Katie McGarry, Dare You To (Harlequin, 2013)
I read Dare You To, Katie McGarry’s sequel to Pushing the Limits, the week it was released. And now, for some unfathomable reason (that probably has to do with how far I am behind—it’s so bad now I haven’t even counted the number of review headers on this page that are currently blank in something like a year), I am only starting to write the review a week after Crash into You, the third book in the series, was released. Yeah, my backlog has gotten kind of ridiculous.
Dare You To focuses on two minor characters from Pushing the Limits, Isaiah and Beth. Beth, at the beginning of the book, is leading a precarious life—trying to both provide for her addict mother and shield the rest of the world from being privy to her home life, for fear that she’ll end up going into the foster care system. The only person in the world she trusts is Isaiah, and even he doesn’t know what’s going on in parts of Beth’s home life. All that comes crashing down when her uncle, a high school sports star made good, intervenes and whisks Beth away to a McMansion in a rural area—new house, new school, new kids, promises to help Beth’s mom instead of sending her to prison, and the only thing Beth has to do is give up her entire old life—including Isaiah. Not as easy as it sounds, but when Ryan, a local boy, takes an interest in this new girl who’s so different from the standard issue rural Kentucky belle, Beth sees an opportunity to use him as a way to reconnect with her old life…until she finds her feelings for him getting complicated.
I liked Dare You To a great deal, if not quite as much as Pushing the Limits; there were a few places it seemed McGarry could have broken the mold she set for herself in the first book, but instead sanded off some edges to make it fit (an interesting choice, given her heroine). The other thing that kind of rubbed me the wrong way, though I rush to add this is a very minor point, is that it seemed in one pivotal scene that McGarry went well out of her way to bring back characters from Pushing the Limits who really didn’t need to be involved in this story. Still, it is a worthy sequel to Pushing the Limits, and if you liked that one, this is a no-brainer. *** ½