Dare You To

Dare You To - Katie McGarry (As reviewed on my blog, Paper Riot.)I enjoyed Pushing the Limits so much that I thought it would be impossible to top that. While I was curious about Beth's story, and thought it was one that deserved to be told, I didn't expect to like it as much as it's companion novel. So of course, I was unprepared when Dare You To completely blew me away. The set-up is similar: two troubled teens who fall for each other. However, unlike in Pushing the Limits, one of them is not completely broken. Ryan's life is tough, but not in the extreme way we know from Noah or Echo. And while I was completely caught up in the traumatic experiences of the first book, I like that this book was slightly "lighter".I said "slightly" because Beth's life is pretty messed up. The girl has had so much to deal with that she is at the verge of breaking completely. Sure, she comes across as... well, a bitch, especially in Pushing the Limits. But this is her story, and I am so, so glad we get to experience it. Because underneath Beth's layer of razor blades is a girl unable to trust, and a girl I wanted to hug so badly. Enter Ryan, the baseball star who seems to have a perfect life. Except that it was not perfect at all. His parents hate each other, and he feels like his brother has left him. He is trying to fight for his own life, and he is struggling. But besides this, he is good, genuine, courteous. You guys, I love Ryan. So much. SO MUCH.I think that's what made me love Dare You To more than Pushing the Limits. While I was invested in Noah and Echo as characters and their stories broke my heart and made me cry, I found Ryan and Beth to be even more likeable - as characters. Maybe this had to do with the lack of nicknaming (*stares meaningfully at Noah*) but also that Ryan and Beth intrigued me in a different way. Noah and Echo were all about the passion, but Ryan and Beth's bond is more innocent, and more sincere. They are so different, but they complement each other perfectly. I love how Ryan tried to get Beth to trust him, and I love how Beth made Ryan fight for his dreams. They are now one of my favorite YA couples.What I also liked about this book is that McGarry shows that drama can be portrayed without too many distracting side stories. Besides Ryan's family drama and Beth's family drama, things are just good. Scott was a great, honest character, and one that Beth needed oh so much. Ryan's friends were wonderful, Lacy especially. Dare You To shows that not all books need bitching and backstabbing girl friendships to make for a good story - and I am so thankful for that. And while I wasn't entirely pleased with the Isaiah storyline and I didn't like Noah's part in this story at all, I am confident that everything will be worked out perfectly in Crash Into You.Overall, Katie McGarry knows how to handle drama without it becoming too much. I love that she took it down a notch in this companion to Pushing the Limits, and that while the stories have similar aspects, they are completely different as well. McGarry's writing style is flows beautifully and her characters are truly alive. Alternating POVs are a thing that don't always work for me, but I had no trouble in Dare You To, mostly because I loved both of these characters so, so much. I can't wait to see what McGarry has in store for us next, but I am confident that I will thoroughly enjoy it.