Author: Katie McGarry (author website)
Release Date: July 25 2012 by Harlequin Teen Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
A tortured bad boy, a beautiful, broken girl, and scorching hot chemistry, Katie McGarry pushes all the right buttons with Pushing the Limits, packing an emotional punch that will leave you reeling...
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. 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.
The Story:Echo Emmerson used to have it all: the perfect boyfriend, the perfect friends and the perfect brother. But now her beloved brother is dead, she hasn't seen her mother in a year, and Echo's arms are covered in terrible scars. There's a gaping black hole in Echo's memory, and she knows she can't move forward with her life until she remembers the night she lost everything. Noah Hutchinson hasn't had it all in a long time. Screwed over by the foster system, Noah wants nothing more than to get out high school, and rescue his two young brothers from the same fate he suffered: a string of abusive foster parents and a broken system that's broken him.
Noah and Echo are just trying to survive, but when Mrs Collins, the erratic and quirky psychiatrist they share explodes into their lives, they may just get more than they bargained for...
The 101:Beautiful, broken and lost, Echo, in many ways, feels like her name: a reflection of a sound, a memory of the girl she once was. And it’s a wonderful thing watching her push past her limitations, grow past her hurt and anger, and discover herself again. Noah is equally as damaged, angry, and untrusting, but is not quite the bad boy you may expect. He loves his brothers with everything he is, and at his prickliest, it’s impossible not to feel for him. As both re-learn to trust, and their secrets come unravelled, it unravels something within them, and I found it hard to resist an unravelling within me, as a reader.
Pushing the Limits isn’t about Echo and Noah discovering each other and working together to accomplish some great exciting ‘thing’ or deed, and it is certainly not a girl-and-boy meet each other and fall instantly, devastatingly in love story, either. It’s the deeper, more insular tale of two lost souls becoming whole within themselves, and being found in each other, and finding healing in themselves. There is a heartbreaking poignancy to Echo and Noah’s shared journey, and while, I pray, most readers will not have suffered the extremes this couple have, most will connect with and mourn along with them. Those who have suffered the soaring highs and devastating lows of depression, the yawning emptiness of loss, or the pain of betrayal will appreciate the delicacy with which Pushing the Limits handles these issues, and the rawness it doesn’t attempt to hide or gloss over. McGarry does not paint a simple happily-ever-after, instead showing a gradual path to forgiveness and acceptance—showing a journey, not a destination.
True loves takes hard work and compromise, and it’s a beautiful thing to see in action here. Indeed, it’s one of Pushing the Limits' most moving, affecting messages. It may not sound romantic, but when closer examined, is there anything truly more romantic than this? To love someone with everything you are, and love them so much you are willing to work and sacrifice for their happiness? This is a love story about the truth of true love. In fact, Jennifer Echols blurbed the book and puts perfectly: “McGarry details the sexy highs, the devastating lows and the real work it takes to build true love.”
But for all this talk of love and growth and healing—magnificent things—Pushing the Limits offers more: A cast of characters in shades of grey, some I loved, such as Echo and Noah’s shared counsellor, Ms Collins, and others I really wanted to hate, like Echo’s former friends. They add a depth to the world, and give the reader some perspective, showing our leads are not infallible, and not always right.
The Verdict:Pushing the Limits is incredibly moving, packing a big emotional punch, but it’s not all weepy tear jerker moments: there’s friendship, a puzzling backstory, and a romantic chemistry so intense the book warrants one of those coffee cup warning labels: ‘CAUTION. Contents are HOT.’ A moving tale of loss, healing and love, McGarry delivers a masterful debut.
Books in This Series:
- Pushing The Limits (2012)
- Dare You To (Companion Novel) (2013)