Dare You To Hate Me is the first book in the Lindon U. series by B. Celeste. This is a unique premise for me. The novel follows a university football star, Aiden, and the girl who stole his heart as a child and disappeared, Ivy. After years, fate stepped in and reunited Aiden and Ivy. However, Ivy has made decisions that have led her down a very dark path. Aiden is at the top of his game and has every goal he sets to achieve, yet all he can think about is Ivy.
My heart cried for Ivy. She was a neglected, emotionally abused teenager who made a bad decision. Ivy had no one to fall back on, and she spiraled. Ivy left her only emotional support in Aiden and his family. Ivy has paid dearly for her decisions, yet she has risen from the ashes of her past. Ivy finds her voice and her worth with Aiden’s support and love.
Aiden has worked diligently to be the top player and A student at Lindon U. Aiden is going pro after this semester. Aiden reunites with Ivy, and all those feelings come rushing back, but Ivy is a shell of what he remembers. Aiden is sweet to Ivy; he never lets go, even when she lashes out. Aiden’s love helps heal Ivy and gives her the strength to begin again.
The plot discusses situations that could be content warnings for some readers. Emotional abuse is prevalent in Ivy’s young life, and I felt the book did an excellent job portraying how destructive words and neglect can be to a child. Self-harm is also discussed, and I thought it was described in a realistic, respectful manner. Ivy eventually seeks assistance with her mental health. The message of hope the author creates with Ivy’s journey is beautiful and uplifting.
There are a lot of secondary characters whom I feel are waiting on their own stories. I was intrigued by the football team and look forward to their stories. This is my first novel by B. Celeste, and I was impressed. The author did an excellent job portraying important themes within a heart-wrenching, passionate love story.
Publication Date: April 11, 2023