Dare You To by Katie McgarryDare You To by Katie Mcgarry

Dare You To

byKatie Mcgarry

Hardcover | May 28, 2013

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about

"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.
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. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com...
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Title:Dare You ToFormat:HardcoverDimensions:480 pages, 8.46 × 5.75 × 1.48 inPublished:May 28, 2013Publisher:HarlequinLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0373210639

ISBN - 13:9780373210633

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovd it One of my favourites, well worth the read!
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjiyabke Not as good as Pushing the Limits, but still good.
Date published: 2017-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favorite This was the first book I ever read by Katie McGarry and It is still to this day, my favourite book by her. You need to read it! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry Much much muuuuch better than the first book I adored this book so much and reminded me so much of perfect chemistry .. This time we have the bad girl persona beth and the golden good boy rayan .. I loved there story so much .. It's that kind of books that you know what will happen yet you still have a goofy smile on your face in the end .. Moving on to the third book .. Can't wait
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Book! As always, Katie McGarry's writing style is spot on, and the chemistry between the main characters has the perfect amount of build up. However, this novel is my least favorite novel by Katie McGarry and that's mainly because it took me a long time to warm up to Beth's character, and the way she treated everyone around her. Still a great story however, and I highly recommend the Pushing The Limits series as a whole. It was also awesome to get some additional peaks into the lives of Noah, Echo, and Isaiah.
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good! Picked this book up after reading Pushing the Limits. While PTL was greater in its story telling, Dare you to is still an entertaining read. I would recommend it is you've enjoyed other works from this author.
Date published: 2016-12-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book! I loved it! I love how Katie Mcgarry writes and how genuine her characters are. A lot of teen books focus mostly on the love story, but what was nice with this book was how there was such a good balance between Beth and Ryan's relationship and their own challenges that they each face individually. I couldn't put it down. It's so easy to connect to the characters and to get pulled into this book. It's worth the read.
Date published: 2016-09-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This book hit a home run! I can’t stop reading this series. I can’t. I have finished the first 3 books in the series, and I am moving to book 4 today! It’s so good guys. I am sucked in. Katie grabbed me and pushed me down a hill of amazing characters and great story lines. I finished Pushing The Limits really feeling like Isaiah and Beth were an OTP. I wanted so badly to see them together, even though I knew deep down inside that the situation they were in wasn’t the best for a healthy relationship. Sometimes as humans I find us really wanting to see the good in something when we know it’s never going to play out. I was a little disappointed in the beginning knowing that this relationship wasn’t going to happen, but after finishing Dare To You, I knew this was for the best. Dares. Dares can go wrong, or dares can go right. Either way, Ryan and his friends LOVE to take on dares. What started out as a dare in a Taco Bell, turned out to be an amazing reading experience. We find ourselves diving into Beth’s past about her drug addicted mother, and the man she keeps around who abuses both her and Beth. We saw a sneak peek of him in the first book when Noah and Isaiah found Beth bleeding from an incident that involved him. In the opening of the book, I really wish she had taken the baseball bat to him. My disgust for him only grew at I fell more and more into Beth’s history. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see her feeling like she was responsible for the well-being of her mother. You slowly watch the walls that Beth built up fall when she starts to fall for Ryan. The closer they get, the more open she very slowly becomes. It’s very obvious that Beth has had many unpleasant interactions with men, which means it hard for her to truly open up all at once. My heart really hurt for Isaiah when Beth told him she loved him, but she wasn’t in love with him. You could feel his pain through the pages, and it was obvious that only one side truly felt the love, while the other felt comfort and security. But nothing further. I left this book wondering if they were ever going to be good friends again. Ryan stood toe to toe with Isaiah and that says SO much about him. I found myself holding my breath and in that moment I knew he would be perfect for Beth. That moment sold