Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from July 10 - 13, 2012
My rating: 4 stars: I really like it
Summary: 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 smokinghot, 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.

Because growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn't necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good.

Let's just start by saying that Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is one of the best YA Comtemporary that I have ever read. Although this story is dark and intense, it is engaging and it takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride: it makes you laugh, smile and cry. And here's a fact that might show you how much I really liked this book: I wasn't supposed to read this book right now, because midterm is approaching real fast, but I couldn't wait until after July. I couldn't possibly be studying, knowing that I still hadn't finished it! I decided to put my grades a little more at risk, and I was totally glad I did! 

This is a story of two awesome characters. Echo Emerson, perfect girl gone freak, comes back to school only to find that things aren't the same. After that horrible night, Echo has kind of lost her mind and couldn't remember what happened to her. This haunts her and gives her nightmare. She has a bad scar on her arm, and she covers it with long-sleeved shirts every day. People don't care enough to ask; they're happy with believing their own assumptions that she's cut herself. Her father has remarried and she isn't allowed to contact her mother in any way at all. What's more, she has to do therapy sessions with Mrs Collins, and so does Noah. And this is where the romance begins. Noah is a great guy, totally undeserving of all the bad things that have happened to him. His family is shattered after his parents died in a fire. His two little brothers  are lucky enough to survive, but Noah has never been able to erase the guilt from his mind. Jacob and Tyler , his two brothers, are then adopted, and visitations is the best Noah can do before he files for custody. With determination to bring his family back together, Noah will just about do anything he has to do, and that includes, much to his dismay, tutoring sessions with Echo Emerson. 

I must admit that I wasn't sure about if I would end up liking this book at first. The first  30% something of the book couldn't manage to get me hooked. But then afterwards things start happening and it gets a whole lot more exciting! This book is narrated by both Echo and Noah alternatively, which, in my opinion, works very well with. We get to know what each character is thinking and what they're feeling. I really enjoyed Noah's nasty thoughts, haha! The POV switching between chapters were not bumpy at all, but very smoothly done. It picks up where the previous chapter leaves off. But what irritated me is the fact that my copy doesn't tell me who is speaking at the moment. I would read a few sentences, unaware of the switch, and realize that it's the other person speaking, and had to reread the whole thing to make sense of what would come next. Normally this would be a very big problem which would affect my overall enjoyment of the book. Yes, it was a little tiring, but I decided that I liked Pushing the Limits so much that I didn't really care about this! 

It's understandable why a lot of people love this book. Not only is it so real, but it also tore my heart apart.  Big time. Pushing the Limits isn't your typical teenage romance, it's so much more; it's about family and friendship and coming to terms with the past and horrible things that happens in your life. The part I adored most is when Noah decides to do what's best for his little brothers, despite its being what he's been going against, my heart broke to little pieces. This, I think, is love. You stop being selfish, you don't think as much of your happiness as someone else's. You love them enough to let them go, to let them have what's best for them, when if you're not a part of it. I love that family plays such a big role in this book. Friendship, too, is nicely touched upon. While Echo's friends ignore her publicly because she's been labeled as freak, Noah's friends stand beside him as family. This is a real situation and it's very well portrayed in this book. Sometimes people use friendship as a tool to achieve things, and when it's not useful anymore, what good is it to keep it? It's nice to know that in a world where friendship can be used as a means to some other end, there are friends like Noah's who have been through so much together and won't abandon each other. It's very touching. *adds tears here* 

Apart from the story, I love the characters. Both Noah and Echo are great. Throughout the story, their developments are very evident. I love when there are character developments. Echo goes from a girl who hides away to a girl who has the courage to show her scars in the end; from a girl who blames everything on her father's new wife to a braver girl who accepts with tears that her mother isn't who she thought she was.  I'm happy that Echo comes to terms with her past and heals her mental wounds to become herself again. Noah, a troubled boy whose only wish is to put his family back together, learns that sometimes "doing the right thing doesn't necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good." (Quoting Mrs Collins) These are all touching issues and I found myself so emotionally invested in both of these characters. I cried with them. I guess it's true that opposites attract, because they make a really great couple. It's not about going out and dating, it's about helping each other through tough times and being what the other person needs. Their romance is sweet and it made my stomach all fluttery. I love it. Other characters in this book are great as well although they're not not likable all the time. There really is such a thing as a father who just doesn't know better; a stepmom who does all the wrong things and can never be good enough; and a mother who's selfish. I love that even these minor characters are three-dimensional. They're not all bad, but they're not all good either. Katie McGarry has done an awesome job creating her characters! I loved every bit of it!

All in all, Pushing the Limits is an awesome read. I'll never get over how this story is very well-written and how all these issues fit together perfectly. Most importantly, I'll never forget how this book made me cry like a baby. I recommend this to people who love to read YA Contemporary, 'cause this is definitely one of the best out there!


Book trailer: 

Katie McGarry's playlist for this book:

Can You by Angela McGarry (written for this book especially!): 


This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.


  1. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year, maybe one of my favorite books ever! I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it too!

    1. Thank you Kristina! This really is a great book, isn't it? I'm glad you enjoyed it too! <3

  2. I've been reading great reviews about Pushing the Limits, but yours has definitely convinced me that I need to read it. You see, I don't read much contemporary YA, but yeah, you've convinced me. Great review.

    1. Thank you so much, Amy. This means a lot to me. :'-) Contemporary books are my favorite! And this is one of the best, Amy! You should definitely read this. ;)


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