Pushing the Limits

FeaturedHot
 
4.4 (5)
 
4.5 (26)
8755 12

User reviews

26 reviews
 
62%
 
31%
 
8%
2 stars
 
0%
1 star
 
0%
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot
 
4.6(26)
Characters
 
4.5(26)
Writing Style
 
4.5(26)
Already have an account? or Create an account
Back to Listing
27 results - showing 11 - 20
1 2 3
Ordering
A gripping love story
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Pushing the Limits is a gripping love story and such an incredible read! I fell in love with Echo and Noah.This book had me feeling so many different emotions.I could not put this book down and after I finished reading this book I wanted to read it again.I would absolutely recommend this book.

I know my review is not very long and not much to it but I didn't want to give to much away and take away from the story If decided to read it.
Good Points
Echo went from being popular and dating the captain of the basketball team to being called a freak.Noah is this amazingly hot loner who unexpectedly comes into her life. Echo and Noah have secrets they do not want anyone to know and they both have had devastating things happen to them in their lives. While trying to work through the problems in their life, they start to have feeling for each other. Could two people who seem so wrong for each other wind up being so right? Will they be able to trust each other completely or will their secrets get in the way.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Unapologetically Honest & Unflinching
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
If there's one thing Pushing the Limits has in spades - and there are definitely several things I could mention - it's palpable chemistry. There were several steamy moments between Noah and Echo that had me putting the book down in an attempt to calm my breathing, as another one of their sexual tension filled exchanges left me breathless. Heartbreakingly raw and powerful, Pushing the Limits held nothing back as it explored the damaged lives of two broken individuals.

Told in alternating PoVs, we get to see things from both Noah and Echo's perspectives. Noah is so enticing, it almost hurt to read about him from Echo's PoV.

"My insides had melted when Noah produced his wicked grin and gazed at me like I was naked. Luke used to give me butterflies. Noah spawned mutant pterodactyls."

"I met his dark brown eyes. His fingers skimmed the back of my hand. The sensation tickled like a spring breeze yet hit me like a wave rushing from the ocean."

I could keep quoting sections from Pushing the Limits that had my heart beating faster, or my toes curling in shocked pleasure, but that wouldn't be much of a review! I loved Noah for his heart. His concern for his younger brothers, the angst his separation from them caused, and his unrelenting pursuit to gain custody had my heart in a perpetual state of heartache for his situation. He was constantly saying how Echo deserved someone better, but I have a hard time picturing someone who could have loved her better. Genuinely unbothered by her scars - both physical and emotional - Noah was the rock Echo deserved; he was the stable presence her unstable mind needed.

Echo was just as heartbreaking, with the fear of turning out like her mother constantly looming. Her need for acceptance, for things to go back to normal, was something I could relate to - who doesn't want things to stay the same? For friends to stay as friends? Her pain was a constant, always showing even behind her smiles, which made her moments of discovery so much more heart-wrenching as it only added to that pain. Fortunately, she had Noah's understanding.

"It doesn't get better," I said. "The pain. The wounds scab over and you don't always feel like a knife is slashing through you. But when you least expect it, the pain flashes to remind you you'll never be the same."

Together, Noah and Echo were a force to be reckoned with. They brought out the best of each other, even during their rockier moments. And they had some rocky moments.

"The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see - the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life."

But they also worked as characters. Echo is a shining example of a heroine who is ok with not being ready for sex - she listened to her body's hesitancy and refused to succumb to the pressures of satisfying her (ex) boyfriends' needs - even if it might have given her that semblance of normalcy she so desperately craved. And Noah is the perfect example on how to write a teenage guy - his thoughts were constantly about Echo's cleavage or how she might look naked, and how he wanted nothing more than to have his way with her - but he was also respectful about her desire to wait, since he valued her for more than the physical pleasure she could provide him with. He never stopped wanting sex, especially from Echo, but he never once pressured her into anything she didn't say she was ready for.

Laid out bare, Pushing the Limits is a heartbreakingly raw look into what it means to make peace with those who have hurt you, with those who seemingly abandoned you in your weakest hour. Unapologetically honest and unflinching in the face of tough subjects - mental illness, death, abuse, love - Pushing the Limits has left me struggling to find the words to properly explain its beauty.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Amazing Contemporary Read
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Oh my God, Pushing the Limits was AMAZING! I'd seen it on the Harlequin Teen Facebook and had decided that it was about time I read it. I picked up the book and couldn't put it down! Echo and Noah are depicted amazingly and the plot weaves so much, nothing is predictable.

