Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Harlequin Teen – July 31, 2012
416 pages – Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Twitter: @ KatieMcGarry
Source: The publisher via Netgalley
I received a digital galley, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Summary from 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. 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
Echo Emberson has had a traumatic past with a life altering event that she can’t remember. Noah Hutchinson has lost in his parents in a house fire and his two little brothers to the foster system. He wants to get her brothers back and be a family again. Echo wants to remember the night that left her with so many angry scars. Both want normal - something that they may never have again.
There were moments where I had to fight back tears, moments where I relaxed in brief moments of peace. Pushing the Limits was a roller coaster and kept the emotions flowing – never settling on one for too long. I am not sure if I can write this review without gushing. I loved this book!! Usually characters are either good or bad. They may have tendencies of the opposite, but good guys are good and bad guys are bad. Happily, that was not the case with Pushing the Limits. Here the characters were irrevocably human. You see all of the secondary characters through the eyes of Echo or Noah, so you are shaded by their opinions and objections of each. Everyone comes to life, flawed and radiant.
I think it was great seeing others through Echo and Noah. You don’t have to decide whether or not you like them, but you do learn to accept them as they are. Something that Echo and Noah learns to do as well.
Since it’s a given that I love this book, I won’t go on and on about what I like. I will talk about what works. You meet Echo with a hole in her memory and scars on her body. She wants to know what happened in the hopes of gaining her life back. Her parents, police and therapists all know but refuse to tell her. In a short period of times Echo loses her brother Aires to Afghanistan and her mother to the depressive side of bi-polar. Her father, who seems to want nothing more than to control her life, is too absorbed with his new wife and unborn child. Echo feels that she needs to be perfect to win his love. All of this comes together to add an unsettling tension to the story of Echo’s life. Without knowing the whole story of what has happened to Echo, you are just unsettled reading it as Echo is living it.
Noah is a foster kid with limited supervised visits with his younger brothers. From his previous experiences, he has learned to not become attached to anyone and to never trust adults. He carries the burden of a guilt-heavy secret with his little brother Jacob. He deeply fears that his youngest brother, Tyler, will forget him. He does everything he can to fight for the custody of his brothers. Knowing about his family adds another layer onto Noah’s character and you can’t help but understand and care about what happens.
Echo and Noah, like magnets, are instantly and passionately attracted and repelled to each other. Where no one can truly accept them as they are, they are able to accept each other. Both feel as if they are not worthy of the other. Neither are completely prepared for the way that their lives ar about to change. But neither was I.
With everything that Echo and Noah has experienced, I so wanted a perfect happy ending. I got something even better. It was warm and cozy, yet it was a flawed ending. It was beautiful, believable and satisfying. Because I am a pessimist at heart, I am glad Noah and Echo’s story ended where it did. Any world where Echo and Noah were not together would not be right.
What’s Next? Dare You to (Beth’s Story)
5 Stars *****
A 2012 favorite
Bonus: If you are in the Louisville, KY - Katie McGarry, Bethany Griffin, Kelly Creagh and Julie Kagawa will be at Barnes & Noble in The Summit tomorrow from 6:30-8:30!