Review: Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Release Date ~ July 31, 2012
Harlequin Teen
ISBN13: 9780373210497
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley
Goodreads Synopsis:
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "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.

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.

I've had a hard time trying to formulate my thoughts on this book, and I know I'll never be able to appropriately express what Pushing the Limits meant to be. I know that this book has a number of positive reviews already and I'm not sure what else I can add to those.
This book is remarkable. It deals with a number of heavy, hard-hitting issues and tackles them head on. But with respect, and leaves its characters with dignity and a graceful ending (or, at least, as graceful as it can be).

  1. An emotional rollercoaster ride:

    Oh dear, this book just kept breaking my heart again and again. I was so emotionally invested in these characters and their stories, and I hated that the WORST things just kept happening to them! But their resiliency and inner strength was inspiring. And it's almost harder because you know that things like this really do happen - some people really do live with these problems. So even though Echo and Noah aren't real- well, little pieces of them are. And that just kills me.
  2. Questioning the norm:

    Echo and Noah both desperately want to live a "normal" life - but I love and greatly appreciated the extent to wish Pushing the Limits questioned what it means to be normal. I think too often we get swept up in this idea of a picture perfect life and anything else is abnormal but that's not true. We all have issues, we all have struggles to overcome. But I loved how this craving brought them together, and gave them the strength to try and find ways to overcome these difficulties.
  3. Beauty in brokenness:

    I'm sure we've all known a person or two in our lives who we've recognized as being completely broken down at one point or another - and I love that Katie McGarry points out so well using Echo and Noah as examples that there is still beauty in that. That perhaps there is even a special kind of beauty, because of the amount of strength it takes to fight something to so dark and personal. There's no need for shame.
  4. An unconditional romance:

    I loved, loved, LOVED seeing these two characters come together in the midst of circumstances and still put the needs of the other before their own. Sure, they're selfish at times (aren't we all?) but they know, in the end, that they want to help someone else at the end of the day. They want to be there for that person, and meet their needs in whatever way they can. It's pretty rare to find something so raw and intimate in YA, and for that this one must be applauded.
  5. Most importantly, Katie nails all the emotions:

    I was absolutely FLOORED by how well Katie wrote the emotions of her characters, especially Echo and her relationship with her mother. She nailed just about every single feeling from guilt, to anger, to loneliness and longing. They're all there. And it may be hard for some readers to fathom cycling through all these feelings, especially given the circumstances of what takes place between Echo and her mother and the rest of her family, but I can say with all honesty that that is totally what it feels like. It's remarkable that a book captured it so well.
There are so many phenomenal aspects of this book, and I loved the way it dealt with topics normally shied away from including dysfunctional families (to the max), self-mutilation, and mental health. None of these are easy to discuss, but Katie handles them all with delicateness and poignancy.

Noah won't be every girl's dream come true - I mean, he does some things that I don't agree with personally either. But there's so much more to him, if you can see past all that (and you should. You really should).

One of the most emotionally touching and heartbreaking (yet hopeful) books of the year, this is one I'd recommend to every reader.

Purchase Links
United States


Christina said...

Yes! I love this review, Brenna! This pretty much captures how I felt about the book. I love stories about two broken people coming together and healing one another. What makes this extra special is that it doesn't feel like they're too codependent as a result. They feel healthier because of the relationship, not unhealthy in a new way.

Noah definitely is not my type of guy. If someone ever tries to call me 'baby,' it's over. Still, I loved the way he and Echo fit, and how few fucks they gave about the opinions of the other people at school.

Bonnie said...

I agree with you completely! I reviewed Pushing the Limits today as well and really struggled with how to put into words how this book made me feel - and I'm sure that I didn't accomplish it well enough. I just loved this novel, I have already re-read sections of it and can easily say it is my favorite read of 2012.

I think what I loved the most about Noah is how he was able to help Echo feel comfortable in her own skin again when so many people in her life had been encouraging (whether directly or indirectly) her to hide away.

Excellent review!!!

Christa @ Hooked on Books said...

Wow 5 reasons to read?!

Not long ago it seemed like everybody all at once was reading this book! Since I don't usually care for Harlequin teen contemporaries I kind of ignored it. But now that I've read all these amazing reviews I may need to find a copy.

Jayne Hoogenberk said...

Hey Christa, I can hook you up with a review copy if you like?


roro said...

why has my copy not arrived yet . grumble . arg. bookdepo. arg

gr8 review brenna.

Michele | Just a Lil Lost said...

Likewise with Christa!! I've heard so many fantastic reviews on this one.. really curious now!

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blog Design by eedee design studios