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I Belong


Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits

Author: Katie McGarry

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: July 31, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 0373210493 (Harlequin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0373210497 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Michelle

Synopsis:

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.

Quick & Dirty: Death and loss plays a big part of this story, and McGarry does it in a tasteful and poetic way.

Opening Sentence: “My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has…well…issues. How do you think I’m doing?”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Pushing the Limits has been on everyone’s to-read list this summer. Katie McGarry has everyone talking about this fantastic contemporary young adult fiction that touches on serious and very realistic topics. Pushing the Limits does just that, push the reader’s limits, testing the boundaries of the typical love story and adding in a mix of positive and negative elements. McGarry does a beautiful job of writing a harmonious blend between the two elements that has you thirsty for more. I have quickly become a fan, and I cannot wait to tell you about this amazing story.

Echo Emerson is not your typical high school senior. She has endured pain that probably none of her peers have ever experienced. At the end of her sophomore year, Echo’s world came crashing down. She has come from a divorced home, where her father divorced her mother to marry another woman. Echo has lost her beloved brother in a war, losing the one person that truly protected her. And to top it off, Echo has also lost a mother, but this time due to a restraining order because her mom tried to kill her. But Echo doesn’t remember anything that happened that fatal night, her body has protected herself and blocked everything from that day. Life has moved on, for her friends who have slowly begun to alienate her within the popular crowd, and for her father, who is living a blissful life with his new wife and soon to be born child. Life has moved on, with what seems to be everything all around her, leaving Echo to pull up her sleeves, cover her scars, and hide from life itself.

Echo is scared and lonely, reliving her worst nightmares during the day and the night. She is confused and lost, afraid to remember the harsh memories but also afraid of what will happen if she does not. Echo slowly learns to cope with her reality with the help of a few people, but not her dad. Echo seems to struggle, day by day, just trying to live through each one with whatever strength she has left. But deep inside, I see Echo’s strength, to show up to school and face everything and everyone. She is feisty and sarcastic and is beautiful inside and out. Echo is definitely a heroine to look up to.

Echo crosses paths with Noah Hutchins, who is also a troubled youth. Noah is a foster child, moving from home to home, separated from his brothers. He is smart, but sometimes doesn’t think about the aftermath of his actions. Noah always has good intentions, but doesn’t know how to think outside of the box. Noah is burdened with the memory of his parents, who died in a fire, and of the responsibility to reunite his family. As a character, Noah is deep and complex, and when you think you have him figured out, McGarry changes it all and surprises you.

Pushing the Limit is emotional and will touch your soul. I felt emotionally invested for the characters and the story. McGarry brought out some real and raw emotions, bringing her world and her words to life. The various familial relationship and friendships are complex and realistic, bringing the tingles and tears on many occasions. McGarry writes about passion in a romantic and platonic sense, talking about passions of the heart in a way that is eye opening. Death and loss plays a big part of this story, and McGarry does it in a tasteful and poetic way.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved this book. It has brought so many emotions to me, some that I haven’t felt from a story in a long time. I laughed and definitely cried, and I always love that when an author can bring real emotions out of me. I felt that there were a few shortcomings, but so much positive outweighs the negative with Pushing the Limit.

Notable Scene:

“Happy Birthday.” Noah drew his lips closer to mine; that sweet musky smell and overwhelmed my senses. I could almost taste his lips when he unexpectedly took a step back, inhaling deeply. The cold air slapped me into the land of the sober.

He ran a hand over his face before heading toward the tree line. “See you soon, Echo Emerson.”

“Wait.” I began to pull off  his jacket. “You forgot this.”

“Keep it,” he said without looking back. “I’ll get it from you on Monday. When we discuss tutoring.”

And Noah Hutchins – girl-using stoner boy and jacket-loaning savior- faded into the shadows.

FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of Pushing the Limits.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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