Title: Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 31st, 2012
My Rating: 4/5
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.
Pushing the Limits was one of those books that I've been meaning to read since its release. I knew I was going to adore it, but I never felt like it was the right time to read it. Finally, in the midst of a contemporary kick, I picked it up and devoured it. Pushing the Limits held my heart in its hand and demanded I not stop reading until I had read every last bit of it. It was a fantastic contemporary, and one that had me doing a lot of thinking.
As an only child, I am constantly fascinated by sibling relationships. It's something I've never experienced and am always curious as to how they work. Some of my favorite scenes were with Noah and his two younger brothers. It was heart-wrenching watching this separated family, and Noah's desperation to be in their lives ripped me to bits. I liked seeing the softer side to this bad boy, and it gave depth to what could have been a typical character.
Echo was not your standard protagonist. She was an introvert, haunted by past events she cannot remember. I really liked watching her grow and become a stronger person throughout the novel. I enjoyed her narration and her relationship with Noah. The two of them had me wanting to hug the book. They were sweet together. They made each other better. They were there for each other. They were a realistic, and heart-melting couple that I absolutely loved.
Forgiveness was a central theme in this novel. It's a theme I always have trouble with, because I am one of those people that find it hard to forgive. In novels where I only have 300 plus pages in order to forgive these people, I find it nearly impossible. I think Katie McGarry really did well with this theme though. She showed the power of forgiveness through Echo and her family, and learning to compromise through Noah. Pushing the Limits was a lot about growing up, about accepting yourself, and forgiving the people who have wronged you. It broke my heart in two, and patched it up again. It made for a fantastic storyline, and one heck of a book.
The only real issue I had with this book was the way mental health was portrayed. I'm pretty nit-picky about it and I had a hard time swallowing some of the things that were said. For me, the way Echo and Noah reacted to her label of "depressed" could almost be described as disdainful. Like it was the worst thing for her to be thought as mentally ill. I think it could have been a jumping off point to talk about removing the stigma of mental illness, about seeking help for those suffering, but instead it was hush-hushed a bit too much for me. I don't think that was the intention, but I'm pretty particular about that topic. Again, I will emphasize that I'm very sensitive about how it is portrayed so my opinion may not be the reality.
I think my other issue with it were Echo's friends. They were horrible. I know, it's kind of supposed to be that way, but even her supposed "best friend" wasn't there for her, in my opinion, when she needed it the most. They kept pushing her to fit into this box. They were so concerned with status and the social hierarchy it was maddening. I wanted to shake some sense, some compassion into them. On the other hand, I adored Noah's friends. Beth and Isaiah were both completely messed up characters (which we all know I love) but they were still solid friends. They cared about each other, and about Noah, and wanted what was best. I liked getting to see all the different dynamics, and watching the friendships evolve. It was an interesting, although at times aggravating, part of the novel.
Overall, I adored Pushing the Limits. It was a great, original contemporary with powerful characters and a plot line that will stay with me for a long while. I cannot wait to read more from Katie McGarry! If you're looking for a great book, pick up Pushing the Limits.
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)
Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Katie McGarry's Website