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Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
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Pushing the Limits (edition 2012)

by Katie McGarry

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50410420,201 (4.27)9
Member:ericaligner
Title:Pushing the Limits
Authors:Katie McGarry
Info:Harlequin Teen (2012), Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Dreamspinner Press
Rating:****
Tags:young adult

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Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

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Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
This book put me through an emotional roller coaster than I'm glad to have been on.

I got so attached to McGarry’s characters of Echo and Noah. Essentially, Echo was involved in a family tragedy her sophomore year of high school. After she returns to school with both mental and physical scars of a tragedy that she cannot fully remember, her old relationships and friendships become either seriously stressed or entirely disintegrate. Echo is desperate to remember the event that her mind was so desperate to forget. At the same time, the character of Noah has been dealing with his own issues. Freshman year his parents were killed in a home fire and, as a result, he and his two younger brothers have been living in foster care. Most significantly, they are in separate foster care and Noah is desperate to reunite the only family he knows. As both Echo and Noah navigate their lives in the aftermath of terrible tragedy, they grow together and learn to rely on each other. Unlike many books in the genre, these two face problems from every angle and it led some realism to the overall relationship. The plot itself was no far stretch from real life and thus made it easier to emotionally connect to these characters that life had so fiercely attempted to break. I am not one to cry easily or frequently and this book made me do exactly that. There are sexual references, some cursing, and other such teenage and life instances, so I would not recommend this book to people who are not mature enough to face those realities.

For a longer review or other reviews, check out: www.mylifeinverse.com ( )
  mylifeinverse | Jul 4, 2014 |
Pushing the Limits is a contemporary YA story about romance and friendship and dealing with loss. Echo was involved in an accident with her mother but the trauma was so strong that her mind has blocked it completely. All she wants to do is remember, but is she strong enough to handle the truth? Noah is still dealing with the loss of his parents in a house fire and is struggling to survive the foster care system. He was separated from his two younger brothers and all he wants to do is obtain custody of them so they can all be a happy family again. Echo and Noah have both suffered in life but are complete opposites of each other, yet they fall for one another just the same.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: YA contemporary is not my go-to genre. This book sat on my shelf for years because lets be honest, that cover screams nothing but high school! romance! angst! drama! to me. I was surprised that while the romance (and yes, all the angst and drama one could ever hope for) is a major part, the story possessed a depth I was not expecting. Echo and Noah were individuals that had been forced into growing up sooner than necessary due to incidents in their life and Pushing the Limits is their coming of age story that treads the line between YA and NA and will be well-liked by fans of both.

Pushing the Limits was entertaining and I read it fairly quickly, however, it didn’t manage to generate much in the way of opinion. I was overall a bit indifferent about Echo and Noah’s story. While I appreciated the complex and separate side stories of both characters, it was all too melodramatic for me in the end. The romance was given some time to develop so instant love wasn’t a real factor, but once the romance started it, the seriousness between the two progressed at the speed of light. There were the obligatory ‘I love you’s’ thrown around and the constant use of ‘babe’. While the characters stories possessed depth I didn’t feel that their romance did. The story suffered in pacing during the second half and would have benefited from a trim in length as it only succeeded in adding more of the already abundant melodramatic flair. Excessively long yet still compulsively readable, it disappointed by ending too predictably. I seem to have nothing but negative things to say, yet I did enjoy the read overall. It’d be worth it to give the author another shot to see how she progresses as a writer. ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Jun 21, 2014 |
I was drawn into Echo and Noah's world straight away. They are well written characters, and I could easily imagine them. McGarry sold me on Noah Hutchins. He's the bad boy with the good heart, the one you want to be in love with you. Noah's devotion to his little brothers and his commitment to Echo made him all that more admirable. Echo's storyline was a tad bizarre, but interesting.