The main characters are Echo and Noah. They each face their own personal battles while trying to fight for each other as well. Things work out a little to perfectly to be relatable to real life, but sometimes miracles happen. It's very interesting hearing and learning about their backstories. Often, characters lives are very-near perfect and they just don't realize it. Here, the characters lives aren't perfect, but they make the best of what they have and are stronger than many other book characters.

I adored this book. Each night, I couldn't put it down. I wouldn't have if my parents hadn't made me go to bed at 11 o'clock. I guess I have Katie McGarry to thank for so many sleepy days afterwords. It was worth it though. This book completely deserves five stars.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
A fantastic page-turner you'll want to read again & again
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
OMG! Where do I even begin to express my love for this book?! Epically awesome, brillant writing, intriguing characters, and a unique plot – Katie McGarry shines in this debut novel. I swear, after I finished reading this, I immediately wanted to re-read it right away, and that almost NEVER happens! I was hooked from the very first page and couldn’t put this down until I was done. Pushing the Limits might just be the best book I’ve read this year so far.

Things start off very normal, two teens in high school who are forced to cross paths and share lives, although it also begins with a mystery that piques your interest and drives the whole story until the very end. Still you don’t think it’s going to be as deep and emotional as it is until you start reading more and you see just how intense this story is. Echo’s story is definitely unique and tragic, and I love that Katie made her forget most of it, having to figure out what happened to her throughout this book, because it connects the reader to the character, as if they’re both experiencing this for the first time.

And the characters?! I loved them all, even the ones I hated! Echo is such an amazing character, confused and troubled, yet strong and determined. She’s had to deal with some pretty crazy stuff in her life and those scars on her arms – I don’t know how I would be able to handle it. Plus, I love how unique her name is! Oh, and Noah?! Oh boy, don’t even get me started on how much I swooned for that boy. He’s a bad boy alright – ridiculously handsome, charming, and definitely knows all the right moves. He’s also sweet and caring, and has a crazy past of his own that is so touching, you can’t help but want to hug the guy! Besides them, my favorite character would have to be Mrs. Collins, their guidance counselor/psychiatrist. She is so hilarious, especially with a car, and is such a genuinely a nice person.

There was seriously never a dull moment in this book and I read and devoured every line, every word in this book.

Completely mesmerizing and unforgettable! If there’s one book you’ll want to read this year, it’s Pushing the Limits.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
In turns hilarious and heartbreaking. I may now have to admit I like contemporary.
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Okay, the synopsis sounds hokey. Maybe you don’t think so, but I do. Bad boy reaches out to the popular girl so that she can learn to love again? Um, no. Truth be told, I’m not exactly sure why I requested this book, because I think the synopsis sounds hokey. But I’m glad I overcame that (for whatever reason), because it is not hokey.

From the first page, a counseling session between Echo, her father and stepmother, and her therapist, Mrs. Collins (who I LOVE, by the way), I was completely engrossed in this story. Echo is a complex and well-developed character, and we find out right from the beginning that she suffers from traumatic memory loss, that she deals with tremendous grief over the death of her brother, that she has all sorts of authority issues and trust issues, and that she’s smart. And unlike a lot of books that claim the main character is smart but the character never actually talks or thinks or acts like a smart person, Echo actually thinks intelligently. She’s logical. She’s quick. She’s witty. She made me like her, despite her myriad of issues and struggles.

Then you meet Noah, another case of Mrs. Collins. Noah has been in the foster system ever since his parents died in a fire after his freshman year of high school. Since then, he’s been labeled a “bad influence” and cut off from his young brothers. And while Noah is also a smart cookie, he reacts understandably — he decides to become the bad influence everyone thinks him to be, without really thinking through the consequences. As a reader, I could see that he wasn’t really doing himself any favors there, but Katie McGarry does a fantastic job getting inside Noah’s head so you can really understand how he became the way he is.

Partially through the interference of Mrs. Collins, Echo and Noah wind up thrown together, and although they aren’t each others’ biggest fans at first, they slowly grow to see all that they have in common, and ultimately get together (which I don’t consider a spoiler, since it’s on the cover).

