Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pages: 384
Pub. Date: July 31, 2012
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."
Echo used to be part of the popular crowd until something horrible happened to her and she ended up with scars up and down her arms.  She can't remember what happened to her that fateful night and in turn, it has made her a loner at school. She no longer hangs out with the "cool" group and doesn't date the star basketball player anymore.  The school's clinical social worker recommends that Echo take a job tutoring and she ends up tutoring Noah Hutchins, who has a reputation at school as a pot head that is infamous for going through girls.  Echo doesn't get along with Noah, but she needs the money and as time goes on, Noah and Echo realize that they have a lot in common regarding their pasts.  To top it off, they are undeniably attracted to each other despite that fact that Echo is trying to regain her old life back and hanging out with Noah would be social suicide.  Katie McGarry's debut, Pushing the Limits, is a sizzling contemporary read that fans of Simone Elkeles will devour.

Echo is such a complex character. I loved learning more about her and her troubled past.  Readers slowly piece together what happened to Echo and it was one mystery that I was totally absorbed in, but there's no denying that it is down right heartbreaking.  Echo is a troubled soul and finds herself attracted to Noah, who also has a difficult past.  His story is another one that left me flipping pages way into the night.  His familial situation also brought a tear to my eye and I found myself eventually rooting for him.  There is more to him that than the typical bad guy. There's no denying that McGarry really does a great job making Echo and Noah's relationship steamy. I love the whole idea of opposites attract, so I was a sucker for this plot line in Pushing the Limits.  It reminded me a lot of Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry, which also plays up the whole opposites attract plot line.

Pushing the Limits isn't just about forbidden love; it also deals with complex issues, such as mental health, death, and the challenges of being a foster child.  Obviously, McGarry covers some deep issues, which tugged on my heartstrings.  I think that is what made this book so enjoyable though.  It's a nice blend of romance, but also addresses some major real life issues.

The only thing that I found slightly irritating was the dialogue between Noah and Echo.  It tended to be a bit too cheesy at times.  However, it didn't bother me tremendously and I was able to overlook the super sweet toothache inducing comments.

I highly recommend Pushing the Limits, especially for fans of gritty realistic fiction and opposites attract storyline.  I know I'll be keeping my eye out for anything that McGarry writes in the future.

Thanks to Harlequin and Media Master Publicity, I will be giving away one copy of Pushing the Limits, so check back tomorrow for the giveaway and an interview with Katie McGarry.


  1. This does sound a lot like the Perfect Chemistry series as well as some of Jennifer Echols's books. I bet this will be really popular with fans of those authors. I think it will also appeal to teen readers looking for more realistic fiction though it is too bad about the cheesy dialogue. Hopefully they won't be put off by it.

  2. Great review. Everyone seems to adore this book! I haven't read it yet, but I think I will like it too. Sounds perfect. :)

  3. I'm a huge fan of the opposites attract storyline, so this one worked for me on pretty much every level. I agree there were some cheesier moments, but I was so in the mood for them because I so badly wanted Noah and Echo to be happy! Glad you enjoyed this one Christina, I'm so excited to get into Beth's story, I have a feeling it might be even grittier than this one!

  4. McGarry did such a fantastic job with the characters, especially Noah. This book tackled a lot of issues, and it did it well.

    Fabulous review! Glad you enjoyed PTL :)


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