The pace slows down towards the middle, but by no means stopped my interest in wanting to finish. I just wasn't compelled to pull an all-nighter to finish it. I enjoyed this story very much and look forward to reading more work by this author. ( )
  SuzanneML | Jun 21, 2014 |
This is one of the first contemporary books I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It follows Echo who is a shell of her former self. She used to be popular, out-going, studious, and ambitious and after the incident she is riddled with scars and doesn't speak to anyone except her best friend. She eats lunch in the library, she stopped painting, and lives with her father and his new wife who was Echo's former babysitter. Everybody thinks Echo is a weirdo and she does herself but they don't know the secret, that Echo did not try to kill herself but her mom may have, but Echo doesn't exactly remember what her mom did or did not do. She just knows her mom is in a home for the mentally insane and her father won't talk about. Her father is a looming figure, constantly on Echo's back to do better, be better, smarter, and faster…more ambitious. And worse of all, Echo's best friend, her brother Aspen is dead. Died while serving in the army and she has a big whole in her heart because of this. She has his old car though and needs help getting it fixed up and her dad thinks it's a waste of time.
Enter Noah. He's the bad boy with the bad image. Drug user with tattoos and a rough home life. He's actually a child survivor of a fire that killed his parents and him and his younger brother were thrust into the world of foster homes. His younger brothers live with one family and Noah doesn't trust them. Noah's lived in several foster homes and has gotten in physical fights while protecting other people, but people only assume he's the aggressive one. While working on trying to eventually win custody of his little brothers, the counselor tells him he needs a tutor and hooks him up with Echo. Neither like each other very much but soon Noah's friend is fixing Aspen's car while Noah and Echo study. Soon they're hooked on each other but first they need to overcome their greatest obstacles: Noah gaining custody of his siblings and Echo coming face to face with what really happened on the night she got the awful scars. ( )
  KatieHeflin | Jun 15, 2014 |
I've been trying to finish this book and it kept being in my DNF-ed for ages. In fact it took me two years and I've been reading the galley version of this book and I still have a hard time digesting through this book. Most of the time I expected its due to the formatting but most of it is because I really don't like and care enough for the story nor for the characters nor the style.

The copy I'm reading doesn't have the necessary part to make the separate narrative to carry its individual distinction. I found myself being confused by a dual narratives. Often I was in the guy's head and then suddenly everyone addressing the narrator as Echo and vice versa. They nearly have the same voice and it seem melded together. I guess maybe it was due to them being tortured and scarred souls or something. Maybe its a good thing since if the writing itself took an effort to read, its easier to see where the nice things are. But apparently I still find myself being too emotionally uninvested in these two characters nor with the story.

I have enough problems in my life as a teen and I was a wreck as a teen (frankly who wasn't) and I've been all socially outcast in three states, being called something I'm not and whole balloon of drama and stuff and I've tried using the counselor approach several times in my life and it didn't work for me since I have issues with people who think they can read people professionally but I sort it out eventually and I have my own reading and writing to keep me sane and a therapy. But curiouser, neither the characters doesn't connect with me. While most think it was too realistic or deep but all I see was superficiality and fictional characters with their personality spread thinly and in a dire need for attention or decent bitch slapping. I like the male POV but soon the narratives was too nonsensical for me to make sense of everything. I simply don't care about the unnecessary dramas.

Seriously, Kafka's Metamorphosis at some point did have the whole "everyone and everything is against you for absolutely some weird no reason" alienation right but when you constitute it into one brooding guy with some issues and a girl who are too focused with herself and concerned about people around her to function properly, it does make the necessary attention span went out of the roof. I guess I know why some of these contemporary YA (or chic lit or its new name the New Adult) never click with me.

And I have a problem with books with too many characters in it. I read too many books and known too many people so names tend to come in one ear and out the other unless you hook me to a real person with a face on it. But as soon as I lay my eyes on a chapter of this book, the book exploded into a serious case of too many people and too many drama. I know it was common for stream of consciousness things but all these characters without unique descriptives are just name lists rather than actual characters.

While I appreciate a good deal amount of fictional romance in my otherwise romantic loveless life, the great girth of this book seem to revolve on the unnecessary drama element and loads of talking and touching and expressing feeling at the emotional level that plot took a minor role over the character dramas. While I understand family drama completely but maybe my experience with teenage angst was on different level that the book didn't synchronize with me at all. I guess to me the book have the same level as every Malay contemporary dramas people make these days with its stick people spending too much of their time and soul on each other and down to some psychological illness that maybe or may not be realistic. Honestly, that was plain excruciating for me in writing form as it does in real life. There is a bigger world out there and the world don't revolve around singular pronouns and apparently some mean people too. The book is relevant to a degree if what you seek was the drama part but on the overall execution part, it was poorly done. Too repetitive. Too boring. Too predictable and very unexciting. I know some Harlequin and bodice rippers that are better at these kind of cliched dramas that sometimes did touch my medium sociopathic heartstrings but for its length and effort, its too hyped to make the experience worthwhile.

