Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

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Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Hardcover: 384 pages
Expected Publication: July 31, 2012
Summary: (taken 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

Overall Rating: 4/5 

A book about two troubled teens trying to work through their issues and figure out their futures? Yes, please. Pushing the Limits is filled with drama, serious issues, and some very touching moments. Dealing with themes such as friendship and family, this is something that I think everyone can relate to.

What Katie McGarry does is perfectly set up a situation with two characters that are impossible not to like. Told from both of their perspectives, I rooted for Echo and Noah from the very beginning (individually and as a couple). What I liked about them is that they are two responsible teenagers in very bad situations. These weren't even situations they brought upon themselves, but things that just happened and made a major impact on their lives, forcing them to deal with horrible things. I hate when authors portray teenagers as shallow and whiny; McGarry gives her characters something real to be troubled about and has them fight for what they want instead of sulking in their misery.

And my goodness, does McGarry know how to craft an un-put-downable story! Don't even try to stop reading at the end of a chapter, because it won't happen. I would promise myself to only read a few chapters, only to find a few hours later that I've read a quarter of the book. It's a fast read that goes by even faster, because you won't want to stop reading. The characters sucked me in, and I found myself always needing to know what happened next.

There were some problems with this novel. For one, the adults didn't seem very realistic to me. They were too over-the-top, not willing to listen to the teenagers or talk the problems out with them. While I'm sure this happens, I would have liked there to be a better balance. For most of the novel, it seems like the only two adults that really care are the therapist, Mrs. Collins, and Echo's former art teacher. Also, the connection between Echo and Noah got too strong too fast. I did like that the relationship took some time to develop, but it only took a couple of short meetings for Noah to start obsess about Echo. And there are some incredibly cheesy moments, but they are interspersed with some really sweet ones, so there is a balance, at least.

Because of those problems, though, I had a hard time deciding what to rate this novel. While I was bothered by some things, I liked the characters, the themes, and how nicely the story unfolded. What it came down to was the fact that I enjoyed every second of reading Pushing the Limits, and I couldn't put it down. In the end, that's all that matters for me.

*I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*

Other Reviews
Miss Remmers' Reviews - 4.5/5
Reading under the Willow Tree - 2.5/5
Ladybug Storytime - Positive review