Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry - 5 Stars!

Hi all!

I was eager to read this book since the high praise Inga gave it to in her review a couple of months ago. And to be honest, this story deserves all said and a lot more.

Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Release date: 31th of July 2012
Imprint: Harlequin Teen
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, YA
Pages: 416 in Paperback
Source: Borrowed from Inga who got it from BEA2012

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 haven’t read many YA contemporary coming-of-age books without any supernatural elements but if this is how brilliant they could be, then I better reevaluate my most selected plot types/genres!

Now here is a book that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you demand an über happy ending to the characters that you’ve come to adore, respect and admire through their thorny road. Nothing less than utter bliss will ever do next to the hardships and struggles the main couple had to endure.
This book is just amazing. Plain and simple. You get yourself entangled in the lives of Echo and Noah and it’s an overwhelming experience to be there along the ride. Everything shines and flows: the characters, the emotions – all the joy and pain -, the progress towards everyone’s understanding of “normal”, the sweet and genuine romance, etc etc - and the reader occupies the front row seat to all that good that makes up this book. In addition, I liked underlying theme of hope, taking the solving of your problems into your own hands and promise of a better future in this book.


This book included a number of great, sympathetic, colorful and realistic characters that all played their role perfectly and while at times slightly cliché, you ended up rooting for them 100% and everything else was trivial. Even the supposed “bad” characters were quite gray and you couldn’t fully dislike anybody to a high degree.
Echo: she’s confused, not wholly “herself” anymore, trying to cope but not finding the methods she is subjected to as helpful or successful. At the same time she hasn’t isolated herself, doesn’t wallow in self-pity or behave in the typical no-one-understands-me-so-stay-away. She wanted things to be as they were but feels that mentally and physically she is unable and not ready. All that didn’t mean she became a social reject or moody and pitiful. The negativity came more from outside with her schoolmates and even family being the ones that labeled, patronized or rejected her. The way she handled everything came across more mature than most around her who should know better and, honestly, despite all she was quite strong and levelheaded to find a way out of her issues, doubts and nightmares. Of course there was support, encouragement and acceptance but I credit her the most.
Noah - what isn’t there to like about him! Ok, the occasional pot smoking aside he was such a misunderstood and wounded but still standing and fighting dreamboat. His determination to have custody of his brothers and everything he was willing to sacrifice for that was more than admirable and despite what conditions he was living in with all the prejudices and mistakes made he remained a good loving decent guy. All this came across more powerful and vivid because the book included his point of view and that gave a lot into understanding his inner workings. Echo wasn’t given center stage in this book by a long shot; their involvement was quite at balance. His feelings for her were sincere and their relationship something both needed to stay sane and to just have this positive, new and exciting factor in their lives.
Ok, someone explain to me why troubled or even non-troubled teenagers see people who are there to help as obstacles, enemies and utterly untrustworthy? And in the case of Mrs Collins the resentment was totally uncalled for, I thought she rocked, was cool, quirky and slightly sneaky but always fighting for the best interest of the people in her charge.
Isaiah and Beth were such great characters because they were so broken but despite that they were such a great support for Noah and each other and if I didn’t know better were your regular rebelling teenagers. Beth’s story is next and as soon as I heard that, Dare You To was in my to-be-read list as soon as you could say...well nothing, I was that fast.
The persons I disliked the most, as much as I could dislike these wonderfully created characters, were Echo’s mother and stepmother. They came across too selfish and self-centered claiming to care about Echo, but their actions spoke the total opposite. Still, their behavior had explanations and reasons however messed up those ended up being. But let’s end the characters section with a positive note: Noah’s brothers were incredibly adorable!
Well, what is there to actually say except but read this book and enjoy! Highly recommended!

5 stars!



  1. I loved Pushing the Limits sooooooo much! I have to agree with you on Echo's mother. I know she had a lot of issues, but talk about being selfish! So glad you liked it!

  2. This book pushed me to my limit with its gut-wrenching start and its emotional finish. This story focuses on Echo and Noah's love story.

    Maycee Greene (Seattle IT Consulting)


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