My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was acquired through Netgalley! (So the return of the sunshiny Julia means the return of more exclamation marks! Huzzah!) I was so incredibly pleased to be able to do an early review of this book because I absolutely adored Pushing the Limits. It is by far one of my most favorite reads this year, and the book that has inspired me to read more issues related contemporary YA – but only as long as they promise a very steamy romance!
At first I was a little put off by the description. You mean our Beth who was supposed to end up Isaiah ends up finding a new guy? NO WAY! No FREAKING way! I was outraged. Okay not fling the book across the room outraged because it was on my iPad and I really don’t want to have to replace it because of a book hissy fit, but still. I had expectations, you know?
What I really love is the voice of this book. Beth is so angry and so broken at the beginning of this book. She is holding on by threads only and is like this ticking time bomb ready to explode if nudged the wrong way. She curses like it’s nobody’s business. And I like an author who isn’t afraid to do that with a character.
Beth’s mom’s a drug addict, and Beth is constantly scraping her off the floor. Her mom blames Beth for her father leaving and that is a huge burden of guilt for Beth to carry around with her. To say things are shit covered in shit for Beth would be a pretty accurate description. Her uncle comes riding in gallantly on a horse, but Beth is so used to keeping care of herself she doesn’t want to be rescued. She doesn’t know how to be rescued. She pushes back, and the reasons why are so well done. Beth is fully realized in all of her hurt.
And surprisingly I heartily enjoyed Ryan. Beth needs a guy who can keep up. A person that will rise to her challenges. Ryan is this guy. He won’t back down from a dare. And at first that is all Beth is – a dare. Until he looks past that hard exterior and sees the girl underneath, the one with the ribbons. Then it becomes real yo. He also has his own set of issues, a family that appears perfect on the outside but is full of tension and rife on the inside. A dad who pushes to hard and doesn’t listen to what his Son’s really want. He has his own issues too, and this makes him really well rounded, and not just a support beam in the crashing house of Beth.
I must also admit that I am not a sports person. Cowboy loves sports. I feign moderate interest in them. They are on the TV and he keeps up to date with them, I peruse my feed reader on my iPad. Yet, I really like the baseball aspects to this book. I like how it all tied in with Ryan, with Beth’s uncle, with Ryan’s future and what he chooses. It is a nice little thread that really helped string this book together, and for me pushed it further over that edge.
By the end of the books, we see Ryan push back against the constraints of his family, and we see a lot of smoothing out to the rough edges of Beth. There is a lot for Beth to come to terms with, but we finally see her on a better path and letting go of her past. Letting people take responsibility with what was there’s to be responsible for in the first place.
I also think there are some really interesting possibilities for some short stories for the supporting cast of friends from Ryan’s group. Therefore I was thrilled to see Crossing the Line with Lincoln.
I didn’t know it was possible but I love this Dare You To even more than I loved Pushing the Limits. It has a lot of raw edge to it with Beth’s anger, but I love how her and Ryan work together. How she also helps bring out the change in him too. This book was very well handled and the romance was HOT!