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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Young Adult
Pages: 392
Genre: Contemporary, Romance



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.
*Digital galley was provided by Harlequin Teen for an honest review*

My heart broke. A story about two teens with horrendous pasts filled with despair, regret, an dread. Secrets within the both of them that take time to pry open, time to get to know the other. Each has a reputation. Each fails to care about social hierarchy of high school. Therapy sessions, cracking files, falling in love, stolen kisses, the smell of cinnamon--I had fallen face first for Noah and Echo. The girl with the scars, a painter. A boy trying to rise up from the ashes, with a family stolen away from him. So much history, so much determination to get back something they had lost.

There are no perfect characters trying to make their ways through the pages in Pushing the Limits. Between a mentally ill mother, an overbearing controlling father, the nanny her new stepmother and pregnant to boot, and a bother ravaged by war and six feet under, Echo has her scars, physical and emotional. Rumors explode around school regarding her disappearance. Her reputation fell. Echo's past is haunting as she tries to remember everything the night her mother tried to kill her. Her mind has repressed the memory. The story and the past pounds on your chest with force. It pulls at you.

Noah is a two part character. And what I mean by that is the way he is viewed. The first part is the outer shell that everyone around him labels him by: stoner, girl-user, player, loner, under-achiever. Everything about that part of him is articulated by the way he is perceived by the people around him based on appearance and rumor. Then there is the inner part to Noah that takes time to get to know, a piece of him that needs a nudge in order to reveal. He's passionate, he has a goal: to get his brothers back in his care rather than in the possession of foster parents. He's smart, he just needs a push from time to time in order to do his work, is all. His heart can break too. He can love. He can care. He is a person. And Noah brings out more and more of that person, more and more of that interest and care in the actions that he takes for her and the things that he does in order to make sure his brothers are safe and sound and happy.

Both of them have fought hard to stay who they are. When Echo would get into fights with her friends because she was ruining her reputation by getting close to Noah I felt irked by that kind of mentality of her friends. High school is a hell in its own formation. Reputation is a nice thing to keep clean, but it's Echo's choice to be with Noah. It's the people who decide her reputation. If her friends were really her friends, they would be happy in the decisions that she made, decisions that made her happy. Echo's friends and Luke, her ex-boyfriend, were the only issues in the novel that made me puff my cheeks in aggravation. I'm not saying that it's something to critique on, they were looking out for Echo, but I feel that by looking out for her they would stand by any decision that made her comfortable and happy rather than push her to get back together with an ex-boyfriend that wanted to do something she wasn't ready nor comfortable with doing.

Final Summation: I did read book two before read book one (silly me), but reading Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series out of order does not mess up anything or confuse. Characters are constant in both novels, but they are constantly reference and referred to. Besides that point, I absolutely loved this novel as much as I loved DARE YOU TO, the second book. Noah and Echo (great name choices) and all of their horrible past were enchanting to watch grow together with. I had such a fun and heart wrenching time with this novel.

First Line: "My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has . . . well . . . issues. How do you think I'm doing?"
Story: XS
Cover: A