Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Published: July 31, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Received: ARC for review
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. [goodreads]

The one thing I've heard repeatedly about Pushing the Limits is: HOT!  I love when a contemporary takes a broken story between two opposing characters and brings them together in a fiery passion.  This was my thought process as I dove head first into this book, but as I continued to read, my thoughts started to shift.  Yes, there was definitely some hot fiery passion, but there was also this deeper story which had the potential to spark real flames.

I always enjoy a story that is told in alternating voices.  As the reader, you get to experience it through the eyes of Echo, the damaged girl; as well as Noah, the hard-edged boy.  Though the concept is nothing new, it's still a story I enjoy to follow.  Girl meets Boy. Boy wants girl. Girl is hesitant of boy. And so on.  In this particular story though, I had a difficult time really grasping both Echo and Noah's voices.  Their individual pains were obvious, I could see why they felt damaged and closed-off, but I never truly felt it for myself.

There were many aspects of this story which reminded me of Simone Elkeles's young adult novels.  The heavy pull between two teenagers from different worlds, and the steamy passion that evokes their want to be together.  Though in this novel, it went beyond just the physical pull and dug a little deeper into emotional issues with both Echo and Noah.

Though I enjoyed their steamy one on one moments, there seemed to be something lacking.  The concept was there, but I just didn't feel connected to it.  The internal dialogue, mainly from Noah's point of view, did not please me.  I have a hard time with pet names, period.  This is by no means a negative reflection on McGarry's writing, I feel this way about any writer who uses terms of endearment instead of the character's name.  It's little details such as this one which held me back from truly losing myself within the story.

This is the type of story that has potential to hook you, but unfortunately for me I lost a bit of interest along the way due to the internal dialogue.  If you're a fan of stories which provoke deeper issues, but mask it with a lighter feel, then I think Pushing the Limits is for you. 


  1. Noah's weird internal monologue was kind of a dealbreaker for me too with this one. Theoretically, I liked his character more than Echo, but he just needed to stop with all the "siren" etc talk. It really kept me from enjoying this book as much as I thought I would.

  2. I had some issues with the dialogue too, which was a shame because I really did like the characters and their growth over the course of the novel. But for me there was something of a disconnect between the characters and their dialogue/narration (particularly with Noah, as you said), and it kept niggling at me.

  3. Even though you had a few issues with this one, your review has made me want to read it more. Moving it up on my TBR list.

  4. I loved this book, even more than Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. I normally don't love alternating POVs in books. Usually, I feel like I am just starting to connect to the MC and then I have to adjust to a new POV. I didn't feel that way in Pushing the Limits. I connected with Echo and Noah almost immediately, and loved switching back and forth bewteen their POVs.

    I didn't love all the endearments Noah was throwing around, but for me, it was such a small annoyance, and it didn't seem to bother Echo, so it didn't bother me.

    Sorry you weren't able to connect with this book, though.

  5. I am so, so sad we didn't feel the same way about this book. I think we just felt such completely different things about it. Where you felt it was a book with deeper issues with a lighter feel, I felt quite opposite. I thought the issues Noah and Echo dealt with were BIG and different than any others I'd read in YA. I couldn't get over Echo's mom - I mean she needed major, major help. I can't imagine if something like that had happened to me. I didn't feel like the pain and hurt was sugar-coated at all.

    And like Quinn, above, I didn't LOVE the terms of endearment, but it wasn't a deal-breaker for me either.

    I thought for SURE this book had you written all over it, and I think that's what makes me the most sad - that you didn't love it as much as I had hoped. :(

  6. I hate it when a guy calls his girlfriend "baby". It just irks me in YA novels and I did notice it in this one.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  7. The romance is actually NOT what I loved about this book. I really ended up loving it, but only because of the characters' struggle and transformation. There's just something about how they evolved from beginning to end that struck gold with me.

    I wasn't a fan of the pet names either. Noah's internal dialogue made me laugh mostly, but it didn't break the deal when it came to the book itself.

  8. I need to get to this book ASAP. Between you, M, and Alexa... I need to figure it all out.

    Pet names are funny things. Aren't they? I don't come across many books that use them and while my husband and I do use them (I call him 'love' mostly), it's either that or we call each other nothing. haha. I can see how it's unnatural for sure. But then again, I have no idea how they are used because I am once again reminded HOW I HAVEN'T READ THIS YET.

    Will do!

  9. HATED the pet names! Was physically cringing as I read it!!! Glad I'm not the only one!

  10. I could not agree more, my friend.

  11. Yeah, the pet names were a little bit grating, although I totally use them in real life I am not a big fan of reading them.

    That stated, I really liked Pushing The Limits, but I have a pretty high tolerance for melodrama and pet names and stuff.


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