say this was a total miss for me.
3 – turns you to stone with its lack of depth or emotion – the basilisk