Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: July 31, 2012
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)
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.
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!
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