Release Date: July 25th, 2012
Published By: Harlequin Teen Australia
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis: 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. 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.
Review: You know, I am going to be real honest right now. I held off reading Pushing The Limits for a while because I can be a judgmental person. There I said it. I had already made my mind up that Pushing The Limits was going to be just another steamy shallow contemporary YA romance and that was that. I am SO happy to say that I was incredibly wrong. Pushing The Limits was so much more than that. It was real, and confronting. The characters at times proved difficult and frustrating, and overall it ended up being an extremely emotional read. Expect the unexpected with this one.
Pushing the Limits tells the story of Echo and Noah, with alternating chapters from each of their perspectives. Echo is suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to a dark past that we find out about in drips and drabs throughout this story. Echo doesn’t remember what happened or why she has cuts all over her body, and her father and stepmother feel that therapy will help her.
It’s while she’s in therapy that she meets Noah. Noah, the bad boy. :) We like Noah. But there’s more to him than we first see as well. Noah’s parents died in a house fire, and Noah has been separated from his two younger brothers, who have been placed with different foster parents to him. Determined to get them back, Noah is trying to toe the line in order to make a case for himself.
Katie McGarry is talented beyond belief when it comes to writing characters that have their walls up and are really fractured on the inside. She is so subtle that it’s difficult to pin point one moment where we see these characters start to let their guards down, but before you know it, you’re there and it’s happening. And that’s what happens with Noah and Echo. They decide that they both want access to their therapy case files, and try to help each other get the information their each looking for to make them whole again.
Ultimately this is a story about two people who have had pretty hard lives who learn to let their guards down and trust each other. And what comes when this happens is nothing short of special.
I also really enjoyed the other characters that made an appearance in this book. Beth, Isaiah, Echo’s father and stepmother. Each of these characters had depth and a storyline of their own really. Beth is angry and damaged but very sweet on the inside. Isaiah just wants to be close to Beth and tries so hard to break down her barriers. And Echo’s controlling father has his own secrets as to why he is the way he is. The anger Echo feels for her stepmother is also quite powerful, and their complicated relationship makes for a great subplot.
I am really happy to see that Dare To You (the companion book to Pushing The Limits) is all about Beth and her story because even after reading Pushing The Limits, I knew Katie McGarry really had only skimmed the surface with Beth.
Overall this is a must read. I truly loved this story – sure there was some really steamy parts to the book, but there was so much more to this. Due to the nature of some of the themes, I would probably mark this book as being suitable for teens around 17 and up.
“The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”
“I love you enough to never make you choose.”
“If you’re scared, tell me. If you need to cry and scream, then do it. And you sure as hell don’t walk away from us because you think it would be better for me. Here’s the reality, Echo: I want to be by your side. If you want to go to the mall stark naked so you can show the world your scars, then let me hold your hand. If you want to see your mom, then tell me that too. I may not always understand, but damn, baby, I’ll try.”
“Because growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good.”