I’ll say it once, i’ll say it a thousand times, i’ll say it forever. I love Katie McGarry!!!!!
This woman has cemented her spot as my favourite contemporary author with absolutely no effort on her part, well, she wrote the book but you get my point. Dare You To is a re-read and a spectacular book that i love reading over and over again. This woman is a brilliant author, and i should know, I’ve read everything she has ever written. She’s not like most contemporary authors in that their books are filled with such sweetness and adorableness that you squeal like a little girl; intact Katie’s books are so real and filled with emotion that you’d have to be heartless not to be taken on the ride that is her stories, and it is no different with Dare You To. Ugh, this book was amazing!
I just finished it and my heart feels like it’s been through the ringer right alongside the character’s and the ending is so much more satisfying because of it. It is the second book to a some-what series that binds together the lives and hearts of Beth Risk and Ryan Stone. Beth is someone whose had a hard life and Ryan has seemingly the perfect life with cracks and breaks that no-one bothers to see. Their relationship is rocky, beautiful and unique and i’d be lying if i didn’t say i loved every moment of it.
Let’s start with Beth. How do i even being to describe Beth?
Beth has spent her life growing up on the other side of the tracks not ever entirely sure if the pace she decides to go home to is safe. She is surrounded by drugs, crime, gangs and a feeling of helplessness disguised by a stone heart. She relies on very few people in her life, Isaiah, Noah and herself; to escape a feeling of sinking and being chained to a life she can’t escape she let’s bad decisions take her over and she ends up on the road to becoming an addict without an escape into the potential that she has for herself. Stuck in a situation where her mum is a drug-addict and whose boyfriend is abusive to both her and Beth, even though Beth lives with her aunt and he choices seem limited Beth does everything she can to survive. All this comes to a halt when she is arrested for almost taking a baseball bat to Trent’s (her mother’s boyfriend) head. She is then taken in , albeit forcefully by her uncle who takes full custody of Beth as she is only 17 and gives her a second chance at life. Beth evolves so much as a character and a person, she learns how to open up and allow herself to care for others and start to trust other people with who she is and she starts to face her fears. This growth is explored and described beautifully by Katie through beautiful metaphors such as when she learns how to swim in the lake with Ryan, by letting Ryan teach her how to swim Katie is communicating to us that Beth is finally opening herself up to Ryan and the world and realising all the possibilities that escaped Beth before. Not to mention the bird trapped in the barn metaphor showing a struggle for life and being blind to those trying to help the situation and in panic not seeing the clear escape; which strikes the audience and Beth in its significance although unseen at the time. And when Beth finally let’s herself have hope! There aren’t even words that describe how i felt in that moment. Beth’s relationship with Ryan is like a healing balm to her soul and the door to her heart and who she is and can be; the same goes for Ryan.
Let’s talk Ryan Stone. Oh Ryan *sigh*. I relate to him on so many levels. Ryan is a star Baseball player who has only known Baseball, with dreams to make it into the Pros, but he is confronted with troubles at home as his parents can barely stand to be in the same room after his older brother came out as Gay and was subsequently kicked out of the house. Ryan feels like his entire world is crashing down around him and he can barely cope but he tries by holding onto the one thing that remains constant. Baseball. His future. Except when it’s no longer certain, as when find out when it is revealed that he has a secret talent. He is an extraordinary writer. Battling with expectations and being unable to admit to himself what he really wants to do Ryan does everything he can to preserve what he knows; one: that he loves Baseball and two: he never looses. Ryan goes through so much change and growth that i have mamma bear feelings of pride overtime i think about it!! he grows into his own person and starts making his own decisions despite what his controlling parents think. He does so many brave things is this books its heart-warming. he re-connects with his brother, he chases his dreams of becoming a writer, he falls in love, he denies his parents the ability to control him and he makes a path in life for himself that can only lead to the kind of satisfaction you feel when you’ve followed all of your dreams and came out on top (if a little bruised and battered) He goes through his own personal hell and come out stronger than ever before and i will never not love Ryan Stone as a character, especially the way Katie writes him and his emotional state.
Usually around here is where i mention any negatives about the book that i found… but i have none so…
Til next time!