Review: Pushing the Limits

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry


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.

Honestly, I picked this up on a whim. I was on a trip to Wasaga Beach and my mom wanted to check out Walmart. I saw this and began reading it as we tromped around the store. I was instantly addicted. It may have been because she use the woodchuck tongue twister, or because I just found the first chapter entertaining, but I got hooked.

This book was electrifying. It starts off with Echo Emerson, who has post-traumatic stress syndrome after an accident, that she only remembers because of the scars on her arms. After her accident, she disappeared for a month, just like that. When she got back, she was marred with these scars and was cast as an outsider. She really struck me, because in her family, from the start, you could feel the tension between them all. As we learned more about Echo, though, you feel more and more for her character and her struggles.

Noah, on the other hand, is the school’s girl using druggie, who has a bad rep. Granted, it was an earned rep, but as with every reputation, you only get to see one aspect of a person. Unlike Echo’s battle with her memory, Noah has waged war with the system.

The two of them struggled for a normal life they could never have.

Vaguely using each other to get what they want, they realized that they could get more out of their relationship. Teaming up, they try their hardest to get information from their files to gain something of importance to them. However, what they didn’t expect was the heated romance that developed between them.

In all honestly, I really liked this book. In a novel where the characters were always worrying about sex and drugs and stuff, McGarry avoided those things, showing that a relationship doesn’t have to be defined by sex and your life doesn’t have to be controlled by drugs. That was a great thing about this book.

I also loved how strong the characters were. They really sweep you up and pull you into the story. We get to see the internal battle within the to main characters as the perspectives switched between the Echo and Noah. I also loved Grace and Lila. Grace, not really because she was nice, but because of how realistic she was. There are so many people out there who’d rather save face than be seen with someone not considered ‘cool’ or ‘normal’. I loved Lila because she was that friend who stuck with Echo through thick and thin, and it really added to Echo’s strength throughout the novel. Noah’s friends Isaiah and Beth were a lot of fun too, but Beth was a little irrational at times, though I do know people like that, so it just made her more realistic.

I honestly believe the characters were the strongest part of McGarry’s book. Though the plot’s important, a book’s just not a book if the characters never come to life.

I don’t know what it was about this book that caught me, but once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. I say that for a lot of books, but I felt like bad that I couldn’t keep reading. Even at the end I was hoping for more.

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.19/5

I read the various handpainted plaques hanging on the wall so I could focus on anything that wasn’t her.
Failure is your only enemy. The only way up is to never look down. We succeed because we believe. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Okay—so that last one didn’t make the wall of sayings, but I would have found it amusing.

The last guidance counselor had major OCD issues. Everything in the office perfectly placed. I used to move his plaques just to mess with him. There’d be no such entertainment with Mrs. Collins. Her desk was a mess. I could bury a body in here and no one would ever find it.

“‘Sup, man,” said Rico Vega, joining me in the back of Spanish class.
“‘Sup,” I answered. “How can they let you take Spanish when that’s what you speak half the damn time?”
“Why they let a bunch of gueros take English? You gringos gotta be stupid if you ain’t got it down in eighteen years.”
-Rico and Noah

“… I added a fucked-up thought to another fucked-up thought and I created a pile of shit.”

“Are you ready to take the ACT on Saturday?” my father asked.
Did chickens enjoy being put on trucks labeled KFC? “Sure.”
-Echo and her father

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