him for me as not only as a character but for her. Isaiah and Noah are always the two people we see standing up for Beth. It didn’t matter if it was the man her father was seeing or some baseball loving guy who followed her out of a taco bell. It was always Isaiah and Noah. The person who was going to stand beside Beth and help built her up needed to be someone who could stand up to those two. He is proof that coming from a well off, highly regarded home means nothing. Behind closed doors, we see him struggling with his love of Baseball and his passion for writing. He wants nothing more than for his family to stop fighting, and for his brother to come back home. I cried like a baby when he won the writing competition and his brother was in the back clapping for him. It was such a touching moment. Everyone has their demons that people don’t see from a distance. His just happens to be his family interactions when the spotlight is gone. In the end is when Ryan put his life on the line for her. He protected her in a situation that could have ended with her being dead. If he had not of known what to do and how to react, it could have very well been the end of Beth. This all leads back to seeing him stand up to Isaiah. He’s strong. He never loses. His determination and power are just a few of the reasons he is just as strong as our favorite main guys. All I want to know is – How do I get a bottle of rainwater, but from Isaiah? Can someone make this happen, please?
Date published: 2016-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Emotionally-Charged and Starkly Realistic Romance "Dare You To" is another Katie McGarry romance that's emotionally charged and starkly realistic. The story opens after seventeen year old Beth Risk is released from jail into her uncle's custody and whisked away from the slums of Louisville to a new life in the small town of Groveton. Restricted from seeing her drug addicted mother and her two closest friends, she is forced to resurrect her life from the ashes of anger and bitterness that has haunted her for years. What she doesn't expect in her rebellion is to make new friends, become academically successful and to fall in love with Ryan Stone, a baseball jock who masks his own heartbreaking secrets under a winning personality and high achievement. This is a story of shattered lives and perfected images transformed by truth that comes from the power of friendship and love. This heart-rending plot takes the reader from typical teenage life at a small town high school with its rumour mill, backbiting and competitiveness to the smells, sounds and harsh reality of a slum neighbourhood with its desperation and despair. The bleakness in a story that captivates the reader from the first page to the last is lightened by obvious strengths that come from the unconditional and non-judgemental value of friendship and the liberation that comes from true love. The personalities of the characters are complex and genuine adding depth and dimension to this powerful story. Beth Risk, a young woman haunted by an abusive past and the demoralization and futility of her life with her mother, shields her fear and insecurity behind a blunt, proud and rough persona. Ryan Stone, the arrogant jock with a flawless image hides his pain and anxiety behind a good-natured, winning personality. When the two meet their volatile chemistry explodes, at first antagonistic until love blossoms and they begin to trust and rely on one another. Sky Risk and Ryan's parents are selfish and self-centered; one masking her neediness with drugs and an obnoxious boyfriend, the others covering their deficiencies with an image of affluence and a pretentious lifestyle. Scott Risk , Beth's uncle is determined, caring and supportive, while his wife Allison at first is uptight and judgemental but changes as events unfold. The tyrannical presence in the story is Trent, Sky's abusive and heartless boyfriend, a washed up football play who's intimidating and brutal. I loved the realism and truth so evident in a romance where two teens, one with a perfect image and the other broken and mired in feelings of desperation and fear dare to cross the line and reach out to each other. Like all of Katie McGarry's novels I highly recommend this one and can't wait to see what she has in store for her readers next
Date published: 2014-01-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Didn't live up to PTL *This review may contain spoilers to the first book, Pushing the Limits* Dare You To is the story of Beth and Ryan. Pushing the Limits was one of my favorite books last year but I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to pick this one up. It has a new set of characters and I find that Dare You To wasn't good as Pushing the Limits. Once again, both characters have some kind of issues and their relationship with each other helps them solve said issues. Beth needs to find who she wants to be and get over being responsible for her mom (who's a good-for-nothing). Ryan needs to stand up for himself and stop doing what his parents wants him to do. The two of them were brought together on a simple dare which turned into something more. As I said, this wasn't as good as Pushing the Limits. I was never really interested in Beth's love story so I kept my expectations low. I didn't find myself feeling for the characters or anything but this book kept me entertained. Beth actually annoyed me because of her unwillingness to let go of her mom and love Ryan. Yeah, that chick pissed me off sometimes. I would say congratulations to Ryan for not giving up no matter how difficult Beth was. If I was Ryan, I wouldn't have dealt with her. Dare You To is the sequel to Pushing the Limits that didn't quite live up to the first book. This still kept me entertained but I think this one is quite over-hyped.
