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Dare You To

Dare You To - Katie McGarry This review and others are posted at Read, Rinse, Repeat.

3.5 stars

Dare You To is a companion novel to Pushing the Limits, rather than a sequel. Some of the secondary characters in PTL are featured here, and while the events take place subsequent to PTL, either book can be read first.

Beth was an intriguing character in PTL. She initially came off as brusque and even rude at times, but it soon became clear that she had unexplored layers. As one of the two main characters in Dare To You, we get a chance to see these new sides of her. As in PTL, the viewpoints switch between two characters: Beth, the bad girl, and Ryan, the good guy. Of course, I couldn't help but compare the two books, and PTL was definitely my favorite of the two. Dare You To just never swept me up in the same way.

Near the beginning of the book, when the dare was placed, I thought I had the whole plot pegged, and I was ready to give up. Happily, I was wrong. When you read that a guy's friends challenge him to get the bad girl in school to like him, how would you guess it would play out? The bet is placed, and the guy plays the girl until she genuinely falls for him. Then, she finds out about the bet in some odd way about 3/4 of the way through. She's heart-broken, he realizes he loves her, and he spends the remaining time winning her back. (In fact, wasn't this a movie or a TV show?) Thankfully, Katie McGarry gives us better than this.

Beth has a hard, sometimes gruff, shell that Ryan persistently tries to crack. She's torn between her strong bond with her best friend, Isaiah, and her new and growing attraction to Ryan. She feels abandoned and betrayed by everyone close to her, and when she starts to have feelings for Ryan, she's terrified that he will betray her, too. While Ryan's life looks perfect from the outside, his parents put immense pressure on him to be perfect (their idea of perfect, anyway), and they expect him to dutifully follow along the path of success they've laid out for him. Any deviation results in fierce objection, particularly from his father.

The romance moved along a bit too slowly in this story for me. One step forward inevitably leads to two or three steps back. I know some people enjoy delayed gratification, but this seemed excessive at times. Nevertheless, Katie McGarry knows her way around the contemporary romance genre, and if you liked PTL, I think you'll enjoy Dare You To, as well.

Note - I received an ARC from the publisher with a request for an honest review.