Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
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.
First Sentence: “My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has…well…issues.”
Most of you should have heard about Pushing the Limits by now. I mean, how could you not? It’s one of those books almost every book lover knows about and for a really good reason: Pushing the Limits is that good. It deserves the hype. Every time I re-read Pushing the Limits, I literally can’t put the book down.
Echo, Echo, Echo. Right from the very first chapter, I could really relate to her: both our parents think the best is not good enough. Echo’s struggle to gain her dad’s love and to get along with both her dad and Ashley reminds me of my struggle to get along with my parents and gain approval in their eyes. Throughout Pushing the Limits, I felt for Echo and her situation with everything: her dad, her mom, her art, her popularity, and her friends. I sympathized for her, cried for her, and wanted to teach people the hurt her a lesson for her.
I sighed as I pulled my sleeves over my fingers. What I wouldn’t give for normal. (31)
Noah is probably one of the best male love interests I’ve ever read about. He’s smart, he’s caring, and most of all, he doesn’t jump into conclusions. Noah was a total jerk to Echo in the beginning, but after getting to know him, both me and Echo slowly fell in love with him. I especially fell in love with his devotion to his little brothers. Noah’s obvious downfall is calling Echo his “nymph,” his “siren,” and using the dreaded word “baby” like the horrible Justin Bieber song. It gets really annoying, especially after he starts to do that constantly.
I especially like how Echo and Noah’s romance developed, from hating each other to loving each other. In the beginning, all Echo and Noah did was throw insults at each other. Then, they both agreed to use each other to get what they want. After spending time together, they finally accepted their feelings for each other and got together. I liked how their romance progressed – their romance was definitely not insta-love and it definitely wasn’t slowly developed.
“You didn’t do that, did you? It was done to you?”
No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked. (96)
Even though I swore that I’ll avoid books with popularity as a focus from now on, Pushing the Limits is that one exception. Don’t get me wrong, Pushing the Limits doesn’t focus entirely on popularity, only a little. Echo’s struggle with her friends and her popularity really (surprisingly) tugged on my heartstrings and had me feeling conflicted, especially with her situation with her so-called “friend,” Grace.
Pushing the Limits is a book I’ve read multiple times already. All those times I’ve re-read Pushing the Limits, I’ve cried every single time. Every single time. And almost always at the same scenes. Katie McGarry just has this unique ability to make you cry and re-cry during the same scenes. She has no problems tugging on your heartstrings (believe me, I would know) and make you bawl in public without any restraint. Hey, that’s exactly what she did to me.
I would not cry in front of him. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing he’d ripped me into a thousand pieces…I had no one now. No one. (271)
However, I felt that even though I enjoyed reading Pushing the Limits so much every time I’ve re-read it, something was missing. To this day, I still don’t know what’s missing from the book, but I just know something major is. I hate it when these things happen, especially when I can’t really explain it. That’s the main reason why I gave Pushing the Limits 3.5-star rating instead of a full 5-star rating.
Katie McGarry definitely wrote an excellent debut – a debut I could re-read again and again and feel like I’m reading it for the first time. If you haven’t read Pushing the Limits yet, you should start getting your hands on a copy now and start reading it asap. You will not regret doing so.