Date published: 2013-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very romantic! I really love it. I love Ryan's character. I wish I have a Ryan that will make my heart flutter like he did with Beth. While reading this book you will want to fall in love too and have a guy like Ryan. So great!! So romantic. Like "you and me against the world".
Date published: 2013-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Romance, But It Doesn't Live Up To PTL 4.5 stars Dare You To is a really great YA contemporary romance novel. We get to see a lot more of Beth and get an inside experence of her life. I really enjoyed reading about her character and reading her story. Although this book isn't even close to the level of awesomeness that Pushing The Limits is, it's definitely worth a read. The characters - i must say, at first, i didn't like Ryan at all. But when i found out what a compassionate young man he is, i soon grew to really enjoy what he brings to the story. I dont love him, but he fits the story and theme well. Beth is a charcter I wish I could strangle, but I love. Shes daring and strong, but thats basically just a wall she puts up for herself - a wall to block others out, and to see who cares enough to break through. Ryan does. Shes a really interesting character with a lot of emotion. Both Ryan and Beth have messed up lives, but i really felt for Beth. Thats a seriously tough position to be put in. The minor characters are also well described and written, each different from one another. I especially enjoyed Logan and Lacy and thought that they were really awesome characters. The writing - McGarry is really talented. Ryan and Beth each have distinct voices and I felt connected to them the whole time. There's really nothing else to say on that matter except that she has a simple writing style that brings flavour and essence to each book she writes. The romance - a really well written romance. It is intriguing and is interesting. It didn't wow me, though, and I think McGarry could've brought more to the table. It didn't take me a long time to finish this book, McGarry kept my head in the pages, but I wasn't on the edge of my seat all the time. Other - i love that Noah and Echo were in this book but i hate that there weren't really any scenes with one of them with one of the leads. (For example, when Beth and Ryan's relationship became rocky, what you would expect to happen in a romance book, i wish Echo had a personal talk with Beth. Or Noah. Whichever, it would've added more to the story). But at least they are apart of this story, as limited as it may be, they're still there. Each character has to overcome different opsticals and I feel like they are all well played out. Isaiah and Beth's relationship was another big part of it, which at times i loved but hated, and i'm glad McGarry went where she did and ended it when she did. Dare You To is a bit of a letdown, concidering i absolutely loved Pushing The Limits, but it's still a solid, strong book which I enjoyed. Yes, some things could have been improved, but overall, i really liked reading Ryan and Beth's story. At times i felt like Beth's situation with her mom was overdoing ut, but by the end I think that it flows perfectly. Ryan grew on me and Beth learns important lessons about love and trust. I wouldn't get you're hopes up if you've read PTL, but I would still recommend this book. Unlike PTL, Dare You To didn't make me cry. It made me feel, but it didn't move me. Dare You To is a great book for teens, with good characters and a good storyline, but i dont love it. Be prepared, cuz its a bumpy relationship filled with mixed emotions, but i think its worth the ride.
Date published: 2013-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Even Better Than the First! So I think I liked this even more than Pushing the Limits, which was pretty good. Heck I know I liked it more because I loved Dare You To. For some reason I found it to feel more realistic than Pushing the Limits. I know both books cover issues that could really and do really happen in real life, but I would guess that the issues in Dare You To are a lot more common, therefore easier to imagine for me. I really liked Beth's story and think that it's a very common one. There are a lot of kids out there who are in similar situations. I felt bad for Beth because she has had a rough go of it. She has complete trust issues because anyone she has ever trusted has left her. Isaiah is the only one that she has who she can