Friday 27 July 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads:
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

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.

Just simply amazing. This really moved me- it is one of the best contemporary fiction books I have ever read. The characters are all fantastic, the plotlines all intricately woven together, and and the writing is heart-renderingly beautiful. Pushing The Limits is completely unputdownable.

The narrative splits between Echo and Noah, and I love this because it gives such an insight into the thoughts and emotions of both charaters, and really effectively tells both sides of the story. They are both so broken and misunderstood, and it's this that pulls them together. I really loved the chemistry between them- and that bad-boy Noah is only dark surface deep.

Underneath his coarse attitude and bad language, he is just struggling to deal with  pulling his life back together after a string of rough foster homes. Working whenever he can and fighting for custody of his younger brothers, he wants to prove that his trouble-maker label is completely unjustified. Noah's struggle to cling to the remains of his family is what moved me the most- he is so determined to be a part of his brother's lives and to take care of them.

On the surface Echo seems to be lucky- she is pretty, smart, and from a wealthy family, but she is actually struggling to deal with a controlling and pushy father, a pregnant new young step-mother, the death of her brother, and is recieveing therapy for post-traumatic stress, after an incident that she can't remember but that has left her with scars, and with her family telling her that her mother tried to kill her.

Echo and Noah are both so different and would never have spent any time together ordinarily, but from the time they are pushed together by the school counsellor their lives are turned around. There is no instant love but a gradual awareness of the other's pain and a tender need to support each other. I loved how Noah grew so protective of Echo as their friendship grew. Their relationship is full  of tension, angst, misunderstandings, and support, and is rocky, intense and so sweet.

Because I loved the characters and the author got into their head so well- I really felt their pain. For a brief time while I was reading this novel I was really right there beside them, and I teared up so many times reading this. I love it when a book can move me so powerfully. I spent every spare moment I could absorbed in their world- and crying my eyes out!

This is a hard contemporary novel with dark moments. Echo and Noah's lives are difficult, and sometimes brutal, but also always felt so realistic. The psychological aspects of the story are so fantastically written, it makes their story feel even more raw and poignant. It is also an emotional and gripping story that will really move you. You root for them and really want them to work everything out.

The characters are the at the root of the story. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what this book is about because I don't want to give too much away, and I haven't mentioned a bunch of my favourite characters, but there are so many, and all I can say is- you have to read this book!

Unless you have a heart of stone this book will make you cry, laugh, despair, and swoon! It's a romance book with plenty of ups and downs, characters with big problems, and gradual revelations that always added an extra element to the story. As the backstory of each character is explored I wanted to keep reading to find out more. It left me feeling all warm and fuzzy, but also lost by the end, because I'd finished it! One of the best contemporary books I have ever read- just sheer brilliance.

Alternative cover:
This is the UK cover published by Mira Ink August 2012.


  1. Your review made my heart rise and fall for the characters so much that I feel like running 10 miles to the bookstore and buy Pushing The Limits right now!! There's so many raving reviews around, and I simply can't resist fleshed-out characters! They make a story feel so real :)

    I'm now a proud new follower of your blog, do drop by mine @ too!


  2. I don't have a heart of stone :P
    LOVED this book so much!!

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  3. have no idea how much i am kicking myself for saying no thank you to an ARC of this..a dark contemporary sounds amazing. I will be buying this one! Awesome review and so glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Fab review.
    This book sounds amazing. i have read nothing but amazing reviews.
    I can't wait for my pre-order to arrive!!


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