Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Author: Katie McGarry
Release Date: August 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Add it: Goodreads 

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. 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.

The rave reviews are what pushed me over the lim... edge (see, I'm not TOTALLY lame!). After so many readers proclaimed this as one of the best YA books they've ever read, there was no possible way I could let this book slip by me. I had to see what all the fuss was about! Though I can't quite say it lived up to the massive hype for me, I still absolutely enjoyed the intense rollercoaster Katie McGarry took me!

Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins are both as messed up as one another, and it's their troubles that pave the road to their consuming romance. Told in dual narrative, Pushing the Limits really digs deep into the heart of both it's main characters, bringing to light every painful scar, both on body and soul. Echo's struggling with repressed memories of the night she almost died, a tainted reputation at school and her infuriating family. Noah's the bad boy with hidden heart, screwed over by the welfare system and desperately longing to put his family back together. Both are a wreck, but discover that love may be the glue to mending the pieces of their shattered lives.

I did have a few issues with Echo and Noah, and I think that's what stopped me from falling in with 99% of the blogosphere who loved this beyond words. Yet in saying that, those issues are what made them so real, so human. Flawed, troubled teens, and that's what I love to see in books. Characters that come alive, warts and all. Noah's overwhelming desire to gain custody of his brothers really spoke volumes about his love for his family. He may give off the bad boy stoner act, but at heart he's a very sweet guy. His intentions come from a good place, though at times he frustrated me with his lack of realism. He wasn't viewing the situation logically in what he could provide his brothers and his rigid determination to do what he thought was right had me wanting to reach through and shake some sense into him. But anything less probably wouldn't feel authentic, given his trust issues with the foster system. And he did make me a little emotional in a scene toward the end with his family!

Echo is undoubtedly an emotional mess and what's worse is she can't entirely remember why she got that way. The memories of that ill-fated night with her mother have been buried deep, only peeking out in flashes and the painfully clear scars slashed across her arms. There were times, particularly with her friends and her father, where I wished she'd just stand up for herself and tell them to f*** off! I wanted her to be strong, be bold, be the girl she was around Noah, who didn't take his crap. Her friends, with the exception of Lila, can hardly even be called that. Clare pissed me off, caring only about her reputation and the effect Echo might have on it. I don't understand why Echo even bothered with her and especially with her ex-boyfriend, Luke. But I can understand that she just wanted normality. For so long she's been alienated and she's dealing with all this emotional crap in her life, she just wants to fit in again.

Though I didn't always love them (I did love their therapist, Mrs. Collins!), I really enjoyed Echo and Noah much more as they grew over the course of the novel; as they pushed and inspired one another, as things grew more out of control and secrets unearthed from the dark; as sparks flew, hearts broke and desires tipped over the edge. I'm really happy with the way their story concluded and I'm eager to see what Katie McGarry has in store for the companion novel!

Pushing the Limits is without question, an addictive read. I was tossing up between a 3.5 or 4 rating, but even though I had a few niggles with the characters and there were times where I wished the drama was dialed down a notch, I couldn't stop reading until I finished. Something kept compelling me to turn those pages again and again, and that's one of the vital things I ask for in a book. One I can't pull away from. Brimming with emotions, Pushing the Limits does to it's characters exactly what the title promises and whether you love them or not, you can't help but fall along for the ride.

4/5 Golden Apples!

Add it: Goodreads


  1. i can't wait 2 freakin read this
    gr8 review brodie

  2. I OFFICIALLY LABELED YOU DANGEROUS... for my wallet. x) There you go again with your Brodie-patented super power of making Mimi want to buy all the books you review! I know that everyone has been loving this book and I love THEM for that, but I love YOU because I'm pretty sure yours is the first one that didn't fall completely in love with it -- and the critique is intriguing! I'm already prepared to want to imagine Echo's dad as a punching bag. I want to imagine Noah as the pillow you hug in your sleep! x)

    Amazing review, Brodie! And just so you know, you are most certainly NOT lame. Honest! I want to be like you when I grow up! :') <3

  3. I absolutely LOVED this book. Didn't think I would love it as much as I did . . . but boy I sure did. The characters were so problematic but so real too. Loved them. Lovely review, Brodie!

