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....
All Beth wants to do is live a nice quiet life with her mom. Too bad nobody else seems to want that. After one too many run-ins with her mother's on again, off again, drug dealing, abusive boyfriend, Beth finds herself sentenced to a new life with her estranged uncle. To make matters worse, the cocky jock who tried to pick her up at the Taco Bell is to be her uncle-approved guide in her new town and high school.
Ryan's life isn't nearly as hard as Beth's, but it's nowhere near as perfect as everyone believes. With an absent older brother and feuding, manipulative parents, baseball is Ryan's only hope for escape. A golden recommendation from Beth's uncle would clench Ryan's hopes of getting drafted into the majors, but Beth's different than any girl Ryan's ever dealt with. It's a good thing he loves a challenge.
Angst, attitude, and attention are the three big starter elements to this unlikely love story. This book is about so much more than their romantic love, it's about love in all its forms. So many relationships in this book are strained and tested because of the different kinds of love that we choose to accept. Rather fast-paced, but believable, Dare You To has continued to further my belief that Katie McGarry knows how to write a moving and spirited book about love trying to overcome the most difficult of obstacles.
Beth doesn't really stand out to me as a unique character. She's a rebellious teenager, with a dark family secret, and an alcoholic, absentee mother. She rebels in the typical fashions, but has found companionship among similarly discarded teens. Naturally when she is given the opportunity to move to a new life and start over, she resists. What makes her different than what I expect most characters to do is that she never actually accepts her new life. She doesn't gradually forget about her former existence, it taunts her every waking moment. Beth isn't ready to let go & it causes lots of hiccups in her new town.
To me, Ryan is the stand out character in this story. There are so many things about his make-up that aren't typical, but that when put together in him, make him all the more desirable. The foundation of his moral compass is pure & strong. I didn't think there were many guys like him around in YA today. You'll have to read the book to fully appreciate & understand what I mean.
The background characters were actually quite active in the story. At least 75% of them directly contributed to the way the story progressed. Without their actions, so many things wouldn't have happened. I do wish we had seen more of Beth's uncle, but that's just my preference. I think Katie has done an exemplary job of creating some of my favorite YA contemporary romance because of its warmth and credibility. I really look forward to her next work!
ARC graciously provided by Around the World ARC Tours