Pushing the Limits - Review & Giveaway

Publication Date: 31 July 2012 by Harlequin Teen
ISBN 10/13: 0373210493 | 9780373210497
Category: Young Adult Realistic Fiction
Keywords: Therapy, amnesia, romance, family
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Source: Review copy, also purchased for Kindle


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.

Alethea's review:

I'll be frank. I didn't like this book. I didn't like the bad attitudes of the main characters or the dramarama from their lunchroom "friends". I didn't like the requisite romance between Echo and Noah, which bordered on insta-love. Except for Mrs. Collins, their special therapist/guidance counselor, I didn't like most of the adults in the story, who I felt contributed so much to the problems that the teenagers faced, instead of helping them. However, Katie McGarry managed to push all the right emotional buttons to make me feel engaged in their story despite all that dislike. 

The cast of characters is very well-drawn and diverse. It's helpful that the author is able to differentiate everyone so well, as there are a lot of characters. Getting to know Echo and Noah through their interactions with family, friends, and virtual strangers is where McGarry excels, as the reader learns about the main characters' personalities organically. At times though, I felt like the author was hedging her bets by providing so many characters that any reader is bound to like someone in the ensemble. And when I really look at it, the romance between Noah and Echo does develop over some time; however, I still really felt like the beginnings were awkward and unbelievable. Perhaps love is just like that sometimes.

The story is told by Echo and Noah in alternating POVs. It was a bit exhausting, but in the end I think it was the clearest way to tell the story--there was so much going on between Echo's traumatic memory loss and grief over her brother's death, and Noah working himself to the bone to get his little brothers back from their foster parents... McGarry deals in details, lots and lots of details, sometimes to the point of confusion. There were times I felt like that friend who's not quite close enough to tell all your secrets to, but you do anyway because you need to tell someone.

There's language and some steamy, but not too graphic love scenes, for those of you that care about that kind of thing. I'd probably recommend it for juniors/seniors in high school (the main characters are just a few months from graduation at the start of the novel). I would have rated this one star less, but I read the whole thing in just a few hours--couldn't put it down--so I reckon I liked it more than I am willing to admit. 

If you're going to read this, bring tissues. It's definitely a tear-jerker. 

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Find out more about the author at www.katielmcgarry.com and follow @KatieMcGarry on Twitter.

One lucky duck gets to win my copy of Pushing the Limits.

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