  4. "His intentions come from a good place, though at times he frustrated me with his lack of realism. He wasn't viewing the situation logically in what he could provide his brothers and his rigid determination to do what he thought was right had me wanting to reach through and shake some sense into him."

    AAAAAAAAAAH! BRODIE! YES YES YES! I wanted to shake him and make him see, but I kind of loved that he felt so authentic... that the book was really about a journey for both Noah and Echo, and about... welll... learning? Kind of? YOU KNOW?

    I'm so sorry you didn't love it quite as much... but I so so SOOO get--and AGREE with--everything you said! I just loved... how raw Noah and Echo were... they were both messed up beyond beleif, unable to see past themselves, but they were so real and imperfect and heartbreaking and EEEEEEEEEEEE!

    ANYWAY. I'M ALL BOUNCY FROM GOOD BOOK HIGHS. I haven't read a dud in weeks, and it's EXCITING AND I LOVE IT :D



  5. Noah and Echo...I'm so excited to meet them. Starting the book tonight! :) I'm really looking forward to seeing what I think of it. The majority of people loved it, obviously, should be good ;) *is in emotional lala land from watching Comic Con videos*

  6. Brilliant review, Brodie! Your review reminded me of Mrs Collins, I think she wins the award for best character in this book, she was great! I love how she got them to do what they had to without forcing them. I felt the same way as you, there were a few things that stopped me from loving this but I can see why people have fallen in love with this couple :)

  7. EEEEEEE Brodie! I'm really glad you enjoyed the book! Despite the fact that you had some issues with Echo and Noah, I'm still glad that you enjoyed reading about them! I liked how real the characters felt to me and like you said, I couldn't stop reading the book either. There's that compelling force that kept you hooked into the story ;)

    Awesome review, Brodie! ♥

  8. I LOVED this book! It was so good! I barely read contemporaries but this one was JUST AMAZING :)

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  9. I loved this book. I think being a mum I totally get Noah and although he may have not been being practical , he wasn't thinking any of that because he was so desperate and afraid for his brothers, afraid of being forgotten. I would be the same. I would not think logically I would think desperately as it would be all I had left. Awesome review. I am not a huge contemporary reader and this book put the genre on my map for me.

    It's great writing when we as readers have to grab for a tissue. I grabbed more than was quite a fear for me if something happened to hubby and me:S



  10. I LOVED this book! It truly is an addictive read, I couldn't put it down as well and stayed up late just to finish it. Great review!

  11. This review pretty much summed up my thoughts as well!! BRODIE ARE YOU LIVING IN MY BRAIN??? I loved this, but I had the same niggles as you pretty much...especially about Noah. I did adore their therapist too!!

    Cait x

  12. There WAS a lot of drama in this book and I agree that Noah and Echo weren't the easiest pair to fall for at first. But I really ended up enjoying this and I'm glad to see you liked it too! :) This book made me cry more times than I'm willing to admit and I can't wait to get Beth's story next. Amazing, amazing review!

  13. I agree with this exactly! Noah wasn't thinking realistically IMO and I really, really wish Echo would stand up for herself. But I did like it overall. Great review! :)

  14. I'm glad you enjoyed this, despite a few flaws with the characters. I'm currently reading this and I'm loving watching Echo and Noah grow as characters and come out of their shells, especially Echo. I agree that Echo's quest to find 'normal' is hard to understand and Noah is a little unrealistic with wanting to look after his brothers but I think that just shows just how much he loves them. Pushing the Limits is such a page-turner and I'm glad you were pulled into it :)

    Fantastic review, Brodie <3

  15. I have to say I love a book that has you turning the pages until you're done! I'm super curious about this one after hearing such awesome things as well, but I'm a bit worried about the characters all the same. I tend to be a bit picky sometimes when it comes to them! I guess we'll see where I'll end up when I pick it up, which is soon! I'm really glad you still ended up enjoying it. :) Great review!

  16. Sounds like a fast page turner with some troubled, flawed characters. I am glad you liked it. I have heard the hype and your review seems to provide a clearer picture of what to expect when I read it. Amazing review Brodie!

  17. This is one of my most recommended books. It's just such a great story and (as lame as it sounds) its a great journey you go on with the main character as she finds out what has happened to her. Then to top it off there's a beautiful young romance that develops though out the book. You have to read this. You just have to.

    Maycee Greene (Seattle IT Consultant)


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