Pushing the Limits

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16 reviews with 5 stars
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8%
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4.5
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4.6(26)
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4.5(26)
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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.
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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.
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Deals with honest, serious topics but in an amazing way
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
This is an amazing book about the struggle of two troubled teens trying to put the shattered pieces of their life together and finding true love on the way.

Okay, the main characters have truly messed up lives.

Echo has horrible scars, a mentally ill mother, a control freak father and a dead older brother. Her life is far from perfect. Noah also was an amazing character. His parents are dead and he's not allowed to live with his brothers. Everyone labels him a bad boy, but he isn't on the inside. No one sees the depth of pain and tragedy that he's in.

Both of them are angry with their lives. The book is so well written it's like their worries and problems are yours.

The romance in this book is not a definite love-at-first-sight thing. It builds up really slowly, and unlike lots of other YA contemporaries, it's not the focus of the book. Sure, they end up together, but the book is really about them coming to terms with their lives and helping each other through the difficulties.

The issues that this book deals with are very serious. Abuse. Neglect. Truth. Lies. Love. The bond between family. This is not a light-hearted pick me up. It's very deep and emotional.

A few little things just bugged me slightly about the book. For example, Echo's reliance on her "popular" friends, and her need for approval, although I guess, this is high school. It's understandable. I also wish there'd been an epilogue or something. The ending was kind of happy-for-now, but I think I would have liked an epilogue, maybe like 5 years into the future, so we could see what happened to them, because the next book isn't about Echo and Noah.

Apart from those things, this was an amazing book that was written perfectly. I definitely recommend it, even if you're not usually a fan of contemporaries.
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I'd give it a hundred stars if I could!
(Updated: January 05, 2013)
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I usually never read contemporary, so this is me going out of my comfort zone. I've seen many (many) rave reviews on this book and when Harlequin Teen sent a copy to me, I just had to give it a try. Who knew I'd fall in love with it so quickly?
Okay, that last line wasn't entirely true.
I did love it, but it took me a while to realized that I did.
Pushing the Limits is definitely a 'wow' book. It's got the forbidden romance, the nail-biting suspense, the heart-stopping moment where everything finally pieces together. It also had it's frustrating moments where I just wanted to skip a couple of pages because either one of the characters was acting really unbearable or I just wanted to get to the good part.
This is one of those books that takes patience... lot's of it.

The whole book is written dual POV's (Echo's and Noah's).
Echo's character is really super troubled. She's a narrator you can't trust (So be warned). She has a twisted way of seeing things (And I don't mean that in a nasty way). The problem with her is that she believed everything her dysfunctional mother told her, and she expresses these beliefs by mouthing off a couple of times. She lost her memory of the night she got all those scars, so most of her opinions of that night in the beginning of the book are assumptions. And most of the book revolves around the mystery of what really did happen that night.
Echo is a very realistic character, especially for a troubled teen. She's indecisive, stubborn, unbearable at times, hormonal, emotional, and insecure. But her character develops impressively throughout the book. I ended up loving her like a sister.
Noah, on the other hand, is... well, a handful. He's hot. Like super, incredibly, bad-boy with tattoos HOT! He's funny (hilarious!), really really sweet, and did I mention he was hot? He's awesome, I loved him!
He's definitely, 100%, positively swoon-worthy all the way.
He's ten times more rational than Echo is... even though he has a couple of mind slip-ups here and there.
He fights for what he loves, and he knows that sometimes letting go is the best thing to do.
I just... wow... he left me breathless. He made me want to cry.
His relationship with Echo wasn't forced. It wasn't one of those insta-love things, it slowly progressed over time and it was perfect. McGarry added the perfect amount of drama and thrill to spice things up.
I'd give them the 'best couple of the year' award.

The story itself is beautiful. It's about how two broken people find a way around their problems and they fall in love while they do. Echo wants to remember what happened that night she got those ugly scars.
Noah just wants his brothers back.
They both want normal.
Even though this is a contemporary novel, McGarry seriously knows how to work magic in her words. I could not put this down. At. All. It's not easy to not think about this book, and it'll be even harder to forget. I'll probably be rereading it soon just to watch Noah and Echo fall in love all over again.
I don't even know what to say anymore. This is a MUST READ and I'm really really really happy that Harlequin Teen sent me a copy or else I'd never have read this and I would never have realized what an amazing author Katie McGarry is and I would have never read any of her books.
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Pushing the Limits
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
This book blew my mind. So good.
Good Points
I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book, and it totally lived up to all of the hype. At first, I was not sure I wanted to read it. I am usually not into the bad boy thing, but I am so glad I went ahead and read it. This book was so good. This book deals with a lot of really tough issues. Usually I have a hard time reading books like that, but I could not stop reading this one. It was written in the perfect way, and it completely drew me in. They both had to make some really tough choices. This was such an emotional book! I loved the romance between Noah and Echo. As much as they tried to fight it, it was still there. I really liked that we got to see the soft side of Noah when it came to Echo. It showed that he was not just a crazy bad boy, and I appreciated that. Everyone has a soft side.
This book broke my heart at times. At other times, it made my heart very happy. I don't know what else to say about this book except it was amazing and I totally recommend reading it.
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amazing!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Between Echo and Noah you can tell who has the worst problems. Echo was once a popular girl but after an incident alone with her mother left her with gruesome scars on her arms and no memory of the night, Echo can't be the girl she once was. Noah's parents died in a fire and after being bounced from one foster home to another, his only thoughts are getting custody of his two young brothers when he comes of age. Even with both of their problems can the two form a bond?
This was an amazing story that has twists that will blow your mind.
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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.
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The MUST read contemporary of the year!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I have to say, Katie McGarry has a way with words, she sent me through an emotional roller coaster right along with her characters... and her words, Echo and Noah's love story, has left a mark on my heart.

