ARC Review: “Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

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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.

4.5 stars

This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley and HarlequinTeen. You can get a copy for yourself July 24, 2012.

I should probably mention that I don’t usually read contemps. I mean, with how I feel about romance and insta-love and yadda yadda, I’d at least like to have some fantastical elements to keep the action going so *I* can keep going. However, Pushing the Limits?

This I finished in one night. And then promptly added to my Goodreads favorites shelf. And it was my brother’s 16 birthday to boot.

The thing about this book is that it’s not JUST about romance. The issues that Echo is dealing with (those scares came from something her mother was involved in, she’s worried she’s bipolar AND her father is expecting a baby with the twenty-something woman he replaced her mother with. Who was once Echo’s babysitter, no less.) and the issues that Noah are dealing with (he’s in the foster system, separated from his two younger brothers, trying to reunite his family) are REAL. They are important. They are powerful. And, hey, if they happen to fall in love on the way, that’s cool too.

Originally, I wasn’t very happy with Echo. She was letting her father and everyone else really control her life and molding her into something she really didn’t want to be. The important thing, though, is that this is just another part of the story. McGarry recognizes the problem and then makes sure Echo DEALS with it instead of being a simpering, inactive female lead the whole time.

Noah, too, started out as your typical, cliché, slacker-pot smoker. Then you add the layer of his parents death and his brothers and suddenly he, too, becomes a three-dimensional character. I’ve enjoyed contemps with male leads who were just the typical, but Noah brought this book to a whole other level.

Sure, to like this book, you’ve got to like drama. You have to be cool with a lot of crying, teenage freaking out and–yes–some teenage school drama. But what I loved is that, for once, even the school drama really got me. After all, I can only imagine how much courage it took for Echo to walk into the cafeteria of her school with her scars bared.

In points, it does get a bit preachy, but I let it slide. I was actually shocked at how it was NOAH’s ending scene with his brothers that made me tear up a little bit. Usually I empathize with the girl because the guy doesn’t really have much going for him. I loved the switch.

Pushing the Limits was almost like a YA Nicholas Sparks book. Only better, because it had a happy ending. It was a book with a message that KNEW it had a message, but I also could still feel the power coming off the pages. I am way too much excited for the companion novel McGarry is writing, and this one isn’t even out yet.

The bottom line: If you are a contemporary YA lover, you NEED to read this. Even if you aren’t, like me, I absolutely recommend that you give this a try.


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