trust. He's her best friend. Then everything changes and she ends up living with her uncle, who also abandoned her. She is bitter towards him and hates that she's been moved to a new town, her hometown, back with all the people who judged her family to begin with. Ryan is a sweet guy. He's a jock, which makes you think he's going to be a jerk, Beth sure thinks that, but he turns out to be really nice and actually really likes Beth. He has his own issues at home, which whilre they aren't as bad as Beth's, they are still not ideal and very realistic. His dad is pushing him into going pro, his brother announced he was gay and his dad basically disowned him. Life gets pretty crappy for Ryan. Luckily, Katie McGarry does another wonderful job with creating a story that you can get lost in. I certainly had a hard time putting it down and again the ending was somewhat heart breaking. There were some pretty tough decisions to be made but I love how it turned out in the end. I'm really looking forward to the next book which is in Isaiah's PoV. It really is a wonderful read!
Date published: 2013-06-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good- not great After reading Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry I was pretty excited to read Dare You To. I read and reviewed Pushing the Limits back in October of 2012 and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was genius. In saying that, it would be impossible to not compare Dare You To to Pushing the Limits, and while I enjoyed one slightly better than the other, I have to say they are two very different stories. The story begins with Ryan-the mega baseball stare-and his buddies sitting in a Taco Bell playing out the end of their game of dare. It is here the Ryan first meets Beth. His is challenged by his friends to get Beth's number. As can be expected things do not go well for Ryan and he ends up losing the dare. So when Beth shows up as his school a few days later Ryan sees this as a chance to finally win the game (he really hates losing). For Beth, the goth chick is likes to wear black and get stoned every other weekend, the move to Louisville was not a good one. Forced to leave a mother who needs her to survive and a best friend who has been her everything, Beth is angry and not in the mood for anyone's BS. Dare You To is told in the traditional McGarry way- with the chapters alternating from two different point of views. In this case: Beth and Ryan. I really appreciated this aspect because Beth and Ryan are so different from one another and you often can't tell what Beth is thinking from what she says. Seeing things as she sees them makes her a more relateable character. Beth is wounded and that needs to be understood. She's not just walking around with a chip on her shoulder because she's pissed ticked off at her uncle. She's feeling abandoned, rejected, unloved you name it. Ryan showing up and expressing his affection to her is not something she is used to. I hurt for Beth. I felt her confusion and her insecurity and I understood why she was so apprehensive about letting people into her life. I also understood the loyalty she felt towards her mother, however misplaced it was. Beth was a complex character and I loved what McGarry did with her. Some of my favourite scenes were the ones that involved Beth and her Uncle Scott. Scott was twelve years Beth's senior and was supposed to come and take her away when she was young. He waited nine years and theirs was a relationship that needed mending. But you could tell from the get go that the two cared deeply for one another and there was hope. Ryan also went deeper than what is on the surface. He had his own demons to fight and his own battles that needed winning. He may have appeared to be the all American boy. But he was also wounded and insecure. But instead of rebelling against all that was making him unhappy, he was ignoring it and pretending. I liked Ryan. I think I liked Ryan more than I liked Beth. I liked how nice he was to her. I liked seeing how his feelings for her evolved into something bigger and more intense than he was expecting and how he was okay with that. While I loved Dare You To there was one thing that I wasn't sure about. In my review of Pushing the Limits I mention that I loved that the romance didn't fix the issues that the two characters were faced with. Which was totally true. In Dare You To, it kind of felt to to like the romantic relationship between Beth and Ryan are what healed Beth. This is not all bad, as Beth had some serious trust issues and in order for her to get over those issues, she need to trust the relationships she had. It just would have been nice if there were other relationships (such as the one she had with Lacey- an old friend) would have also contributed to her healing. I never felt like Beth and Ryan were ever friends, they sort of went from not really liking one another, to really liking each other. It was maybe a little unbelievable. Overall, I really enjoyed Dare You To and if you liked Pushing the Limits, you will also like this one. The characters are complex and warring. But it's well worth the read.
Date published: 2013-05-23

