May 27, 2013

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2), by Katie McGarry
To Be Published May 28, 2013
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Format: e-galley - provided by NetGalley
Genre:  New Adult Contemporary Romance
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...

The New Adult genre follows a pretty prescribed formula. Sometimes that formula is a comfort to me. I’ll read a few YA or adult or urban fantasy books, and a lot of times they stress me out for one reason or another (The angst! The love triangles! The cliffhangers!). So, I fill the space between them with a few good NA books and their neat formulas, which almost always include:
  • A “bad boy” – a lot of times tatted, pierced, womanizing and from the wrong side of the tracks
  • A good girl with a tragic past – virginal, but damaged
  • A predictable story arc – they meet, they hate each other, they like each other, they REALLY like each other, they’re happy, they break up, they get back together, the end
One of my absolute favorite parts of Dare You To is that it messed with the formula a little bit. Not so much that it couldn’t be recognized for what it was, but enough that I sat there and went, “Whoa. That’s different!”

See, in Dare You To, the “bad boy” is actually a “bad GIRL.” Beth is tatted, pierced, and definitely from the wrong side of the tracks. Her mom is a complete mess. Her dad is nonexistent. She is sent to live with her uncle after getting arrested, and she is really not happy about it.

The good, virginal, damaged girl is actually a guy. Ryan is the star of the school’s baseball team. His parents are pillars of the community. He has dated the popular mean girl. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Ryan is living the charmed life. But, his family life is completely dysfunctional and his world feels like it’s falling down around him.

Can I tell you how much I loved this role reversal? For once, the inexperienced, sweet one is the guy. How crazy is that? I love how Katie McGarry shaped and formed these characters. Beth was introduced in Pushing the Limits, but we didn’t see too much of her. I love how rough and mean she was. It was totally believable. And I also loved that she didn’t change on a dime as soon as she met a hot guy. She actually never really “changed.” Just adapted.

And Ryan was sweet and patient, but didn’t stand for all of Beth’s crap – and she gave him a lot of crap. His relationship with his brother was the best. It was nice watching that unfurl.

For those that are wondering – yes. We see Noah and Echo. Briefly. This isn’t their story, but they are part of Beth’s life, so they show up, but remain on the periphery. There’s a lot of Isaac in Dare You to, though, as he comes to grips with the fact that Beth doesn’t love him the same way he loves her.

Dare You To was a great book that served as a change to the usual NA books I read. For that, I say, “Bravo” to Katie McGarry for creating such a good bad girl.

1 comment:

Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous) said...

I really enjoyed this story and I'm glad that you did too. It was definitely refreshing to have the guy be the innocent one.
Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous