Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Also in this series: Pushing the Limits
Published by Harlequin on 5/1/14
Genres: Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
My content rating: Mature YA (Sex, Language, Violence, Mature Themes)
Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."
"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....
"I dare you..."
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...
***NOTE: Even though this is a review of book #2 in a series, this book is pretty much a standalone and my review doesn’t contain spoilers for book #1. You can read my review of book #1 HERE.***
This was my favorite book in the Pushing the Limits series (out of the three I’ve read so far). I found myself really wrapped up in Beth’s story. At first, I thought I was going to be disappointed because I really liked Isaiah and Beth together, and I hated the idea of a book where they get split up. But I ended up really loving it!
The synopsis does a good job describing the book, so I’ll jump straight to my review.
What I LOVED:
- Beth’s family ties. The romance wasn’t the most compelling aspect of this book (though I did love it). I was even more intrigued by Beth’s messed up family and how she dealt with it. We already learned about Beth’s mom in the first book in the series, but in this book things go even further downhill. After Beth ends up in jail (taking the rap for her mom), her long lost uncle swoops in to take her away from her mess of a life and help her to start over. Problem is, Beth doesn’t want to be rescued, especially not if it means leaving her mom behind. And we find out as the book goes on that Beth’s relationship with her uncle is complicated – at one point she worshiped him, but he left her behind, just like her father did. And her uncle’s wife doesn’t want Beth around at all, since Beth isn’t the easiest person to be around. So, Beth’s family life is extremely complicated in so many ways. Even though her mom is completely messed up, Beth is loyal to her (to a fault) and she absolutely refuses to let her go, even when her mother constantly puts her abusive boyfriend above her. It’s incredibly sad, really (I shed more than a few tears in this book – I swear, I cried through the most of it).
- Beth and Ryan. Like I said, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about Beth in a relationship with someone other than Isaiah, but Ryan won me over surprisingly quickly. And, even though I loved Beth, it became clear that she didn’t feel more than sisterly love toward Isaiah, so they weren’t really heading anywhere good. I was also a bit worried that this book would fall into the typical boy-gets-dared-to-ask-girl-out plot and would be nothing more than that. But the romance didn’t feel cliché to me. While it did sort of start out as a dare, I didn’t feel like McGarry dwelled on that aspect of the story too terribly much (Ryan confessed the dare and called it off pretty quickly – though it wasn’t completely dropped at that point). Things between Ryan and Beth were interesting – at first they were both using each other for one reason or another, but they started to truly care without either of them wanting to. It was kind of a case of opposites attract – and I loved them together!
- The dares. The dare to ask Beth out was only one small dare within the story; there were lots, and it became one of the themes of the book – how far will the characters go? What will they challenge each other (and themselves) to do next? Ryan is used to winning – and that becomes an important part of the book too. He refuses to lose (even when it comes to Beth). This aspect of his personality was kind of interesting to me because I disliked it on one hand, but it also made him stronger – made him who he was.
- The look of love. It kind of bugged me that Beth kept telling Isaiah that he wasn’t really in love with her. I mean, how could she tell him his feelings? She pretty much based her assessment on the fact that Isaiah didn’t look at her a certain way – the way that Noah looked at Echo and Ryan looked at her. Um, why do they do this sort of things in books? Seriously, there is no one certain look that means a guy loves you! People are different. Just because a guy has a particular expression on his face (or doesn’t have it) doesn’t prove or disprove his love. Isaiah showed his love with his actions – he cared about Beth more than anything else. I wished she would just tell him that she was sorry she didn’t feel the same instead of insisting that he didn’t love him. In my opinion, this was just McGarry letting Beth off the hook (and setting us up for the next book when Isaiah could find true love and have that look in his eyes with the next girl).
Definitely loved Beth’s story!! I give it 5/5 stars.
About the Author
KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
Katie would love to hear from her readers.
I like the idea of dares driving a story, and from the tone of your review I gather that it was well executed by Katie McGarry. Relationships are key in this type of read IMO, so I’m happy that Beth and Ryan’s lived up to its full potential. The whole facial expression thing is kinda weird, but not a huge deterrent. Wonderful review!
Yes, the “look” was just a small detail that bugged me – and it’s been in other YA books too (and even books for older audiences). This is just a pet peeve for me – the idea that you can tell if someone loves you or not based on whether or not they have a certain look in their eyes. It’s a nice idea, but not terribly realistic.
Awesome Review! I can’t wait to start the Pushing the Limits series and this book sounds exactly like what I like in contemporary.
Except for the whole “he doesn’t look at you right”thing. IT’S ALWAYS THERE!
Yes – there is some strange book boyfriend mythology that says that there is a particular look in someone’s eyes when it’s true love. I’m not sure how this started, but it’s one of those things that always bugs me. I’ve seen plenty of people in love and they don’t always have a specific look in their eyes! 🙂
I can’t believe your just now reading this lol. I plowed through this series last December then got impatient for Take Me On. I love all of them.
Yes, I finally got around to this series. I read Pushing the Limits a month or so ago and then read both Dare You To and Crash Into You back-to-back. Now I just need to read Take Me On!
It always cracks me up in books or movies when someone is like ‘you don’t love me’. Because I always think ‘HOW DO YOU KNOW?’ You can’t just tell someone how they feel. Love is individual and just because you don’t feel a certain way, it doesn’t mean the other person also doesn’t lol. It’s always bugged me!
Glad you loved this though 😀
Yes, that was exactly it. I felt really bad for him because he really did so much for her and had been completely dedicated to her for the longest time – for her to say he didn’t really love her just seemed kind of mean!
Fantastic review Nicole! I wasn’t sure about Beth and Ryan either, but I just loved Ryan!! He is an awesome guy and I am glad Beth found him!
Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace
Yes, I thought I was going to be sad about the fact that McGarry was messing with Beth and Isaiah – and I was a little, but it all ended up good.
Great review! I loved this book too, and I was afraid I wouldn’t as I read Pushing the Limits first, and was afraid this would be a let-down in comparison, but it definitely wasn’t. I have book 3 waiting to be read, and I can’t wait!
Yeah, I think I might have actually liked this one better than the first book!
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