Teens! Torrential downpour! Kissyface! All the necessary elements to make me go “Oooh!” and snatch it from the shelves. Except I read this on my Kindle and the title page wasn’t nearly as interesting, just the text on a stark white background. Boo. I need my cover eye candy, people!
Beth Risk is defensive, snarky, hard-headed, and supremely skilled in the dark art of bitchcraft. When she’s not making everyone in her orbit miserable, she’s plotting ways to return to her neglectful, drug-addicted mother and best friends. I get her motivation: The only life she’s known is no more, change is terrifying, and her relationship with her mother is inextricably linked to intense feelings of shame and guilt. Enter blond-haired, blue-eyed, baseball phenom Ryan Stone, who loves nothing more than accepting dares and reveling in his god-like status. But Ryan harbors secrets of his own and struggles to balance his dreams with living up to others’ expectations. Somehow, in the midst of dares and drama, these two find their way to each other.
Double Dog Dare You
Maybe I missed something in my high school experience but dares weren’t a big thing. Besides, I went to an all-girls parochial school where sitting with the “wrong” person at lunch was risky. I love competition but Ryan and his buddies challenged themselves to some dumb stuff, like Darwin Awards-level shenanigans. The craziest thing of all: rolling up on Beth and her friend Isaiah, who comes off like he could be the lead convict in one of those “Scared Straight”-type programs for wayward youth.
You’re a lot like that bird in the barn. You’re so scared that you’re going to be caged in forever you can’t see the way out. You smack yourself against the wall again and again and again. The door is open, Beth. Stop running in circles and walk out.
I read a lot of reviews for DARE YOU TO and nearly all of them mentioned Katie McGarry’s book PUSHING THE LIMITS (which I haven’t read) where Beth’s character is introduced. I get the impression that her character stole the show in that one (much like I feel Isaiah did in DARE YOU TO) because those reviewers were effusive in their love for Beth and I’m not sure she earned that level of affection from me. I enjoyed her snarky personality and to-a-fault loyalty but I couldn’t figure out why Ryan should feel anything for a person who constantly declared that she was unworthy. After a while, I started to believe her. And while I enjoyed Ryan’s family dynamic and his flashes of sensitivity, there were moments where his white-knightish behavior scored high on the incredulity scale and came off rather annoying and possessive. In the end, I connected on certain levels with Beth and Ryan individually, but not as a couple.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.