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Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry



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I have to admit, this one took me by surprise. As a general rule, I don't expect much from new authors - but Pushing the Limits reads like it's the product of a veteran Young Adult author.

Initially, I thought the book was going to be about an ostracized cutter (not that there's anything wrong with that story, but the "teen-self-harmer-changed-thanks-to-a-stranger's-willingness-to-see-the-person-inside" has been done a million times, in about five different ways - which makes those YA stories too bland and predictable). To my great surprise, that was not the plotline at all. There is a lot more to Echo's story than we - and her friends - are first led to believe, which made this for an even better story than I originally anticipated.

It's a good YA book about two teens growing up and learning to accept the way their lives have turned out - as vastly different than they could ever have imagined. McGarry's writing style is phenomenal - managing to keep the reader highly engaged throughout the 400 page book. Like any good book, I was unable to put it down - and found myself lost in their stories, hurting for Noah's family and just as desperate for answers as Echo.

Granted, the story is a bit heavy - following two teens as they navigate their teen years while struggling to come to terms with their horrendous pasts doesn't exactly paint a pretty, sunshine-filled picture. However, there are moments of levity.

The only "negative" thing I have to say about this book is that it has the cliché Young Adult ending. However, we all know the real story in these types of books is the process the characters go through to get to that ending. With that, McGarry is successful; you fall in love with Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins - ending up wanting nothing but everything for them.

Ultimately, McGarry's book passed the "Forever Shelf" test. Without a doubt, Pushing the Limits is one book I'll want to read again... and again.

**Full review posted on Honest Reviews Corner** ( )
  ItEntertainsMe | Oct 4, 2016 |
A really lovely story about love and loss. I didn't agree with Echo's choices on how to deal with her family in the end though, which decreased how much I liked the story til then. When people act as if you mean nothing to them then try to explain it with "I didn't know how to act around you", I know exactly how I would act, and it wasn't with forgiveness. But then, I related to Echo's issues with her father, and I've dealt with them in a very different way that I have no regrets about. Repeated betrayal isn't something that should be shrugged aside. Besides that, Noah's story was heart wrenching. I agreed with his handling of his family situation even though it was such a painful step to take. Guh, so sad... ( )
  GoldenDarter | Sep 15, 2016 |
uh.....WOW! I couldn't put this down, I cried, I hoped, I loved. ( )
  TerriBowles | Jun 26, 2016 |
Wow loved it! ( )
  crisana | Jun 2, 2016 |
I am really excited about writing this review since it is my first one. I got this book as a present from my best friend on my birthday in October (2015) and I have been putting it off ever since because of the tremendous school work I had, but I finally managed to get on with it last week (04.03.16) and I just couldn't stop reading it. If anyone is wondering if this book is worth reading, the answer is "definitely YES". I will not go in depth with the story itself, for that you will have to read the book ;), but I will share my experience reading the novel. The first thing that came to my mind after finishing the book is how vividly the story was presented. It was unlike any other romantic novel I have read so far, and I have read all of Nicholas Sparks' books, and although I perceived them as extremely realistic, "Pushing the Limits" achieved another level of reality for me. I have experienced depression and bullying at a younger age and I think that created a connection between the protagonists, Echo and Noah, and me which made me empathise with how it feels to experience what they experienced. After all that is the main purpose of a story, to transpose you in another world and give you the chance to live more than just one life. That was exactly how this book felt to me. Nevertheless, being a hopeless romantic, the relationship between Noah and Echo was the cheery on top. It was simply that kind of love that everyone wishes to experience, and it was beautiful.

The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see—the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.

and this is just an example of how much I liked Katie McGarry's writing style, which is incredible and made me consider reading more from her.

To put it in a nutshell, the book was amazing (5 stars) and it is without doubt worth reading. ( )
  bookstraveller | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (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!!!!!
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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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