However, unlike many other contemporary teen romances, the romance in Pushing the Limits is not the central focus of the book (Echo and Noah actually get together around the 50% point). Although my emotions were pulled every which way by the romance, the main focus is trying to get Echo and Noah to both cope with the trauma in their lives and move past it. Echo needs to remember what happened on that night two years ago when her mother senselessly attacked her. Noah has to come to terms with how he fits into the lives of his brothers, who he is only allowed to see rarely, and how to determine what is best for them. Both stories tackle difficult subject matter admirably (Noah’s scenes with his brothers made me cry on more than one occasion), and both resolved in a satisfying and realistic manner.

There’s a lot of secondary characters in the book, and while none are developed as thoroughly as Echo and Noah, they all had their own voices and personalities, and I loved reading about how the different relationships worked. My favorites were Noah’s foster brother Isaiah, and the aforementioned Mrs. Collins, who Katie McGarry somehow made me love even while viewing her through the eyes of Echo and Noah, neither of whom really liked her.

The narrative uses the alternating POVs of both Echo and Noah, and each had their own distinct voice. They thought completely differently, and even if their names were never mentioned in the narrative, I would have been able to follow who was speaking when. I thought it was a great use of dual POV, and I was fully invested in both characters.

There were times when some of the dialogue felt a bit forced, or some of the descriptions were a bit unrealistic. For example, according to Noah, Echo smells like hot cinnamon rolls all the time, and tastes like warm sugar. I get that maybe she’s really into the “Warm Vanilla Sugar” scent at Bath & Body Works (because seriously, it smells so good), but unless she’s constantly licking frosting (which she isn’t), I’m not sure how that scent is translating to taste for him.

And then there was Noah constantly referring to Echo as “my siren.” I get that he thought she was irresistible, but I kind of doubt a tattooed, stoner “bad boy” would actually think the words “my siren” every time he sees this girl. They’re minor things, but they took me out of the story just a tad.

That aside, I still really enjoyed this book. I didn’t intend to devour it the way I did, but I couldn’t stop reading. I only got 4 hours of sleep the night I finished it because my bedtime came and went and I couldn’t put the book down. If you’re a fan of contemporary romances that tackle some serious issues, I highly recommend Pushing the Limits.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Truly Deserving of the Hype
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Pushing the Limits is another one of those books that has been hyped like whoa. Odds are you've heard of it, and you've seen rave reviews full of swooning and OMGs. Having finished, I can tell you that these responses are entirely valid and deserved. While not a completely perfect novel, I simply adored it from beginning to end and know that I will definitely be making friends read it and rereading it myself through the years.

On a very simple level, Pushing the Limits could be dismissed as a romance about a popular, well-behaved girl and the foster kid bad boy against all odds and the opinions of classmates. However, that would ignore all of the things that make this novel exceptional. Their family issues and scars make Echo and Noah much more interesting characters and makes their relationship so much sweeter.

Echo's name is a bit ridiculous, a flight of fancy by an artistic mother obsessed with Greek mythology. Her name comes from a Greek myth in which the jealous Hera curses a pretty nymph with the inability to do anything but repeat the words of others, eventually fading into just an echo as we know it. This name suits Echo perfectly. She says and does what others want her to, especially her controlling father. Echo has classic daddy issues and does what he says to keep him happy: she joins the right clubs, dates the guy he approves of, and gives up her passion for art in exchange for business because he thought that was better.

Echo used to have the perfect, middle class life, except for her manic depressive mother. Pretty, popular and dating one of the coolest guys in school, Echo had friends, good grades and serious artistic talent. Her life fell completely to pieces after her beloved brother, Aires, who joined the marines, dies. At the beginning of Pushing the Limits, Echo is mentally and physically scarred, gossiped about constantly and abandoned by one of her best friends, Grace. Although her relationship with Grace was a fairly minor plot point, I think it added a lot of validity to Echo's high school experience.

Echo is forced into yet more therapy with a guidance counselor/social worker at school, as part of which she will tutor Noah, who needs to get his grades up. This way she can earn money to fix up her brother's '65 Vette. Noah, like Echo, is mentally and physically scarred. His parents perished in a tragic house fire, leaving him to the 'mercies' of the foster care system. Even worse, he is kept separate from his younger brothers, Jacob and Tyler, after he punches his first stepfather, unable to watch the man abuse his own son anymore.

