Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Series: Standalone
Published: July 31st, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen/Mira Ink
393 pages (paperback)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: Won from Mira Ink Facebook page
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Book Depository || Amazon}

Synopsis: 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. 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.

Pushing the Limits was another in a long line of books that has been getting absolute rave reviews. Every time I see a book like this and it piques my curiosity, I wonder ‘can it really be that good?’ Yes. Yes, it can. ‘Good’ doesn’t even begin to describe this book.

This novel is a story about love - and not just romantic love, but all the different kinds of love we experience in life. This book made me cry, made me laugh, broke my heart, pieced it back together, made me angry, and made me fall in love.

Echo is scarred, physically and emotionally. Just months after losing her brother, she was brutally attacked, leaving her arms scarred and her memory of that entire day blank. Her whole world has been turned upside down - her family is a mess, she lost most of her friends when she became an outsider, and she has more emotional issues than she knows what to do with. But then there’s Noah. Badass, sexy as hell Noah who’s all wrong for her, but who she quickly learns has emotional scars, too.

I connected with Echo instantly. She had such a genuine voice, and right from the beginning it was obvious she was lost, broken, and haunted. I cried for her, I cheered for her, I wanted so badly for her to be whole again and to have the life she deserved. She was such a strong character, and I felt like I was right there with her as she evolved.

Noah is so much more than he appears. Smart, funny, and loving, he’s just as broken as Echo in so many ways. He’s full of anger and bitterness because of the way his life turned out, and when someone gets too close or too personal he knows exactly the right buttons to push to make them back off, even if it means making them hurt the way he hurts. All he cares about in life are his two little brothers - they were split up from Noah after their parents died, and while Noah went through foster care hell, his brothers were put in another home. Noah's entire life is about them, and his devotion and love for them touched my heart deeply and made me cry more than once. Then when he opens his heart to Echo and shows her that same love and devotion, there was no turning back: I was completely in love with Noah. He wanted so badly to be the man his brothers and Echo needed and deserved, and the things he thought and said and did alternately broke my heart and melted it.

The dual perspective of this book was the perfect choice. We got to see deep inside both Echo’s and Noah’s hearts and minds, and while most of us are probably used to books from female perspectives, I’m a fan of books from a male POV, and I think it’s quite possible that Noah had the most authentic voice of any male character I’ve read to date. I felt every emotion - every moment of anger, hurt, triumph, and love from both of them. Echo and Noah needed each other. They balanced each other out, helped each other, healed each other. 

Noah and Echo weren’t the only amazing characters. Every single character in this book had their moment to shine or fail. We got a chance to really know each character, their habits, their fears, their personalities. Every character in this book was memorable.

Powerful, raw, emotional, and sexy, Pushing the Limits is full of ups and downs. There’s no sugarcoating, and no avoiding the hard and painful lessons that life often throws at us. Echo and Noah don’t only find each other, they find themselves, and in the process you’re given a story that is so beautiful, so heartbreaking, and yet so inspiring, you’re not likely to ever forget it. This book makes you believe that love - true, unconditional love, whether it’s for family, friends, or lovers - can overcome just about anything. It also cemented one thing I’ve known my entire life - family is not just about blood. Sometimes you create your own family from the people who love you and are there for you no matter what.

*If I could give this book more than five stars, I would! I'm thinking of coming up with a special rating for favourite books - maybe something like 'The Daydreamer's Award of Excellence' - this book would definitely receive that award!*

Have you read Pushing the Limits? What did you think? How do you feel about really raw, emotional YA? Do you have any similar books you'd recommend?


  1. Gah! Must get this one... I think this is a library trip worthy book, since I'm trying to be good. Raw and emotional is good. I've read plenty of those. The only ones I can think of off the top of my head are Ellen Hopkins' books Impulse and Burned. Very emotional and intense and they make you angry, I cried.

  2. I'm glad you liked this one!! I thought it was wonderful. :) I think an event to show all those books that are awesomer than awesome would be a great idea! I can totally see this one there. :)

  3. This sounds like an intense read fit for a night of curling up with kleenex and a bottle of wine. To my TBR list this must go.

    Thanks for the review.


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