Release Date: August 2012
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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. 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.
The rave reviews are what pushed me over the lim... edge (see, I'm not TOTALLY lame!). After so many readers proclaimed this as one of the best YA books they've ever read, there was no possible way I could let this book slip by me. I had to see what all the fuss was about! Though I can't quite say it lived up to the massive hype for me, I still absolutely enjoyed the intense rollercoaster Katie McGarry took me!
Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins are both as messed up as one another, and it's their troubles that pave the road to their consuming romance. Told in dual narrative, Pushing the Limits really digs deep into the heart of both it's main characters, bringing to light every painful scar, both on body and soul. Echo's struggling with repressed memories of the night she almost died, a tainted reputation at school and her infuriating family. Noah's the bad boy with hidden heart, screwed over by the welfare system and desperately longing to put his family back together. Both are a wreck, but discover that love may be the glue to mending the pieces of their shattered lives.
I did have a few issues with Echo and Noah, and I think that's what stopped me from falling in with 99% of the blogosphere who loved this beyond words. Yet in saying that, those issues are what made them so real, so human. Flawed, troubled teens, and that's what I love to see in books. Characters that come alive, warts and all. Noah's overwhelming desire to gain custody of his brothers really spoke volumes about his love for his family. He may give off the bad boy stoner act, but at heart he's a very sweet guy. His intentions come from a good place, though at times he frustrated me with his lack of realism. He wasn't viewing the situation logically in what he could provide his brothers and his rigid determination to do what he thought was right had me wanting to reach through and shake some sense into him. But anything less probably wouldn't feel authentic, given his trust issues with the foster system. And he did make me a little emotional in a scene toward the end with his family!
Echo is undoubtedly an emotional mess and what's worse is she can't entirely remember why she got that way. The memories of that ill-fated night with her mother have been buried deep, only peeking out in flashes and the painfully clear scars slashed across her arms. There were times, particularly with her friends and her father, where I wished she'd just stand up for herself and tell them to f*** off! I wanted her to be strong, be bold, be the girl she was around Noah, who didn't take his crap. Her friends, with the exception of Lila, can hardly even be called that. Clare pissed me off, caring only about her reputation and the effect Echo might have on it. I don't understand why Echo even bothered with her and especially with her ex-boyfriend, Luke. But I can understand that she just wanted normality. For so long she's been alienated and she's dealing with all this emotional crap in her life, she just wants to fit in again.
Though I didn't always love them (I did love their therapist, Mrs. Collins!), I really enjoyed Echo and Noah much more as they grew over the course of the novel; as they pushed and inspired one another, as things grew more out of control and secrets unearthed from the dark; as sparks flew, hearts broke and desires tipped over the edge. I'm really happy with the way their story concluded and I'm eager to see what Katie McGarry has in store for the companion novel!
Pushing the Limits is without question, an addictive read. I was tossing up between a 3.5 or 4 rating, but even though I had a few niggles with the characters and there were times where I wished the drama was dialed down a notch, I couldn't stop reading until I finished. Something kept compelling me to turn those pages again and again, and that's one of the vital things I ask for in a book. One I can't pull away from. Brimming with emotions, Pushing the Limits does to it's characters exactly what the title promises and whether you love them or not, you can't help but fall along for the ride.