Friday, 24 August 2012

Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits
Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars


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. (Description from Goodreads)

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I never remember how much I love YA contemporaries until I stumble across a story that touches me in every way. ‘Pushing the Limits’ is one of those stories. After doing a little research into the book, I couldn’t stop thinking about meeting Noah and Echo; I was convinced I had to know them. I’m so happy ‘Pushing the Limits’ lived up to my expectations and more.

No-one would believe Echo Emerson – ex-socialite and hot topic for the school’s rumour mill – and Noah Hutchins – stoner bad-boy and foster care child – would ever consider talking to each other. But that was before their mutual school social worker pushed them together in an attempt to help them through their individual issues. Echo is struggling to remember her the last moments with her mother, the moment that scarred her and changed the direction of her life; while Noah is fighting to escape the foster care system and to find a way to get guardianship of his two younger brothers. I must be slightly evil, because I love when characters come from troubled pasts – there wouldn’t be a story if there was nothing to overcome. But it’s not just the story of how to overcome the past that made me love ‘Pushing the Limits’ so much. It was seeing them get there and the emotion that came with it. And there was a lot of emotion. Katie McGarry grabbed two teens from their life of hell and threw us into the deep end watching them try and pick up their broken pieces. I was torn apart watching Noah get ripped away from his family and I love books that make me feel so deeply for its characters.

Part of what made this emotional journey so powerful was the switching first person POVs. The story bounces between Echo and Noah’s thoughts so we get a full range of their feelings and emotions. I wasn’t expecting this, as the book’s blurb makes the story sound like it’s told entirely from Echo’s perspective. I loved that we got to see inside both characters’ heads. It’s a different experience jumping between male and female perspectives, but McGarry does it so well. You can’t stop being pulling to Noah and Echo’s lives through their individual voices.

There is an inevitable plot-arc for most contemporary novels that you can predict from the start. The Girl and Guy meet under strange circumstances and are drawn together; they fall in love, have problems and break apart, before being pulled back together in the end. It was obvious from the start of ‘Pushing the Limits’ that this book would follow that pattern too, but I like the stability it brought. There’s something relaxing about knowing one direction the story will take. Without knowing the outcome of Echo and Noah’s separate problems, it’s safe to say the future of their relationship will be wrapped up nicely by the last page. But that doesn’t making experiencing their romance any less fun. Noah’s reputation as a bad-boy, who only ever commits to one-night-stands, meant there were new obstacles and territories he was exploring by acting on his growing feelings for Echo. I loved seeing his transformation from the guy who could care less, to the one who would do anything for Echo. I may be focusing on Noah a lot; that’s not just because he was an awesome male character and I want him to get the attention he deserves; but because his romantic struggle touched me more than Echo’s. Echo had done the full-on relationship before; she knew what needed to be done to commit to. That’s not to discount her emotions, but Noah’s comments, touches and endless thoughts of Echo made my heart melt. I adored it all.

I was so sad when I came to the end of the story. I wanted more of Noah and Echo’s journey. But there’s only so much we can see when their stories come to an end. I loved every moment of this book and can’t wait for the companion novel next year.

5/5 stars

(Originally Posted on Goodreads)


  1. tnx 4 the honest review . contemp rocks

    1. You're welcome. I really loved this book, it's got me in a contemp mood. I'm going to have to find a few more soon.

      Thanks for stopping by.