Monday, July 9, 2012

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Title:  Pushing the Limits
Author:  Katie McGarry
Series:  stand-alone
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  July 31, 2012
Source:  Netgalley
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

"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.

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.

I’m pretty picky when it comes to contemporaries and only read the ones I think I’ll actually like. And Pushing the Limits did not disappoint. It’s not just a good girl falls for the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks kind of story, though that is part of it. But while this book tackles some serious issues, it also manages to maintain an air of light-heartedness, which made it a quick, enjoyable read.

I’m tired of books that try to take themselves too seriously. You know the ones I’m talking about. Those that have a message to get out and there will be no having of the fun until that message is firmly delivered. Fear not. This book is not like that. It’s pretty fun and highly entertaining…right from the beginning.

Echo is kind of your typical heroine in that she’s naïve and sheltered and a little anti-social, but it’s of her own doing, which makes her a bit atypical. Echo suffered at the hands of a terrible tragedy, one she can’t remember, and she’s never been quite right since. It probably doesn’t help that she is not only emotionally scarred by it but also physically scarred. And so Echo hides her scars, just as she, herself, hides.

Noah is the hot bad boy who is paired with Echo for tutoring. But Noah isn’t really your typical bad boy, just as Echo isn’t really your average studious heroine type. If things in his life had gone differently, he could be Echo’s “equal” – in all aspects, from social standing to grade point average – but life threw him a few curveballs, and he’s now playing the part of the emotionally-disturbed youth everyone sees him as. In reality, Noah is a really sweet guy who just happens to know what he wants. The problem with that, though, is that he can’t see past what he wants until he almost loses everything.

Echo and Noah really worked well as a couple for me. Noah didn’t have to change for Echo, but he did become a better version of himself for her. Through alternating points-of-view, we get to see their relationship develop and the struggles each deals with to be with the other. And we learn even more about each character through their therapy sessions with Mrs. Collins, the school counselor/social worker extraordinaire.

Mrs. Collins was the central, unifying figure in this story. Without her intervention, Noah and Echo might never have been more than passing acquaintances. Instead, she seeks to help them while they’re helping each other cope with their losses and grief. But Mrs. Collins was most fun when she was butting in:
Noah settled against the wall, pulling me into his chest between his legs. He took the tissue from Mrs. Collins while keeping a protective arm on me. Too tired to care what Mrs. Collins thought, I rested my head against him.
“So, Noah, Echo’s the coat girl.” I had a nickname?
Noah chuckled. “Yeah.”
“Echo, is your father aware of this relationship?”
“Would you believe me if I told you I didn’t know about it?”
Her eyes laughed. “Yes.” She stared at us like we were rats in a maze. “I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t. So much for my intuitive powers. Anyhow, let’s get the two of you to the nurse’s office. She’s here tonight in case of sudden illness or accidents.” – p. 190 of galley
Pushing the Limits was a slightly predictable but ultimately fun read.  If you enjoy stories where the love interests start out with a very antagonistic relationship, this one is definitely right up your alley.

Rating:  Photobucket


  1. I am really excited for this book, and I am normally not a big contemporary fan, but this one just sounds amazing.

    Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  2. Glad you liked this book! I'll definitely look into it :] I recently posted my summer reading list on my new blog if you'd like to take a look!

  3. You are really tearing through some of these contemporaries, BBS! This one sounds really good, too! Thank you for your lovely review and for letting me know about Noah (rawr)! xoxoxo


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