Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry ★★★★★

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: n/a
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
ISBN: 978-0373210497
Page Count: 384
Rating: ★★★★★

"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.

REVIEW


This is not my normal fare- straight YA contemporary with no paranormal woo woo- but I loved  it. I didn't need anything else whilst reading it because I was fully, 100% immersed in this story and these two great characters, Noah and Echo. And I'm all about the characters; they're so hugely important for my enjoyment. You can have a somewhat average story with amazing characters and give it 5 stars, or a great story with flat, cookie-cutter characters you don't care about, and give it one star.

Then every once in a while you get something like this, which has both! Yay!

First, as a responsible parent-type person, I'd just like to make readers aware that there was quite a bit of swearing, some scenes of sensuality and references to drug use (smoking weed at parties) as well as under-age drinking (again, at a party). I'm not saying this to put anyone off, just to make readers aware that Ms. McGarry was keeping it real when she wrote these young people, so they speak and behave in the way you would expect two troubled teens to speak and behave. I never found any of it unnecessary or over the top. In fact, I thought she got the balance just right whilst being authentic. But since it's a YA I would suggest it for more mature teens.

The story itself spends lot of the time in a highschool setting, with all the teasing, taunting and bitching that that entails. The writing of this was very well done and the target audience isn't talked down to or told every little thing. They're left to work out a lot of stuff for themselves. For example, which of the friends/secondary characters are as nice as they are supposed to be. You need to sometimes look beyond what Echo is telling you (because she is not the best judge of character) and read between the lines. I enjoyed the alternating first person POV's between Echo and Noah. He had such typical boy thoughts at times. "Ooh! Boobies!" It was rather amusing, and again, felt very authentic. (Disclaimer: he never actually says 'Ooh! Boobies!'. I am paraphrasing). I'm actually really glad she didn't pull any punches to tame it down for younger readers. Discerning teen readers deserve to have this kind of quality writing to enjoy. And it's hardly as if they won't have ever heard a swear word (or tweleve) by the time they're old enough to be interested in this book.

Going by the blurb concerning Echo's mysterious scars and memory black-out, you might be forgiven for thinking the main focus of the story was on her, and that Noah is just the token Bad Boy that turns out to be a Sweetie Pie. Well, you'd be wrong. I actually found Noah's own story even more compelling at times, and it was his scenes that brought a tear to my eye. He was a great character. A swoon-worthy hunk, to be sure, but also so much more.

I loved the way the story unfolded; the blocked memories were an ongoing issue that proved very intriguing. I really have nothing but positive things to say. If I had to find one negative it would be that some of the later scenes got a bit too sugary sweet for a jaded old bird like me, but I'm sure the YAers will like it just fine.

5 Stars! ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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