My Thoughts On: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Posted June 24, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 14 Comments

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: July 31, 2012
384 Pages
Source:  NetGalley/Harlequin Teen

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. –(summary from Goodreads)

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

My Thoughts:  You guys, I loved Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry. I loved it to the tune of staying up until around 3:00 AM to read and then getting up the next morning and immediately finishing it.

Echo Emerson is one of those female leading characters that has a few issues. Something has happened to her in her past – something she doesn’t remember – and all she wants to do it piece that day together. Everyone seems to know what happened but her! She’s in counseling and therapy, but still that day is like a gaping black hole. Her father and therapist agrees that she should remember on her own, piece by piece. She just…can’t. All she wants is for life to be normal again. Echo wears long sleeves all the time, even in the warm weather, because she has scars on her hands and arms. Some of her friends from before the event have long forsaken her, although one or two have remained close. She’s a beautiful girl, with beautiful red hair. She’s a wildly talented artist and she’s smart in her classes. Her smarts help her land the job of tutoring bad boy Noah Hutchins.

Noah is the stereotypical high school bad boy. He has a reputation for loving the ladies and does nothing to try and change that. He’s handsome, very handsome, and quite sure of himself. He hangs out with some of the more questionable students at school, and for that reason, Echo and her friends are a little unsure about her tutoring assignment with him. To Echo, it’s a means to earn some much-needed money. Echo had no intentions of falling in love. Neither did Noah.

Noah is in counseling as well. He is part of the foster system after he lost both parents in a house fire a few years ago. Noah is a smart boy, but he had some problems with a few of his previous foster placements, and he was just never able to recover socially from this. He sticks with his counseling because he wants his family to get back together – Noah has two younger brothers that are placed with a different foster family, and it is only through his counseling and rehabilitation that he is allowed supervised visits with them. Noah doesn’t really want to be in love – he doesn’t want to be committed to someone, but he can’t help but be taken by this girl’s beauty – inside and out. He sees past her scars. With her, he feels normal.


Both Echo and Noah are broken individuals. Both have issues that they have to work through and move past in order to succeed and move ahead in life. Lucky for both of them, they have a counselor (the same counselor) that is invested in them as people, that truly cares about their future, about their welfare, about their outcome being a positive one. I love that the counseling sessions were written into this story, and I love that the counselor was so developed. However, I’m not sure I have ever read about counseling exactly like this – counseling in such a way as it was written in Pushing The Limits. This counselor had her hand in practically every aspect of the lives of Echo and Noah, including Noah’s younger brothers’ lives, and it was really very interesting to me. In the story, it proved to be a positive thing and worked out really well for everyone involved. I don’t have social work experience, so I wonder if such things like this program exist in the real world.

The horrors of what happened to Echo were tough to read. The horrors of what happened to Noah were tough as well. But their relationship with each other, although strained at times, was really great. They helped each other out because they understood that what was normal for other people just was not normal for them. I love the way the author made this a theme of the book, because that is so true in life, even for some of us that do not have counseling appointments of social work consults regularly.

The romance between Echo and Noah was awesome. There was no triangle, really. Once Noah had his sights on Echo, there was no other girl for him. And Echo struggled with this because she had some issues with trust because of the missing pieces of her past. This gave itself over to a wonderful slow-burn romance that intense and just pure lovely, you guys. 

And you guys know how I love characterization! The secondary characters in this book were really good. I felt like I knew some of them from back when I was in school. Some of them were funny, some were horrible, and some were just great. Noah’s little brothers stole my heart. And I’m still thinking on Echo’s parents – I’m not sure what to think about them just yet.

In terms of contemporary, this is definitely a romance, but it came with issues. Fans of contemporary YA romance will love it, but it isn’t easy-breezy all the way through. The payoff is there, though, if you give it a try. I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t put it down. This is a fantastic debut by author Katie McGarry and I will be sure to pick up more of her work as it becomes available.

Pushing The Limits will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary
Romance: No triangle! Slow-burn!
Stories Containing Issues: Family Issues
Recommended for older YA readers or YA-loving adult readers.

Pushing The Limits
by Katie McGarry
will be available for purchase on July 31, 2012.

**I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for my thoughts. Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin Teen!


Will Pushing The Limits
make it to your wish list? 


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


14 responses to “My Thoughts On: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

  1. I have been wanting to read Pushing The Limits since I heard about it. Your post just makes me want to read it even more. I hope my library gets it when it's released!

    In sum: Will Pushing The Limits make it to your wish list?
    Yes, it most certainly will.


      This book is just another fabulous part of contemporary month! I can't believe that if I'd not done contemporary month I'd have missed out on so many great titles, including this one. I blew through this one because I just could not lay it down for a second. (Except when I fell asleep reading it, and I picked it up immediately the next morning and didn't stop til I finished it.)

      You. Will. Love. It.

  2. Gah!! Okay, really. I was so MEH about this book before reading this review (as you know), but now I'm like MUST READ. You've made it sound wonderful, tough, but I like that it's a slow burn romance, and that them working together through their issues and with the counselor is such a big part of this book.

    I think that the cover and the tag line "So wrong for each other…and yet so right." really turned me off. Melissa Marr did actually have a post about several covers on her blog, and she did talk about how this one didn't represent the depth and emotions of this book well.

    • Heidi, that counselor was amazing. I didn't mention her by name in this review, but she was so excellent as a character. Really, she was almost like a third main character *almost* – she was wonderful. Now that you're gonna give it a go, I'm really interested in seeing what you think.

      I agree about the cover. The cover makes it look strictly romance, but there is a lot of real stuff in this book. I really really hope (fingers crossed hope) you at least like it half as much as I did) so we'll have something to talk about. I thought it was great.

      AND…there seems to be a book coming out from the point of view of one of the secondary characters, like a spinoff? I hadn't heard of that until I got to the end and there was a portion of a chapter or something like that. So there is more of the story coming, I guess, in about a year or so.

      Loved it!

  3. Wow, I really wasn't going to read this book, but after your review I am reconsidering. I don't like issues, I have enough of my own. But seeing how you say it pays off – I'm in! thanks for sharing.

  4. I really like the sound of this intense contemporary and am desperately wondering what happened to Echo (I also think her dad or therapist or someone should have told her-how could that be worse than having the day remain a blank?)

  5. I should have looked at the release date BEFORE I started reading your review! Darn you and your awesome reviews!;)
    This does sound like an awesome quick read and I think my middle little sister would like it too, so that is a huge plus. What I love the most is that you say there is no love triangle!!! Thanks for letting me know about this one:)

  6. I'm very excited that I was able to pick up a copy of this at BEA. It sounds really interesting, and I can't wait to get started on it!

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