Review: Pushing the Limits
Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Format: eBook from Netgalley
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 smokinghot, 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.—Goodreads
You see that cover up there?
I know it’s hard to do. But still. Ignore it.
Not that this isn’t a love story. It is. But it’s not a fiery, hormone-ride of a book about lusty teenagers making out in the hallway and dry-humping each other to an inch of their lives.
Okay, maybe there’s some of that going on, but it’s *not* what this book is about.
Pushing the Limits completely bowled me over. And bawled me over. If you get nothing else from this review, know this: THIS BOOK IS AMAZING AND WILL MAKE YOU CRY.
I expected it to be a story of two effed up kids—one a cutter and one a “bad boy”—but that’s not it at all. Echo and Noah (SIDE NOTE: What is with the popularity of that name right now? I mean, it’s a great name and all, but SERIOUSLY. Noahs are in over-abundance right now.) are two teenagers whose lives have been irrevocably changed by situations that were outside of their control. Echo and Noah are both smart, charismatic, attractive, funny, talented—things that most teenagers want to be. But because of the cards that have been dealt them, those innate traits that lend themselves to popularity are drowned by the pain and confusion and anger they deal with every day.
And you guys. Pushing the Limits is maybe the most raw and real book I’ve read in a long time. Echo and Noah’s shared pain, sorrow, and frustration was tangible and really informed their relationship, which evolves from a counselor-sanctioned nuisance into a full-fledged romance. And though they seem like a mismatched pair, the truth is that they are perfect for one another because they understand and have the ability to support one another as they work through their respective situations and come out of it as better, healthier, stronger people.
But that doesn’t mean their relationship is easy.
And y’all. Noah Hutchins. It might take awhile, but he will grab your heart and never ever let it go. Just . . . be prepared.
But it’s not just the Noah and Echo who make this book great. The secondary and tertiary characters—mostly high schoolers, but also parents/teachers/adult figures—feel very real. The high schoolers cuss and drink and do drugs and party and have sex and are insanely selfish. The adults put too much pressure on their kids, or, conversely, don’t give a shit what their kids do.
I think what really struck me is that every character is selfish. Which is really just the natural state of being a human—you want to be happy because you feel that it’s your birth right, and even if your intentions are to be a good friend or an understanding, but firm parent, what you really want is for a person to act the way you want them to. In Pushing the Limits, each character does and acts and says the things they need to, and even if it has a negative impact, the author never blames that person. The characters stand on their own, and it’s up to the reader to judge. I really dug that.
Also, if ABC Family or The CW doesn’t option this book as a TV show, then they are bonkers. (Seriously, literary scouts, GET ON THIS. Just make some sort of contractual provision that Katie McGarry be a script supervisor. Because if a studio screwed this one up, I would be THE ANGRY.)
Overall, this book is really incredible. If you’re looking for a contemporary that will challenge your thinking, make you
cry sob, and introduce you to characters that feel like they could walk out of the book into real life, then Pushing the Limits is the ticket.