Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)
by: Katie McGarry
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from e-Library
Page Count: 403 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 5/5 stars
I have had a really difficult time sitting down and writing this review because I feel like there's nothing I can say that will do this book justice. It was THAT good. It is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, but it was such a great book about finding the true meaning of love and learning how to overcome traumatic past events.
Katie McGarry was definitely not afraid to put her characters through the ringer. Which I found to be refreshing because sometimes life is just hard. Being a teenager who has had to grow up entirely too fast is hard.
This book is written in both main characters points of view, which was awesome. We really get to see inside both of their heads and find out what they're thinking and feeling, which makes us readers feel that much more connected to these characters.
We are first introduced to Echo, who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. She is being forced to see a counselor for her PTSD, over an event that she cannot remember. All she has to show for the event are scars on her arms, that make her very self-conscious, which is why she resorts to hiding them.
Her family situation, while not as bad as others in this book, is still a tricky one. Her father is overbearing and overprotective, and is focused on her doing well in school and doing well on her ACT/SAT's so she can get into a good school. Her step-mother, formerly her baby-sitter, is pregnant and is portrayed as self-absorbed and flighty. Her brother was killed in Afghanistan and her mother is no longer in the picture.
Echo's social life is also drastically different from the event. Having been popular, involved on the dance team, and dating the school hunk, Echo is now withdrawn and an outsider. Being a high school teacher myself, I see first hand how cruel kids can be to each other and how they talk and gossip about things they couldn't possibly understand. The kids do not know what happened to Echo, just that all of a sudden she disappeared and came back a different person who wears long sleeves or gloves to cover her arms. Of course, their first instincts are that she self-inflicted injuries upon herself or that she tried to commit suicide. Echo's friend Lila, however, has been there for her every step of the way, but I didn't like how she made it such a big deal for Echo to get back in the good graces of kids who should have stood by her regardless.
Noah, our other main character, is first portrayed as an angry, rebellious teenager who is clearly upset by the system. He is known for using girls as well as drugs. Noah lost both of his parents to a fire and he and his two younger brothers were placed into the foster care system, thus splitting them up. Having gotten into trouble with his first foster family, Noah has not been allowed to see his two younger brothers. He is also seeing the same counselor as Echo, which is how they meet each other. Echo is tasked with tutoring Noah to help him improve his grades. Their relationship is quite rocky at first and it definitely was not an insta-love scenario. Echo knows the reputation Noah has, and Noah knows there's no way he could ever measure up to this smart, beautiful girl.
McGarry has done an awesome job at slowly chipping away the layers of these two characters and watching them fall in love and learn to trust the other is an incredible journey. Even after they realize their feelings for each other, they both know that things are not as simple as believing that is is enough. Noah is fighting for the two people he loves most on this earth and Echo is battling the war within to help her reclaim her lost memory so she can find some kind of peace.
You can't help but feel shattered for Echo who, after finally remembering what happened to her, truly feels like there is no one who loves her. My heart completely broke for her.
As emotionally overloaded as I was at the end of this book, I feel that McGarry leaves you satisfied and full of hope for these two characters.
Her next novel will be focused on Noah's best friend Beth, who we meet in this novel. Beth is a tough chick, who has a wrecked home life, so I can't wait to see where McGarry takes her in this next book.