Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry -- PUBLIC

McGarry, Katie Dare You To 480 pgs. Harlequin Teen, 2013. $17.99. Mature Content: R (drinking; drugs; physical intimacy, although final acts occur behind closed doors); Violence: PG-13 (several fights; references to child abuse); Language: R (150+ swears; 23 'f')

When Beth covers for her drunken mother -- yet again -- her rich uncle gives her an ultimatum: come live with him and his wife, or he will tell the police the truth and send Beth's mother to jail. But moving in with her uncle means going to a new high school, where she has daily contact with Ryan, a promising baseball player who seems strangely drawn to her.

What Beth doesn't know is that Ryan is determined to break through her tough exterior for one big reason: his friends dared him to ask her out, and she turned him down. Ryan doesn't lose, and now he has a chance to redeem himself. But soon there's something more important at stake than winning a dare: winning skittish Beth's heart before she disappears from his life forever.

Dare You To is a wonderful romance between two realistic teens who both have some growing up to do and some major decisions to make. Their love is hard-won, and it helps both of them become better people. Although brash, tough Beth may be difficult to like at first, her tumultuous past and growth throughout the book endear her to readers. Ryan's ultra-perfect jock exterior is also peeled away to show that, like all teens, he has some struggles of his own. While Dare You To could be a difficult addition for schools due to the strong language, drug use, and other mature content (the scene where several characters shop for condoms together comes to mind), it would find a guaranteed audience in many libraries because of its unflinching realism, romantic themes, and ultimately happy ending. It may in fact be just the book for some students -- especially those who have difficult pasts or families who are either torn apart or are too perfect. Would also be great for fans of Simone Elkeles. Note: This is a companion book to Pushing the Limits. While I did not read Echo and Noah's story and it was not essential to the plot of Dare You To, it would be beneficial to read them in order.

HS -- PUBLIC ONLY. Reviewed by: Caryn

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