Pub: May 28, 2013
Beth's life sucks. Except for the few friends that've got her back, her life isn't one to envy. Her mother is always high or drunk and utterly refuses to leave her drug dealer boyfriend Trent, who makes it habit to beat up on Beth and her mother. Beth, in particular, he would kill in an instant if she ever came around again. Ryan is a star pitcher, looking to perfect his craft and earn his way into the majors after high school. But life throws him a curveball when he figures out his writing ability is good enough to make a living off of too, despite his father's disgust of him going on to college first. (Heaven forbid an athlete should get an actual degree and have a fall-back plan in case an injury comes along to squash his chances, right?)
Like all immature guys in high school, Ryan and his friends like to make bets to one-up one another and maintain a sense of pride. When Beth enters the fast food joint one night the guys are there, Ryan's new dare is to obtain the unattainable - her phone number. Of course Beth isn't gonna give him the time of day no matter his looks, because she can see right through him. After Beth goes off one night trying to help her mother, she gets caught trying to smack Trent unconscious with a baseball bat and is forced to go live with her uncle in a nearby town. And when Ryan realizes the girl that rejected him is now attending the same high school, his damaged ego is determined to still win the bet she'd cost him that night.
Boys and their bets, right girls? It's been awhile since I've been at high school, but I'm sure the stakes are still the same. Luckily Beth is smart enough not to be a victim from that nonsense but it doesn't keep her from involving herself with those that are playing. Kind of hard not to I suppose, when the guy practically stalks her to insert himself in her life. Which is pretty easy since her uncle is a famous baseball player and Ryan's new mentor. And since Beth is troubled, her uncle is happy that a kind, decent young man can look after her and be a positive influence in her life. Bleh. I feel for the girl, truly I do, because she was only in that spot because she'd tried to keep Trent from beating up on her mother.
Her mother. Lord it was annoying how much Beth fought for this woman, who clearly didn't deserve so much as the time of day. But I can't fault her for trying. I've witnessed this issue in real life, and much to my annoyance, I understand a person's need to keep their mother or father in their life no matter the heartache. That desire to be loved by family members will drive them to the end of the earth no matter how much these people hurt them. I just wished so hard that she'd let her mother go and do what was good for her for once. She even took the blame for the damage to Trent's car because her mother was already on probation. Hence the reason she was forced to move away...
As for the romance, I'm still not sure why these two got together. Did I like the scenes as their relationship grew? Yes. Did I like the relationship once it got going? Yes. But I'm still not happy about how they formed to begin with because it just doesn't make any sense. He's a jock. She's a little emo. Beth knew from the minute he approached her that he was only trying to score some points with his buddies by talking to her, and she was a complete you-know-what for some time to come because of it. So he was using her for a bet and she was just mean and angry all the time around him. So why the attraction? Thinking the other is cute is not enough to build a relationship. And if you're already wounded to begin with, this particular person is not the one you're gonna lean on and confide your deepest, darkest secrets to. Just saying...
All in all it was a good read. I won't read it again but I don't regret reading it either. It's got a little romance, a whole lot of heartbreak and some darkness surrounding the unhappy family dynamics all around. So if you liked Pushing the Limits, you're probably going to like Dare You To as well.