ARC Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Posted July 29th, 2012 in book review / 14 comments

Pushing the Limits

by Katie McGarry

Publisher: Harlequin Teen (July 31st 2012)
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Format: eARC (384 pages)
Source: NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

So wrong for each other…and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

At a Glance
So, yeah, I actually read a contemporary book. *gasps* I know, I know, so unlike me. But I saw everyone reading Pushing the Limits and I just had to see what all the fuss was about. The verdict: Oh. My. God. I think I will have to start reading more contemporary fiction from now on.

The Good
Here’s the Story…
Echo had a great life. She had been dating the most popular guy in school and she had her brother to always lean on. But after her brother’s death and her mom’s breakdown, nothing has ever been the same. And after one horrible night, Echo comes back to school a recluse with scars on her arms. Now all she wants to do is remember the suppressed memories of the night she got her scars, the night she almost died.

Noah has been screwed over by the foster care system. He doesn’t want his little brothers to suffer the same fate. Ever since his parents died all he can think about is rescuing his siblings and starting a new life away from lying, abusive adults.

Echo and Noah are drawn to each other. Their traumatic pasts make them outcasts in a world of “normal” people. All they want to do is be normal. But together they find that normal is overrated, being with the ones you love is what counts.

Good to Amazing…
There are a few books that affect me enough for me to think about them long after I finished them. Pushing the Limits stuck with me for days. I went through the story over and over again in my head just reliving the awesomeness that is this novel. McGarry does an excellent job of creating dynamic characters that take a story from good to amazing.

Echo’s story was simply devastating. She is alone in a room full of people. She is unheard when she speaks. And she is lost among memories that won’t resurface. She hasn’t seen her mom in a year, her brother–the person who always understood her–is gone forever, and her father only cares about his new bride and baby on the way. Most of her friends abandoned her because hanging around a freak with scars is social suicide. The worst part is that no one will tell her what happened the night her world changed, the night she got her scars. And the not knowing is driving her to madness. You can’t help but feel bad for Echo. She is so broken and depressed. But she is mendable. We get to watch as Echo tries to rebuild her confidence, her passion for life. She learns to love and forgive. And she learns to trust.

Noah is just as lost as Echo. Labeled troubled and violent, he is often refused visitation with his brothers. This only kindles the fire to rescue his brothers from foster parents probably as bad as his were. But first he must finish high school. So he drowns his sorrows by getting high. Then he meets Echo. And from there, I fell in love with him. He is both strong and determined. He doesn’t let anything stand in his way. And he truly cares about Echo more than he ever imagined he was capable of.

Selfless Love…
Together, Echo and Noah go on a roller coaster of a ride. They have euphoric highs and devastating lows. They aren’t a typical couple. They help each other deal with the drama of their daily lives and even start to heal each other’s deeper wounds. They have each lost a part of their souls, and together they start to fill those voids with selfless love. A love that transcends each other. They both compromise and risk losing it all just for the other to be happy.

McGarry does an excellent job of bringing to light some very real problems any one of us could face–God forbid. She has developed realistic characters that make the reader feel an array of emotions with every page. Even funny and caring Ms. Collins, Echo and Noah’s counselor, played a huge part in healing these teenagers from the neglect and pain they have suffered. I left this book feeling like I had physically witnessed these characters’ lives every step of the way.

The Bad
Is this book perfect, no, but I really have no things to complain about. I loved the journey, even when it was overly dramatic or heavy on the puppy love.

The Snuggly
OMFG. This book is hot…in a YA sort of way. No sex but sooooo much kissing and touching that it gave me butterflies in my stomach.

Echo and Noah are seriously a cute couple. I want to be friends with them just so I can witness their love blossom. I liked that their traumatic pasts brought them closer together, each of them relating to the other over loss. It’s a crappy thing to have in common but it can unite people in many ways.

I think almost anyone could enjoy this book. You can get lost in this world of pain and love. The characters invite you to love them, to cry for them, and to jump with joy as they rebuild their lives. Highly recommended.

Like always, she stared straight ahead as if I didn’t exist. Hell, I probably didn’t exist in her mind. People like Echo Emerson irritated the crap out of me.

“You’ve got a f**ked up name,” I mumbled. I didn’t know why I wanted to rattle her, I just did.

“Shouldn’t you be getting high in the bathroom.”

So she did know me. “They installed security cameras. We do it in the parking lot now.”

“My bad.” Her foot rocked frantically back and forth.

Good, I’d succeeded in getting under the perfect facade. ” Echo…echo…echo…”

Her foot stopped rocking and red curls bounced furiously as she turned to face me. “How original. I’ve never heard that before.” She swept up her backpack and left the office.

Her shoulders never shook. No tears streamed down her face. The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.

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14 Responses to “ARC Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry”

  1. Jenny

    Sounds like another one to add to my TBR list. I loved that last paragraph you quoted. McGarry summed up a feeling I think many of us have felt at some point in time.

  2. Ashley

    I’m soooooo glad you loved this book! I read it a few weeks go and z0mg loved it! And I totally agree with this:

    “OMFG. This book is hot…in a YA sort of way. No sex but sooooo much kissing and touching that it gave me butterflies in my stomach. “

    In some ways I felt like McGarry was taunting us with all the kissing and touching but never quite going so far… XD

    Definitely one of my favourite books of 2012!

  3. Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

    I LOVED your review!< 3 I’m not one to pick up contemporaries either, but this book has definitely proven itself to be really good. Both Echo and Noah sound like fantastic characters. Awesome review <3

  4. Sarah (saz101)

    JENNNNNNNNNNNNNN! ASDFGHJKLDAGHRFDADG! I’M SO GLAD YOU LOVED IT! It’s just… it really was a truly extraordinary book. SO well done, so beautifully and handled, and how McGarry managed to get THAT MUCH HEAT out of a few kisses? PHWOAR.

    I’m SO excited you loved it. Seriously. *is bouncing*


  5. Silverlight

    I’ve heard such great things about this one, I guess I’ll have to pick it up too!! Great review, Jen!! I’m not a huge contemp. fan, either but I mean who can resist this, right!

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