You ever start a book and find yourself mind numbingly bored, so then you open up a different one and am like, okay just a few pages and then I will go back to my obligation? THEN before you know it you have finished the interesting book and find yourself craving WAY more contemporaries? Okay, maybe I am coming from left field here, but recently I started a boring book and then I was like ugh dreading, SO THEN I picked up Dare You To by Katie McGarry as a distraction book and I stayed up late to read it, amidst many HUN, HUN, HUN, nagging from Tony, because he does this thing before we go to bed where if I am so distracted by a book and time is ticking and we have to be up early the next day he basically says HUN HUN HUN HUN until I look up with rage-face and reminds me to go do my get ready for bed stuff. Anyways, I totally got that treatment from Tony while reading Dare You To, up to the point where I snuck the book with me into the bathroom and hung out there just to squeeze in an extra 15 minutes of reading. Y’all, to me this book was SO absorbing and exactly what I needed last week.
Dare You To by Katie McGarry opens up at Taco Bell. Ryan Stone is there after a baseball game with his teammates. They are playing another game of dares where whoever gets the most numbers wins. Beth Risk walks into this Taco Bell, all attitude and bad news. Ryan’s friends dare him to get her number. It doesn’t work, but he doesn’t care because he figures he will never see the girl again. Fast forward just a little tiny bit. After being arrested for a crime she did not commit, Beth’s uncle Scott takes her to live with him in the small town of Groveton. On the first day of school, she discovers that the annoying boy who wanted her number is one of her classmates AND her neighbor. OH AND, Scott was a former baseball player for the Yankees, so he is loaded. Anyways, Beth finds herself continually getting in trouble and she’s also filled with worry about her mother who has an incredibly abusive boyfriend and is into substance use. Meanwhile, Ryan looks perfect on the outside but he’s dealing with family drama. There’s a definite attraction between Beth and Ryan, yet different things keep pulling them apart. Will they dare to be together? Y’all have to read this book to find out but if you aren’t an idiot, you can guess based on the cover and on the summary.
Beth is tough as nails, with a hard exterior. It’s not as though her attitude is unearned though. Girl has been through so much pain and hardship. Let’s just say her mom is not at all a fit parent. Her dad is long gone. She’s been physically abused. She’s been used by guys. She has had to deal with mean girls. I actually really felt for her. Further, she actually feels responsible for her mom as though she has to save her and that sucks. It always makes me sad to see children take on parenting roles. Also, Beth has a mouth like a sailor and I LOVE IT. So, because of all the strife she’s been through she does not trust easily. She certainly has walls built up around her. As a reader, it’s quite emotional seeing her walls come down and I could not help but actually care for her and want good things to happen to her. I wanted her to let her mother take care of herself and to enjoy the new life and chances she has been given. However, Beth can’t do that, she’s loyal to the end, ya know?
On the other hand, the other main character of Dare You To, Ryan does not have a nearly as complicated life as Beth. Sure, there’s family trouble and pressure but it pales in comparison and in perspective. He’s actually a pretty good guy and not at all a jerk to Beth. Like, yeah he starts out liking her as a dare but it develops into something way more and genuine like. Beth has a hard time believing he actually wants her for more than sex because her self esteem is so low. Yet, Ryan does his best to convince her that’s not the case. ALSO. His still waters run deep. By this, I mean that Ryan is an excellent baseball player with all kinds of prospects. He is passionate about the sport. Yet, he also discovers he loves writing and has a talent for it. One that his dad won’t nurture, but that he wants to explore nevertheless. There are different sides and aspects to him that make him a good love interest. Plus, yay for the nice guy and not another bad boy. This reader LOVES the nice guy trope.
Obviously one of the reasons that I could not stop reading Katie McGarry’s latest book was all of the swoons. Guys, with every small moment and glance, Dare You To hooked me. If you are on the prowl for an opposites attract book that runs deep with emotion, you need to read this. There’s kissing. There’s sexytimes. There’s dates. There’s field parties. There are fights. There is trust building. It’s a long, slow road, and I mean that as a compliment. Beth and Ryan do not immediately fall into each other’s arms, but when they do it feels like a giant payoff, because of all the work involved to get there. I loved the way it all played out and I think if you enjoy contemporary romance, you will too.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley
Other reviews of Dare You To by Katie McGarry:
Quinn’s Book Nook – “you guys, seriously, McGarry knows what’s she doing”
The Solitary Bookworm – “I was sucked into the story the moment I saw the spark between these two”
Step Into Fiction – “I dare you to read this book.”
Books By Katie McGarry:
Pushing The Limits