Title: Pushing The Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: Hardcover; 384
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Drug use; Swearing; Violence
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love a contemporary read with a lot of heart, and a lot of grit.
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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.
Where do I start? Seriously, Pushing The Limits is everything I want in a book. Great characters, solid plotting, and the type of story that makes you want to cry and smile in equal measures. This is contemporary writing at its finest. No mermaids, no werewolves. They aren't necessary here. All the reader has are Echo, Noah and their stories, and you know what? It's perfection.
I truly don't believe that there will ever be two characters that I will love so wholeheartedly as I love Echo and Noah. Both broken in their own ways, these two fit together perfectly. Echo Emerson is a shell of the girl she once was. The death of her brother, the loss of her mother, and the inability to remember how she got her terrible scars, all eat at her on a daily basis. Meanwhile Noah Hutchins is lost in his own world. Fighting the foster care system and trying his best not to get close to anyone. If there's one thing Noah knows, it's that getting close to someone means you can get hurt.
Then, they meet. Did I mention the word perfection? There's no insta-love here. Just a slow progression of two people who go from being wary of one another, to slowly trusting one another, and finally to having that pure feeling of contentment every time they're together. Echo and Noah have the type of romance that makes you sniffle and giggle in the same sentence. I'll be the first to admit that I have a massive crush on Noah Hutchins. Don't let his bad boy persona fool you. There's a great guy under there. So great in fact, that he's my new favorite male character. I dare you not to swoon.
What is really impressive about Pushing The Limits though is how well it deals with so many different issues all at the same time. Echo and Noah may be facing two very different backgrounds, but their problems are deep. Problems that range from high school issues, to the foster care system. Their lives are the type of gritty reality that a lot of teens face, and most people don't want to acknowledge. Life for these two is far from normal. It's this that teaches them that sometimes, just sometimes, you have to make your own normal.
There really aren't enough words in the world to describe my feelings for this book. You should know that love is all I have for Katie McGarry and her characters, and that I am so happy that I took the time to meet Echo and Noah. I hear that there's another book coming out from one of the other character's point of view! If Pushing The Limits is any indication of the brilliance that will be within those pages, I can't wait.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.