Worth it Wednesdays: “Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

Pushing the LimitsTitle: Pushing the Limits

Author: Katie McGarry

Goodreads DescriptionSo 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.

Why it’s worth it: I got Pushing the Limits as an ARC back in 2012, and I still can’t tell you why I requested it in the first place. I don’t like contemporary YA romances, as a rule. They all seem the same to me, and I get bored easily.

I’M SO GLAD THAT I DID THOUGH, because this book is such a stand out.

I think the best thing about Pushing the Limits is that it isn’t just a love story. I mean, it certainly is a romance–and a really, really good one–but it also takes the time to give Noah and Echo lives outside of their romance–really, really 3D lives. They’re both struggling through real, serious struggles in their own, individual lives, each of which could have been a singular novel on their own. But then their stories twine together, and they fall in love and give each other strength while doing so.

One thing that always irks me in YA contemporary romance is that there is usually one person in the romance (typically the girl, but not always) who is having the struggle, and then the other one comes in at exactly the right time to be their hero. Or, worse, they both have very shallow struggles going on that take a backseat to some kind of star-crossed love. In my ARC review of Pushing the Limits, I wrote that it was actually NOAH’S finale that made me tear up, as opposed to Echo’s, which NEVER happens to me. I usually identify with the girl more, and usually the guys are really trite besides. Noah and Echo are both important, integral and real parts of the story–something I have rarely found outside of Katie’s books.

I did also review the second book in this series, Dare You To, on my blog, but I read the whole series and loved every one. Sure, I didn’t really have the intense, visceral reaction that I did to Pushing the Limits, but that doesn’t make the whole series any less worth it.

Read it if you’re looking for: contemporary romance that isn’t cliche, books dealing with serious topics, love that isn’t insta-love, realistic romance, a tear jerker, swoon worthy leads

Advertisements

Review: “The Distance Between Us” by Kasie West

The Distance Between UsThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Goodreads | Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Three and a half stars

I don’t buy books often anymore, but after a bunch of bloggers I follow fell head over heels for this one–and I decided I needed a cute little pick me up–this book seemed like a good one to buy. (Also, the paperback fact. That helped.) What I found wasn’t perfect, but it was most certainly cute.

Continue reading

ARC Review: “Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Goodreads | Amazon

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.