Echo and Noah have more in common than they think - they both used to lead the perfect teen life: popular, gorgeous, outgoing, smart and with promising futures. Until separate tragedies happen to both that leaves them physically and emotionally scarred forever. When Echo and Noah meet they were set on the fact that they would lead very different and lonely lives from what was expected. And that they would never have anything in common, least of all, get along - how will they ever be able to get through their mandatory tutoring sessions?
Watching Echo and Noah let their guards down and try to trust and understand each other is not easy. Their stories and hurts run deep. The connection between the two runs even deeper. This is not your typical love story. But it is definitely one with no regrets, full of hope and wonder.

And do not underestimate any of the secondary characters! Each and every one of them will leave their mark on you too. They each have a story to tell, and Katie McGarry is able to show you just enough to let you know their stories to sympathize with them... or not.

Katie McGarry's writing is beyond mesmerizing! This is THE contemporary of the year!

And I have to add - in the back of the (ARC) book, the author shares a playlist for Pushing the Limits. All of the songs listed are wonderful and include music by Patty Smyth, Train and Kings of Leon...
One of my most favorite songs of all time: Crash Into Me by The Dave Matthews Band is listed!!! And this is the song that she listened to every time she had to write a kiss scene for Echo and Noah :)
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Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
This book was an emotional roller coaster. I cried my eyes out at some points and I smiled like an idiot at some points. But everything was so worth it.
Noah and Echo (I loved her name :] ) couldn't be more different. But through all their differences and the drama that is evident in their lives, they look at their similarities and fall for each other... And they fall hard.
Both Echo and Noah are very strong characters. The story went back and forth between their point of views which made it easier to connect with both characters. This made every discovery they made about their past and each other even more intense.
As for their romance, it felt real and not rushed. It wasn't the insta-love that normally creep up in YA novels and I really enjoyed that. I also loved the fact that McGarry didn't have to make any other part in the story suffer to help make their love work. Everything was well put together and well balanced.
Everyone should add this stunning debut by Katie McGarry to the TBR pile. She definitely does NOT disappoint.
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The hype doesn't lie!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Where do I start? Seriously, Pushing The Limits is everything I want in a book. Great characters, solid plotting, and the type of story that makes you want to cry and smile in equal measures. This is contemporary writing at its finest. No mermaids, no werewolves. They aren't necessary here. All the reader has are Echo, Noah and their stories, and you know what? It's perfection.

I truly don't believe that there will ever be two characters that I will love so wholeheartedly as I love Echo and Noah. Both broken in their own ways, these two fit together perfectly. Echo Emerson is a shell of the girl she once was. The death of her brother, the loss of her mother, and the inability to remember how she got her terrible scars, all eat at her on a daily basis. Meanwhile Noah Hutchins is lost in his own world. Fighting the foster care system and trying his best not to get close to anyone. If there's one thing Noah knows, it's that getting close to someone means you can get hurt.

Then, they meet. Did I mention the word perfection? There's no insta-love here. Just a slow progression of two people who go from being wary of one another, to slowly trusting one another, and finally to having that pure feeling of contentment every time they're together. Echo and Noah have the type of romance that makes you sniffle and giggle in the same sentence. I'll be the first to admit that I have a massive crush on Noah Hutchins. Don't let his bad boy persona fool you. There's a great guy under there. So great in fact, that he's my new favorite male character. I dare you not to swoon.

What is really impressive about Pushing The Limits though is how well it deals with so many different issues all at the same time. Echo and Noah may be facing two very different backgrounds, but their problems are deep. Problems that range from high school issues, to the foster care system. Their lives are the type of gritty reality that a lot of teens face, and most people don't want to acknowledge. Life for these two is far from normal. It's this that teaches them that sometimes, just sometimes, you have to make your own normal.

There really aren't enough words in the world to describe my feelings for this book. You should know that love is all I have for Katie McGarry and her characters, and that I am so happy that I took the time to meet Echo and Noah. I hear that there's another book coming out from one of the other character's point of view! If Pushing The Limits is any indication of the brilliance that will be within those pages, I can't wait.
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