Noah is the lost boy, the stoner kid with an attitude and a trail of scored girls behind him. Pushing away the feelings of grief for his dead-three-years-before parents, he wants to find a way to reunite what’s left of his family. Echo is the school freak, the girl who attracts all sorts of rumors for the scars she keeps hidden beneath the long sleeves of her shirts and with a past that screams complicated. Bad boy bounced around from foster home to home meets the girl with family pressures. They share the long-standing grief that only people who have lost know.
I fell for Noah and Echo just about instantly. Concentration swapped between dual perspectives, two distinct voices, they quickly dug their way into my emotions, until I became so wrapped up in them, so… almost protective and on guard. I couldn’t handle anyone else in their lives disappointing them, hurting them with lies or the truth. It didn’t matter how many well-meaning people came and went into their lives—the result was the same: hurt. And I wanted to rip every single person responsible apart. Noah and Echo have to hurt and heal and grow up before they’re totally ready, one painful step at a time, uncovering things about themselves and others that wouldn’t exactly be considered positive. There’s so much anguish and despair here.
When the two plow into each other’s lives? I. COULDN’T. GET. ENOUGH. Noah is the boy who does one night stands, not long term relationships, zero kinds of attachments. And Echo is sure that no one will ever love her, not with the ghastly signs of mutilation running up and down her arms. Both of them yearn to be loved, unconsciously waiting for this dazzling opportunity to be with someone, when given the chance, who will finally put them first. My heart turned over in my chest with each hungry look, heavenly kiss, beautifully insightful conversation.
Echo and Noah have always known of each other. And have been, I think, subconsciously wary. What starts out as stupid teasing, Noah is intrigued. Emma wants to forget he ever opened his mouth. Throw the two together for tutoring? We’ve got taunting looks, mean teasing, and casual brushes of flesh all with an undercurrent of really hot sexual tension. Want someone to swoon over? Noah Hutchins is your man! Guy sure knows how to smolder, a sexy hunter to prey whose resistance is being demolished inch by steamy inch.
Between dodging ape ex-boyfriend eager to mate and having scorching encounters with a certain jacket-lending, torturously tempting possibility playing pool (how many naughty images raced through your head just then?), Echo’s love life has suddenly become way more interesting than she could’ve initially imagined. It’s really no toss-up. The boy who takes her to a war action movie following the death of her older brother in the Marines does not spell excellent boyfriend material. Good thing Echo’s a fantastic speller. First place, championship fantastic!
When Noah Hutchins does the boyfriend thing, I all but flung my undergarments to the wind. The ruthless guy with the dark good looks goes tender? He becomes all shades of attractive and desirable. He’s not just interested in kissing her and having a warm body under him on a whim. Only with Echo. Their relationship is full of plotting, laughter, pain-sharing, despair, trust, vulnerability, and love. They crease our hearts in all sorts of ways and places.
Whoa, baby, does this book bring on the problems. Would I call this an issue book? NOT AT ALL. This is a contemporary romance through and through with touches of self-discovery and coming-of-age elements. The issues serve as haunting pieces of the characters and the brunt of the force driving the compelling plot. They aren’t a message to anyone listening, necessarily. Still, both Noah and Echo deserve really big, tackle-glomp hugs. Showers of affectionate kisses and shoulder patting and more squeezing. They need love.
There’s abandonment, grief, death, growing up, separation, divorce, drugs, and all of this effects both Noah and Echo’s lives in varying degrees. They have to tackle these problems alone and together, and it wears on their relationship as well as their relationships outside of their own. They go through so much by the end of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry that there can be no question as to their climbing character growth. There’s no absolute healing or perfect ending. These issues are aspects of their lives they will have to push out and fight and accept in order to continue with their lives and be happy, which made it beautiful and achingly realistic, adult.
~Is this love?~
It most certainly is! I can say I love Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry nearly as much to equate to Special Shelf, which is pretty darn amazing. It’s heart-wrenching, and it’s deep, touching every trace of emotion we could feel for characters who become two of our greatest friends. From Echo’s trying to fill the very fragile void of memory pertaining to the scars she can’t bear on her own to Noah’s fight to be with his little brothers, my heart went through the wringer with Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, and I couldn’t pull away.
McGarry balances the ending of her novel between realistic and satisfying, leaving us with hope, love, and happiness so full and exciting it would be next to impossible to forget this story.
Looking for something similar? Try checking out Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout and/or A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger!
Originally posted at Paranormal Indulgence, 5/22/12