Dare You To

Dare You To - Katie McGarry 4.5 stars. I'm tempted to give this five-stars, but I'm holding back because it got a little sappy for my taste at the very end. This is a very well-written, YA romance about Ryan, high school baseball star and Beth, who is pretty much his antithesis. It's the story of how they find each other and find themselves. The character development was very well-done. Though Beth and Ryan met pretty much immediately (which is a great hook to get you into the book) McGarry doesn't have our protagonists really embark on their relationship until more than 30 percent in. Both Ryan and Beth grow and change significantly as people from beginning to end. I appreciated the skill with which McGarry did the character development, because there was definitely room for the book to fall into romance nonsense territory, where the two characters decide they can't live without each other and begin to see the other person as the end-all, be-all. This book avoids that and has the characters grow because of the relationship that they form with one another, but also in spite of it.

I didn't have very high expectations of this book, the cover threw me off. I understand why the cover models are all wet and and making out, but it's definitely selling this book short. There's a lot more to this story than just romance. I thought it was going to be more of a fluff read-- I was definitely wrong. This book has quite a bit of tough stuff in it. Beth's life prior to moving to Ryan's hometown of Groveton is rough to say the least. Her uncle Scott describes her as, "rough around the edges," early in the book-- that's putting it mildly. She's built a lot of walls to protect herself from life and rightfully so. There is a lot of mature content in the book, not the sex stuff so much as drug use, some violence, and also the issues that the characters are facing e.g. homosexuality, and domestic violence. It's really a story about the characters finding themselves through each other.

I held back the half star as I said because the ending does fall into the romance cliques that the author manages to avoid for the majority of the book. It's also a HEA, which I love, but it does make the story slightly more fluffy.