Monday, July 23, 2012

Double Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits

Author: Katie McGarry

Publication Date: July 31, 2012

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

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.

My Thoughts: Reading books in this genre always leaves a lasting effect on me.  It gives the readers a look into situations that we often hear about and hope that we never have to experience.  Pushing the Limits deals with two teenagers on the brink of becoming adults and they have to work through their own issues in order to deal, move on and live healthy lives or choose to wallow in the past and let it destroy their lives.

Both Noah and Echo are both scarred, mentally, emotionally and physically.  They avoided each other in school, falling prey to the prejudices they heard about the other.  That is until their new school counsellor thrust them together unexpectedly.  Noah needed to get his grades up and Echo has good grades and had to earn some extra money for a special project she was doing.

Noah Hutchins lost his parents and he and his little brothers were forced into the foster care system. After the first house, where Noah was labelled as dangerous, the boys were separated and Noah lost all faith in the system and adults.  He is determined to get his little brothers back at any cost so they can be a family again.

Echo Emerson has a rough family life. She has horrible scars from a night she can't remember, a dead brother, an absent mother - oh, and her dad married the babysitter.  Her father is commanding and over-bearing.  He expects absolute perfection and Echo feels as far from perfection as one can get.

These characters (and the side characters) all touched me. I read the whole book in a day because I simply couldn't put it down. I was sad when this book ended because I fell so in love with the characters that I could have read about their whole life. I found myself on many occasions wanting to yell at most of the adults in the books, who just didn't seem to "get" the children that they were responsible to take care of and protect. In fact, despite the end of the novel, I am still mad at almost every single adult in that book - which speaks for itself on the quality of the novel.

I would recommend Pushing the Limits to pretty much anyone who asks. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My Thoughts: I think in the future that I should refrain from reading these types of books at work. Why? One of my co-workers became increasingly concerned when he glanced over and I was completely lost in the book and my eyes were starting to water. After repeatedly letting him know that I was indeed okay, he continued glancing at me. Come on, it's not my fault that there are so many emotions to go through whilst reading Pushing the Limits. I mean Echo and Noah both have the most heartbreaking stories! Katie McGarry has written a wonderful and heart wrenching story that proves you can move on from the most horrifying experiences.

Pushing the Limits has two protagonists. The first one, Echo, has terrible scars from a night that she has repressed from her memory. She needs to know what happened that night, but can she face it? Every time someone tries to help her remember, her mind snaps and she can't handle the emotional trauma. Her parents are divorced. She lives with her controlling dad, who is distant and remarried her nanny! Her mom is bipolar and gone and her older brother Aries died. She it's safe to say she has a terrible life and I felt so terrible for her the entire time I was reading her thoughts. She is looked at as a freak at school and everyone thinks she's a cutter.

The second protagonist is Noah. He is in the "system". He's been in and out of different foster cares for the last 2 1/2 years. Why? Because there was a horrible house fire that killed his parents. He managed to save his two younger brothers, but they were separated and live with another family. All he wants is to get his brothers back, so he tries to prove that their foster parents are abusing them. He's very troubled and lost everything the night of the fire.

I loved watching Echo and Noah's relationship grow. It wasn't an immediate thing, they are two very different people. Echo's not about to let Noah use her for a one night stand, like all of the other girls. But why can't she stop thinking about him? And Noah knows Echo is smoking, does he ever want her. But for some reason, he can't get his mind off of her, even though she's completely out of his league. Their relationship blooms slowly and it's far from perfect. They have their ups and downs. Together, they can heal from the emotional trauma that happened to them. Maybe they can even become happy eventually.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Pushing the Limits. The whole time I was reading, all I wanted to know was how exactly Echo got her scars. When you finally do find out, it's absolutely horrible and you can't help but want to hug her close. The characters were very realistic and easy to connect with. The adults kind of sucked though. It just irritated me to see how selfish some of them were. It's a heartfelt, horrifying, wonderfully written story that I was practically unable to put down. It definitely is a book that I highly recommend. You should read it if you haven't already. In the meantime, I'll be looking out for more by Katie McGarry.

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