Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry - 5 star Review!

Happy Thursday!

I am so excited and happy to post a review of a book, which I devoured. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is a wonderful book and I would highly recommended to all readers! During the coming days, there will also be Q&A with the author Katie McGarry and a giveaway of Pushing the Limits which is organized by Media Masters Publicity and HarlequinTeen. So enjoy the review and come back to check out the Q&A and giveaway!
Author: Katie McGarry
Title: Pushing the Limits
Release date: 31st of July 2012
Published by: HarlequinTEEN
Reading level: FICTION – Adult: YA, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 416 pages in ARC
Source: Received signed ARC at BEA2012 from the author


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.

I love the cover!

"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise."

Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins?

His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?"

No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

My review:

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry took my breath away. I am afraid that no review including mine can do this book justice, because it is beautifully written, has complex and lovable characters and it is emotionally engaging novel which in my opinion takes contemporary young adult literature to a very different level - I would not want to change one single thing about it. The quality of the writing is incredible, character and story development admirable and it touched me deeply. Pushing the Limits made me smile, laugh, cry, terrified and happy. The best part of Pushing the Limits is, that the author put this incredible story into only 416 pages! Not many authors are capable of writing a wonderful story and limit it into one book. I was awed.

(Katie, if you ever read this review - you rock!)


The story starts out with a therapy session at Eastwick High where our 17 years old heroine Echo is bound to visit a clinical social worker Mrs Collins. The reader quickly finds out, that something has happened to Echo and that she cannot remember exactly what it was. Echo only knows and has to live with the consequences. She cannot sleep due to the nightmares, she is literally emotionally and physically scarred and her social life has lost its glory. She does not miss the last, she just wants to be left alone and understand, what exactly happened at the night where she almost lost her life. But most of all, she wants normal.

Meet Noah, a young guy who also has mandatory sessions with Mrs Collins. Noah seems to be a troubled guy who has moved from one foster home to another after his own parents died. Noah does not trust anybody, he has been let down by the system one too many times and nobody seems to really care about him.

Echo is getting a task from Mrs Collins to start tutoring Noah and when Echo and Noah are meeting, it's a clash between biased opinions. Noah sees Echo as a spoiled and rich girl who has never had to suffer and fight for anything in her life, that she is protected and loved. Echo sees Noah as young hot man who does not want anything else from the life than a girl on the backseat of his car and drugs. Boy, are they both wrong!

What starts out as a clash between differences grows into a spark and from a spark into fireworks. The attraction between Echo and Noah grows as grows their respect and love for each other when they realize what are the reasons WHY they need to visit Mrs Collins.

Background stories of Echo and Noah were thoroughly created by the author. There were twists and turns in both Echo's and Noah's stories which were heart-wrenching and terrible. They way how author developed both characters was interesting and the challenges the author put both of them through were generously and painfully beautiful.

The story was told by two points of views: by Echos' and Noah's. I loved the smooth switch between them, because they had distinct voices which really fitted them and which mirrored their worlds and background stories.


One cannot write a review about Pushing the Limits without mentioning and taking the deeper look into the characters!

The main characters, Echo and Noah were both very lovable.

Echo was a girl who has experienced something so terrible that her brain has blocked all information about it. Nobody wants to tell her what happened and Mrs Collins is the key in solving that mystery and has a key role in the development of the story. Echo starts out as insecure young woman. She hides the scars she has on her body and she knows that everybody stares and thinks that she has probably hurt herself or tried to kill herself. Due to the pressure from her friends, she is finally agreeing to eat her lunch together with others in the cafeteria. Echo does that for her friends and not because she wants to. She hates being on the middle of gossip and honestly, who wouldn't? Echo is heavily influenced by her father who in the beginning of the story seems like an unpleasant control freak. Echo dislikes that her father has married and loves a woman who used to be her nanny. She misses her mother who has received a restraining order and she does not understand why her mother is not returning her calls.

Step by step Echo is becoming more bold, especially after she meets Noah. She finds the courage to find out what really happened to her. When she does, she steps up to her father and lets out her well-hidden and suppressed anger! I loved the scenes where she finally spoke up even though it was wrong. I loved how she gained power and responsibility of her own life. I admired her for her strength when she finally met her mother again and realizes how wrong she has been. Most of all, I love her for the courage of apologizing to her father and understanding, that everything is not as it seems. I was proud of Echo when she finally gave herself into grieving her brother.

Noah has had a tough life. He lost his parents in a fire accident and lived in foster families where really none cared for him. He was abused by some of the foster families he lived with and when he finally protects himself against abuse, he gets punished - two persons whom he loved most, his two younger brothers, are taken away from him. He is not allowed to visit them, at least until Mrs Collins shows up in the beginning of the book. Noah has lots of luggage to carry from his young life, he is protecting a secret which he has sworn would never come out. He feels that he is responsible for his brothers and he is so sure, that the foster parents of his younger brothers' are as bad as his own foster parents were. He is hurting every moment he is away from his brothers, at least until Echo appears.

The relationship between Echo and Noah was tender and supportive. They both strengthened each other and they got the courage to take decisions from each other. They were meant to be together, their love was so strong; Echo was willing to set Noah free that he could concentrate on his brothers and Noah was willing to let Echo go, so she could get better life.

There were many supportive characters to love: Mrs Collins, Isaiah, Lili, Jacob and Tyler, Beth and even Aries.

If all the therapists (social workers) would be like Mrs Collins, the world would be better place to live at! She was strict when needed, she won trust by keeping her promises, she guided when needed and knew when not to dig in. She knew when Echo and Noah were plotting to find the files. She was smart, warm and tough and she protected her patients. I loved her character!

Lili was Echo's best friend and stayed put, whatever Echo decided, Lili was there to support her. Isiah and Beth were foster kids in the same family with Noah and Noah's best friends. All these characters had a story which was nicely woven into the story. I really hope that we will see some more to them in the upcoming books!


Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is a book about loss, betrayal, friendship, love and family. It was a book about letting go and growing up. It was the best YA book, I have read this year! I highly recommend Pushing the Limits - its not only reading, it is an experience you will never forget!

5 stars.

5 Flowers!
Buy links:

Barnes & Noble
Indie bound
Book Trailer:

About the author:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and she 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.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. Katie loves to visit schools and talk to teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach.


Twitter: @KatieMcGarry /!/KatieMcGarry

I met Katie McGarry at BEA2012 for Harlequin's YA author signing. Here is the picture:

She signed my copy of Pushing the Limits with words: Love Never Fails. Here is the picture:

Thanks for coming by and remember, that there will be Q&A with Katie McGarry and giveaway of Pushing the Limits in few days! Stay tuned!

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you liked this one as much as I did! It was such an amazing book.