Noah is, on the surface, the typical bad boy. He smokes pot, skips class, has tattoos, has one night stands with whatever girls he can get his hands on, and gets into fights. He's also sexy as hell and incredibly smart. Echo and Noah do not get along at first. Well, actually, he was totally willing to get *ahem* on board the Echo train at any point, but she hated his attitude and the rude things he said to her. Only as he came to know her back story and to realize that Echo is not the spoiled brat he took her for, does Noah really begin to care for. The same goes for Echo, as she learns that Noah has a reason for being the way he is.

I rooted for them wholeheartedly and definitely felt the pterodactyl butterflies alongside Echo at several points. Echo and Noah fit each other perfectly, able to understand one another's pain and emotions better than anyone else could. Noah is even so awesome that he was able to use the phrase 'make love' and make it sound sexy as hell, rather than contrived and disgustingly sappy. However, my main issue with the book was also bound up in this. They definitely ventured a bit too far into the melodrama at times, and there were some phrases that made me roll my eyes heartily, like this one: "Noah didn't walk, he stalked and I loved the mischievous glint in his eye when he stalked me." Yikes. I know what McGarry is trying to do there, but I'm really creeped out by any romantic reference to stalking; it's not stalking if you WANT him following you and he's not going to hurt you. Plus, I really hate the term of endearment 'baby' and Noah says it CONSTANTLY. Why couldn't he just call her Siren? I thought that one was cute.

McGarry's storytelling works perfectly. Told alternatingly from the perspectives of Echo and Noah, the story is much stronger than I think it would have been in third person or from just one perspective. Had I not had a view into his head, I am pretty sure I would have hated Noah for half the book, with his rude comments and behavior. Being able to see the thoughts behind his actions was immensely helpful. This also helped overcome some of the cheesily romantic dialog, because you then would get a view of the character thinking 'what did I just do?' and mentally facepalming.

I highly recommend Pushing the Limits to anyone who likes darker contemporaries. I also have to mention that this novel is a perfect readalike for fellow Apocalypsie novel Something Like Normal; these novels are clearly best friends, just like Travis and Aires totally would have been.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Solid Romance
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins are not meant to be together. She used to be part of the in-crowd and still has a slim chance of returning to popular status, and he's just some messed up foster kid who has issues with going from girl to girl. Or so it seems. But when Echo ends up tutoring Noah, they learn that there is quite a bit about each other that they never would have guessed. As they unravel each others' stories, they can't help but start to feel an attraction toward each other, one that in undeniable.

This is a great romance story between two characters who are both going through some really tough times in their lives. It might make you squeal with joy. It's also deeper than a fluffy-fluff romance, too, since the characters have so much going on in their personal lives. Neither Echo nor Noah has it easy, but having each other to lean on and talk to does make it easier for them. If you like passionate romances, this is a pretty passion-filled kind of story.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Deals with serious topics, but doesn't dwell on them! YA Contemp done right!
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Pushing the Limits is told in first person point-of-view alternating between our heroine, Echo Emerson, and our hero, Noah Hutchins. Echo used to be one of the “it” girls; she had it all: popularity, jock boyfriend, and good looks. Literally overnight, everything changes for her. She’s now on the outside looking in, and the worst part is she doesn’t even have the memory to go with the evening that turned her life upside down, only horrendous scars on her arms that become the purpose of everyone’s gossip and label her a “freak.” Somewhere in the dark recesses of her mind is the secret to what happened that night, and Echo will do anything to uncover the mystery.

As an observer, Noah Hutchins appears to be your stereotypical girl-using badboy who partakes in alcohol and drugs to cover up the truths he wants to bury himself in. However, in actuality, he’s the good guy that makes bad decisions based on the hard path he’s been set on. His parents were killed in a fire that he feels partly responsible for and that led to him being placed in the foster care system. Knowing firsthand that the system used to protect you isn’t safe at all, he’ll stop at nothing to get his two younger brothers back into his custody after graduation.

Our two main characters know of each other, but they don’t really know one another at all. Being that they were never a part of the same social circle, they both had preconceived notions about the other, but it doesn’t take long for them to form new ideas. Now with them both seeing the same counselor at school, they’re pushed together in every way possible, making it hard to ignore the growing attraction between them. In the end though, they’re both driven by their ultimate goals and hatch a plan to aid each other in obtaining the information they need most to get their lives back on course.