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  aoibhealfae | Jun 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
I never went to bed last night and I just slept for an hour or two this morning but ever since I woke up I was avoiding this moment.
I simply can't do that any longer but I have no idea how to start describing the raw emotions that racked my heart and soul while I was reading the book. I know that these are strong words but if you don't get it then you haven't read the book. This morning after my tears dried up I was trying to sum up something that will make you guys understand how much I loved this book but I'll just improvise now...
If I had to describe the book in a few words they would probably be real, believable, easy to relate to, emotional, heartbreaking! It made me smile, it made me cry and it settled in my heart as my favorite book so far. Definitely the most meaningful book I've read in a while!
It's really and unbelievable read. The way Ketie McGarry has described her characters, the world she's build around Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins, that it was so easy to slip into their lives and experience everything right along with them (and when I say everything I mean it, the love, the heart-wrecking pain, the anger...).
The two main characters, were so different from each other at the time they met. Before their lives fell apart they were pretty similar but right now they are both living and their own personal hell, going trough it day by day. They were wrong for each other but the connection between them was so strong, due to the fact that they felt that pain I mentioned earlier. The both new loss and the were there for each other liken no one else could be for them.
Echo was the girl everyone new about, everyone talked about, everyone wanted her life and then she lost everything she cared about in just a few months. Her life changed inevitably after her brother's death and the horrible accident she can't remember.
Now her life consists of having very little sleep, doing what her father wants her to do, pretend she's normal at school and hiding her scars from the rest of the world. Simple, but that routine changed very quickly when the gorgeous, incredibly sexy and completely off limits, Noah Hutchins walked into her life teasing and trying to rattle her cage. That's when everything changed again for her, maybe this time for the better...
When you look at Noah, you see the sexy body, you see him as a stunner, a guy who uses girls for sex and that's all. But deep inside he is scarred just as Echo is on the outside. His fate was to lose his parents in a fire and his brothers to the foster system. A system he hated and fight with everyday. His one goal in life is to save money, find a semi-good job and take custody of his brothers. He can't stand the fact that he can't see them and he is hurting but by the way he acted with everyone you wouldn't be able to understand his pain. Only Echo did, she was the only one besides his friends that managed to break through the wall around his heart and she stole it away with her siren smile and guarded actions.

What I loved most about the book was the sincerity of the characters. Noah had a f****d up life and swearing was his a constant part of him. He rebelled and he messed up and he was far from perfect but he was real.
I particularly love one of his lines and here it is:
"It had been so long since I'd let myself fall for someone. I gazed into her beautiful green eyes and her fear melted. A shy smile tugged at her lips and at my heart. Fuck me and the rest of the world. I was in love."

I don't know what is it about bad guys that makes them so appealing. There is something amazing in each of them. In the end they turned out to have the biggest. kindest hearts and maybe that's because they've already been trough hell and the tough demeanor was his way of coping. But they always doubt themselves when it comes to being with the good girls and they always try so hard to prove that they're worthy. That makes them so sweet and gentle and pretty much every girl's dream. They don't even see the goodness inside themselves. Noah was just like that, trying, having doubt, expecting that Echo will snap out of her momentary daze and she'll leave. Little did he know, how much she loved him.
Everything in Noah made me smile from how good he is with Echo, and his brothers, to his love for Beth and Isaiah, to his tattoo as a tribute to his family(oh that tattoo alone made me cry).
And here's the quote that broke my heart:
"I want my mom and dad," I couldn't suck in air. "I just want my family back."

It really is impossible for me to describe just how I feel about this book. It was the best book I've read in a while, so full of love and heart-wrecking pain. It was an emotional roller-coaster and constant struggle but the characters fought their battle and survived! I loved every single second of it! ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!
added by SBBCreviews | editSBBCreviws (Jul 30, 2012)
 
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"My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has... well ... issues. How do you think I'm doing?" That's how I would have loved to respond to Mrs. Collins' question, but my father placed too much importance on appearance for me to answer honestly. Instead, I blinked three times and said, "Fine."
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Rendered a subject of gossip after a traumatic night that left her with terrible scars on her arms, Echo is dumped by her boyfriend and bonds with bad-boy Noah, whose tough attitude hides an understanding nature and difficult secrets.

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