Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Review: Pushing the Limits by: Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
ISBN: 0373210493
Reading Level: Mature YA
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Theme(s): Mental Illness, Foster Care, Forbidden Love
Binding: Hardcover (ARC paperback)
Length: 416 pages
Published: 31 July 2012; Harlequin Teen

Synopsis: 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.

My Rating:


My Review: Have I died and gone to heaven? That's sure what it feels like after reading Katie McGarry's debut novel Pushing the Limits. The book's premise sounded exactly like something I would enjoy, after all, I love misunderstood bad boys and the good girls that grow to love them. Let's face it, not every author is good at writing bad boys, unless you're NY Times best selling author Simone Elkeles, writer of the sizzling hot Perfect Chemistry series. So you can imagine my hesitance going into Pushing the Limits.

Pushing the Limits was not what I expected, in a good way. For example, based upon the synopsis, I automatically assumed the abuse that Echo suffered was from her "jock" boyfriend. I don't know why, but I had it in my head that maybe one night they were at a party, he slipped something in her drink (or attempted to get her drunk), and tried to molest her which resulted in the "freaky" scars on her arms and loss of memory. Boy was I wrong about everything. The plot itself is way more complex than that which is one of the things I absolutely love about this book.

First and foremost, when I started reading, I didn't expect the chapters to alternate between Echo and Noah. I love this technique because I enjoy being able to get into the heads of more than one character. Plus, it gave me the heads up that this story wasn't going to be just about Echo which again, I just assumed based on the book blurb. This is just as much as Noah's story as it is Echo's. And while I was blown away by Echo's dysfunctional family dynamic, it was Noah's relationship with his brothers and best friends that had me shedding some tears. I think the less I say about the actual plot of both of their stories will be more beneficial for you as the reader, so I am just going to leave it at that.

I also like how the author explored the different views on grief and the depth of Echo's therapy sessions. It's revealed pretty early that Echo had an older brother named Aires, who died while on active duty. He was her world, her rock when things got crazy at home. She used to keep him company while he worked on restoring a classic car and when he died, it became her passion: she wanted to fix the car up in her brother's honor. Echo's father, on the other hand, thinks it is a stupid idea and rather sell the car. Some people rather forget when they are grieving. I also give the author tremendous credit for writing about mental illness, memory loss after a traumatic experience, and how it not only affects a teen's home life, but that of their social life in a school setting. Let's face it, kids can be cruel; I see it every day as a teacher. In general, students are either trying to look cool, or trying to blend in so they don't draw unwanted attention. If a rumor about someone starts to go around school, most rather believe it than go up to the person in question and find out the truth for themselves. Sad but true.

McGarry is also great at writing secondary characters. I absolutely fell in love with Isaiah who is Noah's best friend and "foster" brother. While Beth annoyed me a bit, one particular scene that I will not spoil changed my view of her greatly. There were still scenes where she made me roll my eyes, but I get where the attitude comes from. Since I am on the topic of Beth, I recently found out that Katie McGarry will be giving Beth her own book. At first I was doing cart wheels because...well, let's just say there is major chemistry between Beth and Isaiah. So of course I thought, awesome, the author is going to write Beth and Isaiah's story. But when I read the little sneak peak at the end of Pushing the Limits...I'll let you be the judge of it. If it's going where I think it's going, that really sucks, but I am willing to give McGarry a chance since Pushing the Limits really did blow me away. She knows her characters better than I do, so I guess she has something up her sleeve! I'll just have to trust her on this!

This book should definitely be filed under Mature Young Adult. McGarry does not hold back on cursing, sexual situations, and some drug use. If these things bother you, then this book isn't for you. But just be aware that Pushing the Limits is so much more. These things just add to the realism of the story. I truly commend her for tackling controversial topics, even some I haven't mentioned in this review, such as the Foster Care system and the affects it has on children, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Like I said before, I am a huge Simone Elkeles fan and the biggest compliment I could give Katie McGarry is that Pushing the Limits reminds me so much of Elkeles' novels. Yet she is able to create her own voice, her own style. I look forward to Beth's story next, and hopefully Isaiah's after that!

9 comments:

  1. In love with this book too!! One of my fave reads this year.

    -Dannielle / The Unseelie Nerd

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  2. Oh I agree wholeheartedly, Dannielle! It totally caught me off guard as I wasn't expecting it to be so good. I love when that happens!

    Mia :)

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  3. Well, the book seems to be good. Not that I've read it but from the reviews I've seen. So it's only natural that she plans to take advantage of the buzz and make another one.

    Lectus

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lectus! I agree, I am not really upset that there is going to be a sequel. What I am upset about is the fact that Beth and Isaiah have big time chemistry in Pushing the Limits. Isaiah basically confesses to Noah that he is in love with Beth. So it only seemed natural that the next book would be Beth and Isaiah's story. But when I was reading the little "sneak peak" for the next book, it looks like Beth is getting a different love interest. Which basically means that book 3 will probably be Isaiah's book. I was just hoping that Beth and Isaiah would get together. But the author apparently has something different in mind. So I guess I will just have to trust her on this!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Mia

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  4. I just got this book and now I'm so excited to read it!! Really great review! And if bad boy Noah is anything like the Fuentes brothers, I'm sure I'll love him! :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! You can definitely count me as a new follower! :)

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  5. Seriously GREAT review!!! I haven't heard too many bad things about this book. It's still on my TBR pile actually so I really should get on that!

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  6. The only reason I didn't finish this book in 1 sitting was because I had to sleep and go to work. But still, I read it in 2 sittings. I couldn't put this book down! This story is breathtakingly heartwarming. I love that Katie McGarry used both Noah and Echo's points of view. Doing so pulled you right into Echo and Noah's world so you could laugh and cry with them.

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    ReplyDelete
  8. i am so happy to share my testimony on how i was able to get back my ex lover around September 2015 with the help of Dr. Ofemo since 5 year ago, I almost gave up trying to get my ex lover back to commit to our relationship fully. I had tried the whole lot I knew, but what I DIDN'T know was that all I had to do was come to you Dr. Ofemo, and with your blessings and extraordinary magic powers, I wouldn't have to do all the work at all. you did your magic, and immediately after 24 hours, my lover came back to me with lots of apologies and flowers.. And now my life is balanced and happy again. Dr. Ofemo is a real and genuine spell caster he help me restore back my broken relationship. You do a great service to people, You are talented with spell to bring back ex lover and many more. Thank you for weaving your magic love spells for me. She is back just the way it was when we first met,his email address:drofemospelltempl@gmail.com it was all like a dream to me, i am so happy now as we are back together again thanks to Dr. Ofemo and i will advice anyone in need of help to contact him via email: drofemospelltemple@yahoo.com or his cell number +2348163387496 his web/site http://drofemospelltemple.wix.com/dr-ofemo..

    ReplyDelete