Dec 1, 2013

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: July 31, 2012
Pages/Format: 392, ARC

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.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: GOOD.

Confession: I started Pushing the Limits over a year ago and didn't finish it until now. I don't know why. I read a little over 100 pages, then had read ahead a LOT because I just had to know what was going to happen (shame on me, I know). But for some reason, I never finished it. Not because I didn't like it, but because...well, I don't know. But now I have finished it, and I'm wishing I would've read it all sooner, because this book is good.

Pushing the Limits is told from two POVs: Noah and Echo. Noah is the bad boy with the reputation of getting around, while Echo is the once-popular golden girl who got shut out after her arms got decorated with scars. When the two get thrown together because of the school therapist, a romance blossoms, and it's a good one.

I liked the differentiation between the two POVs. Echo could be nice and stubborn, but she has a goal: to remember what happened the night she got her scars. She finds help and safety in Noah, who's trying to pass school so he can fight for custody of his two younger brothers (they're orphaned and in foster care) when he graduates. Noah isn't just a POV--he's a male POV, and it shows. He notices girls and takes note of their features, and he can be crude. But when it comes to the people he cares about, he can be incredibly sweet and tender. Together, they're not perfect. They definitely have their own issues that cause them to hold back with themselves and each other. But together, they're two bent pieces finding their original shapes.

I had very few issues with this book. Sometimes the romance seemed just a little too quick given the circumstances, and scenes seemed unrealistic. The writing was readable, though it wasn't perfect. (I'm sorry, but "baby" isn't my favorite pet name, and sometimes it drove me just a tad bit crazy.) And since I read the ARC I don't know if this changed in the final version, but the Oxford comma lacked throughout this novel. Dear people: Please, please use the Oxford comma. It is your friend. (It is also my sanity.)

One thing that's great about Pushing the Limits is that it's a hyped-up book that doesn't disappoint. Too often hype can destroy a book, but here it didn't, thank gosh. And another thing--the way I felt while reading this book. Holy schmokes. I had butterflies (or pterodactyls) almost the entire time I read it. It was crazy and awesome and just showed the emotions and feels this book emits. (And I may have gotten teary toward the end. Maybe.)

In the end, Pushing the Limits was a page turner about two teens pushing their limits to find love with someone, someone who may love them for the scars they have--visible and not. This is a great contemporary; not super cutesy, but not super serious either. It has depth and emotion, and a steamy, sweet romance that you won't want to miss. If this book goes to show for anything, I am eager to read Dare You To, Crash into You, and whatever else Katie McGarry has to give us. (I can see why her and her books are on top/favorites lists everywhere.)

Did I like it? Yes!
Did I love it? Almost.
Would I reread it? Yes.
Would I purchase it? Yes.
Who would I recommend it to? Definitely fans of Simone Elkeles, and people who don't mind their books a little steamy.

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