Read from the Book

RYANI'm not interested in second place. Never have been. Never will be. It's not the style of anyone who wants to play in the majors. And because of my personal philosophy, this moment sucks. My best friend is seconds from scoring a phone number from the chick working the Taco Bell counter, placing him in the lead.What started as a simple dare twisted into a night-long game. First, Chris dared me to ask the girl in line at the movies for her number. Then I dared him to ask the girl at the batting cages for her number. The more we succeeded, the more momentum the game gained. Too bad Chris owns a grin that melts the hearts of all girls, including the ones with boyfriends.I hate losing.Taco Bell Chick blushes when Chris winks at her. Come on. I chose her because she called us redneck losers when we ordered. Chris rests his arms on the counter, inching closer to the girl, as I sit at the table and watch the tragedy unfold. Shouldn't she be having an epiphany right about now? If not, can she find some self-respect and tell Chris to beat it?Every single muscle on the back of my neck tenses as Taco Bell Chick giggles, writes something on a piece of paper, and slides it over to him. Dammit. The rest of our group howls with laughter and someone pats me on the back.Tonight isn't about phone numbers or girls. It's about enjoying our last Friday night before school begins. I've tasted everything—the freedom of hot summer air in the Jeep with the panels down, the peace of dark country roads leading to the interstate, the exciting glow of city lights as we took the thirty-minute drive into Louisville, and, lastly, the mouthwatering taste of a greasy fast-food taco at midnight.Chris raises the phone number like a referee holding up the glove of the prize champion. "It's on, Ryan.""Bring it." There's no way I've gotten this far to have Chris outdo me.He slouches in his seat, tosses the paper into the pile of numbers we've collected over the evening, and tugs his Bul-litt County High baseball cap over his brown hair. "Let's see. These things have to be thought through. The girl chosen carefully. Attractive enough so she won't fall for you. Not a dog because she'll be excited someone gave her a bone."Mimicking him, I shift back in the chair, extend my legs, and fold my hands over my stomach. "Take your time. I've got forever."But we don't. After this weekend, life changes—my life and Chris's. On Monday, Chris and I will be seniors starting our last fall baseball league. I only have a few more months to impress the professional baseball scouts or the dream I've been working toward my entire life will dissolve into ashes.A shove at my foot brings me back to the here and now."Stop the serious shit," Logan whispers. The lone junior at the table and the best damn catcher in the state nods toward the rest of the group. He knows my facial expressions better than anyone. He should. We've been playing together since we were kids. Me pitching. Him catching.For Logan's sake, I laugh at a joke Chris told even though I didn't hear the punch line."We close soon." Taco Bell Chick wipes a table near ours and gives Chris a smile. She almost looks pretty in the glow of the red neon Drive-Thru Open sign."I may call that one," says Chris.I lift a brow. He worships his girlfriend. "No, you won't.""I would if it weren't for Lacy." But he has Lacy, and loves her, so neither one of us continues that conversation."I have one more try." I make a show of glancing around the purple Tex-Mex decorated lobby. "What girl are you choosing for me?"A honk from the drive-thru announces the arrival of a car full of hot girls. Rap pounds from their car and I swear one girl flashes us. I love the city. A brunette in the backseat waves at me. "You should pick one of them.""Sure," Chris says sarcastically. "In fact, why don't I hand you the title now?"Two guys from our table hop out of their seats and go outside, leaving me, Logan, and Chris alone. "Last chance for hot city girls before we drive back to Groveton, Logan."Logan doesn't say anything one way or another, nor does his face move an inch. That's Logan for you—unmoved by much. Unless it involves a feat associated with death."There she is." Chris's eyes brighten as he stares at the entrance. "That's the girl I'm calling as yours."I suck in a deep breath. Chris sounds too happy for this girl to be good news. "Where?""Just came in, waiting at the counter."I risk a look. Black hair. Torn clothes. Total skater. Damn, those chicks are hard-core. I slap my hand against the table and our trays shift. Why? Why did Skater Girl have to wander into Taco Bell tonight?Chris's rough chuckles do nothing to help my growing agitation. "Admit defeat and you won't have to suffer.""No way." I stand, refusing to go down without a fight.All girls are the same. It's what I tell myself as I stroll to the counter. She might look different from the girls at home, but all girls want the same thing—a guy who shows interest. A guy's problem is having the balls to do it. Good thing for me I've got balls. "Hi. I'm Ryan."Her long black hair hides her face, but her slim body with a hint of curves catches my attention. Unlike the girls at home, she isn't wearing marked-down designer labels. Nope. She has her own style. Her black tank top shows more skin than it covers and her skintight jeans hug all the right places. My eyes linger on a single rip in them, directly below her ass.She leans over the counter and the rip widens. Skater Girl turns her head toward me and the drive-thru. "Is someone going to take my fucking order?"Chris's laughter from our corner table jerks me back to reality. I pull off my baseball cap, mess my hand through my hair, and shove the hat back in place. Why her? Why tonight?But there's a dare and I'm going to win. "Counter's a little slow tonight."She glares at me like I'm a little slow. "Are you speaking to me?"Her hard stare dares me