Personally, I believe Katie McGarry delivered a masterful tale of former popular chick meets brooding, girl-using bad boy. There were so many opportunities for the author to give in to this clichéd, overused and often predictable plot device, but it seemed almost reinvented in this novel. She allowed each of the characters to speak for themselves, interweaving the dual POV’s flawlessly, and allowing us to enter the head-space of these emotionally driven teenagers. Not only did she do this seamlessly, but each character and their narration felt authentic. Echo was presented as this broken girl just searching for a sense of normal in a sea of uncertainty. Like most teenagers, she wanted the acceptance of her peers, but most importantly, the love of her father. Noah often came across as crude, but to me, I felt like I was reading exactly how a real guy would think, not how a girl- the author- thinks a guy would think. This made his character more believable, and I appreciated that aspect. But it was the layers that you discovered in each character along the way that made them so multi-faceted for me. Being able to experience their growth throughout the story as they transformed into young adults made this an even better read.
Though the relationship seemed to progress relatively quick, how they interacted with one another never came across as contrived.

Plus, their chemistry was amazing, and I savored each delicious scene they had together. The closer they got to one another, the more I rooted for them and crossed my fingers for steamier scenes because… well, yummmm….

McGarry has an undeniable way of drawing you in to this heart-wrenching tale, and I experienced the full range of emotions throughout this roller coaster ride of a book because of the extremely raw and grittiness of the story-line. It deals with several deep issues that broke my heart while infusing it with hope all at once. With every page, she managed to pull me further and further into this world and held me captive with her realistic- and often tough- approach to the struggles and harsh realities presented throughout, making my heart ache with each painful dip. The pacing of the story flowed easily and the secrets were revealed at all the right times. In the end, all the pieces clicked together like the perfect puzzle and you truly grasped why every character had behaved the way he/she did.

Verdict: I think everyone should read this story. Even though it deals with harsher topics, it’s doesn’t dwell on them. And make no mistake about it, this is definitely a kissing book. Lots of really, really great kissing in here. There was several times that I laughed out loud, and all the secondary characters are great all on their own. Well, actually, I take that back. Most are great, her dad, step-mom, and former best friend are horrible, infuriating people.

**Note** An e-ARC of this title was provided by HarlequinTEEN via Net Galley, but did not influence this review in any way.
Good Points
Great character development and excellent kissing scenes!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
heart-wrenching and hopeful
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I wasn’t too interested in Pushing the Limits, one I don’t read much contemporary fiction and two the cover kind of screams romance but I got the ARC at BEA and so much people who had read advanced copies were giving Pushing the Limits positives reviews, including one of my favourite authors so I decided to give it a shot. This novel is so much more than a romance.

Told from alternating points of view Pushing the Limits is about Echo, who ever since an attack she can’t remember that left her arm permanently scarred is trying not only to remember what happened to her so she can move on but is also trying to deal with the grief of losing her brother Aires who died overseas on deployment. It’s about Noah, who after a fire kills his parents has been shipped from one foster home to another and only wants to be reunited with his little brothers again. It’s about two people struggling with overwhelming issues trying to find hope and happiness.

Pushing the Limits was both a deep and compelling read that had me glued to the pages and desperate to find out how the story ends. Katie McGarry knows how to create realistic characters and she knows how to get me to care about them. Both Noah and Echo are the reasons I did not want to put this book down, not only did I want to find out how their individual stories pan out but I wanted to see their relationship through and to find out what would become of it. Echo is a girl who was betrayed be someone she should have been able to trust above everyone else and because of the aftermath she hides herself from the world and has become a shadow of her former self. Noah is the result of the failings of the Foster Care system, there is barely anyone he will trust and he is both hurt and angry. It took me a while to like Noah; I could sympathize with him sure but because of his reputation for doing drugs and sleeping around with girls it wasn’t until about one hundred pages in that I started liking him as a character but I eventually did and in the end he was the character that had me crying and wanting to comfort.

Pushing the Limits is not a fluffy light read but nor will it bog you down and fill you with angst. Pushing the Limits is both real and hopeful and a stand out début.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
(Updated: September 29, 2012)
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
-
HS
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
27 results - showing 11 - 20
1 2 3