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Dare You To by Katie McGarry: The Review

Dare You To
Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Mira Ink
Buy This Book: Book Depository/Amazon

For once I am not doing my own little summary of the book. I'm just going to jump straight into the review. This is a companion novel to Pushing The Limits and centres on Beth, who we meet in PTL. The other character that we meet is Ryan Stone, a baseball playing 'jock', who seems way too perfect for Beth. 

I have some issues with the book but I must admit to like it more than Pushing the Limits, it was still full of angst and drama but not nearly as much. My one major, major problem with this book is that I am team Isaiah all the way. Quite honestly, I don't get why McGarry chose to have those two characters not end up together. I think Beth's relationship seemed a lot more real and important with Isaiah, the guy would do anything for her and they seemed completely into one another in McGarrys first book. If Beth thought he was only a friend, why does she end up kissing him whenever she's high. Makes no sense to me. It's hard to get into a romance story when you don't buy the romance and are rooting for someone else.

I feel that it's important for me to point out that those who love YA romance will probably love this book. I like a bit of a more mature romance, if I am going to read one. Not one where boys ask girls out for dares - which is the basic storyline to all 90's teen flicks! I am not, as I have probably pointed out a million times, a big reader of purely romance books. I like a romance in my book, I don't want my book to be a romance; if you get what I mean. For example, The Hunger Games & Harry Potter are my two favourite book series and they wouldn't be the same without the Hermione/Ron or Katniss/Peeta storyline, but those don't dominate or define the books. I just find it hard to enjoy a book that is purely 400+ pages of will they, won't they even though you know in the end they will. 

This book is similar to Pushing the Limits and still contains problems I noted about the first book. The main ones being:

The Cringe:  
  • "Sweet and seductive, her voice purrs over my skin and I'm absolutely hypnotised." - No Ryan, just no! Purrs over you, like a cat? All I'm getting from this is that you find cat purrs sexy, and now I am disturbed by you.
  • "If I run fast enough, I can leave behind the awful memories of my past and Ryan's beautiful words can never wind their way into my soul." - The use of soul like this in romance is just always so cringe. There is no other word for it, I read it and I cringe. 

The Religion: Another book where every character is religious, nice idea but just not in anyway realistic. I don't know though, I am from London and this is set in America. Maybe there are towns over there where every single person is religious and goes to church. I just can't imagine that though and doubt it. But this is full of "God gave me a gift" and "If Gods hearing prayers from me" and I'm like, enough already. I feel I come across as very anti-religion in books but that's not the case. I just would prefer it to make sense, not just having everyone in your books believe what you believe in real life just because you can. It's not realistic and seems silly when I read it; there are other belief systems in the world. 

I had a few issues with the characters as well. Ryan's best friend is Chris and we are supposed to believe he loves his girlfriend more than anything and would do anything for her. But then he spends his free time playing a game where you have to chat up as many girls as possible in order to score their number. That does not sound like the actions of a nice, loving, loyal boyfriend; sounds like a dick to me. 

Ryan is also supposed to be a nice guy and you should root for him as he is the main love interest, but again I had issues. He pursues Beth for ages because of a stupid dare, that is something that a thirteen-year-old would do, not a grown man. Also, he's relationship with his brother irked me. His brother is gay, which is just unacceptable to his parents because how can they step foot in church if anyone found out! Oh no! So Ryan spends most of the book angry at his brother that he didn't stay and agree to just pretend he's not gay. What an idiot, he's your brother and you want him to be someone else for the rest of his life so he can stay with you. How am I supposed to think you are a nice guy?

I also had problems with Ryan, the ridiculously attractive, nice guy being an eighteen-year-old virgin, because that's realistic - not. Why does one of her characters always have to be a virgin? If it's the same in the third one I may just give up and set it down. 

This review and my opinion of this book is of course personal to me. I honestly don't think it will be the same for everyone. Fans of YA romance stories will probably really love this, maybe even give it five stars. In spite of the cringe, it isn't the worst romance I've ever read and enjoyed it more than the first. I just can't buy into Ryan, she needs to be with Isaiah. 

3/5 Stars

Enjoyed it more than Pushing the Limits. Definitely for fans of young adult romance. 


  1. I read this and agree with your reservations and it doesn't sound like the kind of thing I'd want to read, either. However, speaking as an English person who has recently moved to Arkansas, (the confederate buckle on America's Bible Belt) I can honestly say that yes, a huge proportion of people here go to church. Every week. And Wednesday, too. In fact, one of the opening questions I'm asked on meeting someone new here is 'Which church do you go to?". Most people who regard themselves as middle-class, (which doesn't mean the same thing here in the US as it does in the UK) decent, upstanding 'regular folk' go to church. That helps explain why gender preferences and contraception are huge issues here, as their politics is learned at the pulpit. It was a bigger culture shock than I'd anticipated, living in Arkansas. I realised the easiest way to understand the US is to remember it really is a foreign country, as different from the UK as Poland or Chad; it's not England with stetsons and blueberry pie.

    1. Thanks for checking out my review. That's really interesting, it seems so strange because you don't find many people here that do go to church. If they do it's not something they really talk about. I know a few Americans but none of them are religious. They are portrayed like that in lots of books and movies so it makes sense. Definitely a foreign country.

  2. I enjoyed Pushing the Limits, but not enough to read this one. I do like contemporary YA romance occasionally, but usually the lighter, fluffier ones versus the drama-filled angsty ones (although I have been reading more New Adult lately just to see what all the fuss is about and it's filled with drama and damaged characters). Great review! ~Pam

    1. I know, I can't deal with all the angst and always having at least one main character who is emotionally damaged but then opens up in the end! Eurgh!


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