to glance away, and a lesser guy would. I'm not lesser. Keep staring, Skater Girl. You don't scare me. I'm drawn to her eyes though. They're blue. Dark blue. I never would have thought someone with such black hair could have those brilliant eyes."I asked you a question." She rests a hip against the counter and crosses her arms over her chest. "Or are you as stupid as you look?"Yep, pure punk: attitude, nose ring, and a sneer that can kill on sight. She's not my type, but she doesn't have to be. I just need her number. "You'd probably get better service if you watched your language."A hint of amusement touches her lips and dances in her eyes. Not the kind of amusement you laugh with. It's the taunting kind. "Does my language bother you?"Yes. "No." Girls don't use fuck. Or they shouldn't. I don't care for the word, but I know when I'm being tested and this is a test."So my language doesn't bother you, but you say—" she raises her voice and leans over the counter again "—I could get some fucking service if I watched my language."Wouldn't hurt. Time to switch tactics. "What do you want?"Her head snaps up as if she had forgotten I was there."What?""To eat. What do you want to eat?""Fish. What do you think I want? I'm at a taco joint."Chris laughs again and this time Logan joins in. If I don't salvage this, I'll be listening to their ridicule the entire way home. This time I lean over the counter and wave at the girl working the drive-thru. I give her a smile. She smiles back. Take lessons, Skater Girl. This is how it's supposed to work. "Can I have a minute?"Drive-Thru Chick's face brightens and she holds up a finger as she continues with the order from outside. "Be right there. Promise."I turn back to Skater Girl, but instead of the warm thank-you I should be receiving she shakes her head, clearly annoyed. "Jocks."My smile falters. Hers grows."How do you know I'm a jock?"Her eyes wander to my chest and I fight a grimace. Written in black letters across my gray shirt is Bullitt County High School, Baseball State Champions."So you are stupid," she says.I'm done. I take one step in the direction of the table, then stop. I don't lose. "What's your name?""What do I have to do to make you leave me alone?"And there it is—my opening. "Give me your phone number."The right side of her mouth quirks up. "You're fucking kidding.""I'm dead serious. Give me your name and phone number and I'll walk away.""You must be brain damaged.""Welcome to Taco Bell. Can I take your order?"We both look at Drive-Thru Chick. She beams at me, then cowers from Skater Girl. With her lids cast down, she asks again, "What can I get you?"I pull out my wallet and slam ten dollars on the counter."Tacos.""And a Coke," Skater Girl says. "Large. Since he's paying.""Oookaay." Drive-Thru Chick enters the order, slides the money off the counter, and returns to the order window. We stare at each other. I swear, this girl never blinks. "I believe a thank-you is in order," I say. "I never asked you to pay.""Give me your name and phone number and we'll call it even."She licks her lips. "There is absolutely nothing you can do to ever get me to give you my name or number."Ring the bell. Playtime ended with those words. Purposely invading her space, I steal a step toward her and place a hand on the counter next to her body. It affects her. I can tell. Her eyes lose the amusement and her arms hug her body. She's small. Smaller than I expected. That attitude is so big I hadn't noticed her height or size. "I bet I can."She juts out her chin. "Can't.""Eight tacos and one large Coke," says the girl from behind the counter.Skater Girl snatches the order and spins on her heel before I can process I'm on the verge of losing. "Wait!"She stops at the door. "What?"This "what" doesn't have nearly the anger of the one before. Maybe I'm getting somewhere. "Give me your phone number. I want to call you."No, I don't, but I do want to win. She's wavering. I can tell.To keep from scaring her off, I bury my excitement. Nothing sends me higher than winning."I'll tell you what." She flashes a smile that drips with a mixture of allure and wickedness. "If you can walk me to my car and open the door for me, I'll give you my number."Can.She steps into the humid night and skips down the sidewalk to the back parking lot. I wouldn't have pegged this girl as a skipper. Skip she does and I follow, tasting the sweet victory.Victory doesn't last long. I freeze midstep on the sidewalk. Before she can prance past the yellow lines confining an old rusty car, two menacing guys climb out and neither appears happy."Something I can do for you, man?" the taller one asks. Tattoos run the length of his arms."Nope." I shove my hands in my pockets and relax my stance. I have no intention of getting into a fight, especially when I'm outnumbered.Tattoo Guy crosses the parking lot, and he'd probably keep coming if it wasn't for the other guy with hair covering his eyes. He stops right in front of Tattoo Guy, halting his progress, but his posture suggests he'd also fight for kicks. "Is there a problem, Beth?"Beth. Hard to believe this hard-core girl could have such a delicate name. As if reading my thoughts, her lips slide into an evil smirk. "Not anymore," she answers as she jumps into the front seat of the car.Both guys walk to their car while keeping an eye on me, as if I'm stupid enough to jump them from behind. The engine roars to life and the car vibrates like duct tape holds it together.In no hurry to go inside and explain to my friends how I lost, I stay on the sidewalk. The car slowly drives by and Beth presses her palm against the passenger window. Written in black marker is the word signaling my defeat: can't.

Editorial Reviews

"This poignant narrative, which is told in the two protagonists' alternating voices, will find a following among those who enjoy contemporary teen romances." -- School and Library Journal on Pushing the Limits