Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Release Date:
July 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: BEA


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.(courtesy of Goodreads)


One of the worst feelings (well, worst feelings on the scale of stubbed toe not house burning down) is when all your friends love a book and you're left feeling "meh." That sums up Pushing The Limits for me. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but it didn't set my heart a flutter like it did everyone else.

It's a case of "it's not you, it's me." The book falls into the kinda but not exactly edgy category alongside Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry. This is a genre I enjoy reading but often end up rolling my eyes at because the badness factor feels a little forced. Lots of people adore this type of book. Personal preference. Also, I read this book during a vacation, when my non-reading activities were more fun than this book, so I wasn't as interested as I might have been if I'd read it at a normal time.

The good things. The author did a wonderful job of creating two characters I really liked. Noah and Echo (awesome name) are both moody and touchy. Noah in particular does and says a lot of really jerky things. It would be easy to write these characters off, but seeing the world through each person's eyes, their inner goodness shines through. I rooted for both of them to make the right choices and the forces to be aligned in their favor.

Actually, all the characters are full fledged people. Characters like Beth, Isaac, Echo's dad and her stepmom Ashley start out seeming cardboard mean or stupid or uncaring. But we slowly realize they are people who've had bad things happen to them in their lives and may not know the best way to handle them - not that they're inherently bad. Mrs Collins the guidance counselor is a wonderful positive character. Most adults try to mold Echo and Noah to their frame of mind. Mrs Collins tries to understand them and help them help themselves to be better instead of forcing them.

The romance between Noah and Echo is wonderful. Not just because it's hot. It definitely is. What I liked even more was the acceptance and trust between them that gradually developed. There was instant chemistry but not instant love between these two troubled characters. Their instincts are to help the other person before helping themselves. I especially loved how Noah didn't even blink at Echo's scars and encouraged her not to be ashamed. They make each other better people.

Back to my problems with the book. While the plot was exciting, it never felt real. This was more true for Noah's story. We learn that Noah had a sheltered, happy childhood with his parents until they died three years before, sending him off to foster care hell. I found it a little hard to believe that he could transform into a completely different person in only three years, becoming a total bad boy. I suppose I can see how it could happen, but it felt forced. My various frustrations with the plot slowed the book down. I kept putting it down and picking up other things. I had to assign myself pages to read. I liked it once I got going but I didn't wake up in the morning excited to open the book again.

Since I seem to be the only person who doesn't love this book, I would still recommend you read it. I'd love to hear from other people who weren't huge fans of it either. I sure wish I was :-(

Rating: 3 / 5


  1. I feel that way when it seems like I'm the only person not loving a particular book. I've not read this book yet but it's on my want list. Thanks for the honest review.
    -Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

  2. Aw no! That's a shame you didn't enjoy it as much as others hyped it up to be. That would be including me unfortunately. I loved this book! The parents infuriated me to no end. But I just loved the troubled romance that has a happy ending. Noah, developed and grew in this book that I have never seen in a novel before. And tbh I have just finished reading a book that seems like an influence of this novel yet somewhat has more emotional turmoil. :( Sorry I'm rambling!

    But I guess I know where your coming from with the plot of the book, it did seem that way to me, but the characters over compensated for that I guess in my opinion! :-) Thank for a brilliant Review though, Alison.

  3. Oh I am so sorry you didn't love this book as much as I did! And, I think you know how much I absofreaking loooooved this book!!!! I never had a problem with believing how Noah changed. He was young when all this happened, and there was all this anger inside of him. From loosing his parents and loosing his brothers. Then being in this horrible foster families? Of course he changed! Poor Noah!

    Still, I hope you'll get the next book another try!

  4. Aw, sorry this wasn't a home run for you but at least you still liked it! I have a hard time when a book's been so loved and hyped and then I read it and get the meh vibe. As for Noah, I got more of an impression that his "change" was a facade, something he hid behind because he couldn't deal with everything that happened to him in the past few years. *shrugs*

  5. I just reviewed this book too! I also gave it 3 stars. And no, you are not the only one who didn't love it :-(

    I found it to be full of cliches but I liked the powerful emotions and feelings of the book. I think that those who find it wonderful are 20 years old and younger :-)

  6. I wasn't a big fan of it either-there was so much angst and drama (could there have been more issues included?) and I tend to prefer more comedic romances. You're not the only one!

  7. You didn't like this book! Too bad, I heart it soo much. I really loved the plot and having to face those hardships. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Ahhh I can't decide whether to read this book or not! Thanks for sharing your review, think I might put it on the maybes pile for now!

  9. Funny thing is I seemed to be the only one who absolutely detested "Perfect Chemistry" because there was nothing realistic about it. I was a bit hesitant of reading "PL" because of similar praise but I ended up liking this one more because I thought the characters came alive and Noah's plight for his brothers felt real to me.

    The thing is that you're not going to like every book no matter how popular it is. It's just the way it goes. I know I had my share this year with some of my reads.

  10. ok, I think you would enjoy Crash by Nicole Williams, because that book SERIOUSLY has a bad boy. Not the supposed bad boy who just turns out to be misunderstood, no he is just freaking scary and dangerous. Totally falls in the edgy category. Ok back to pushing the limits. I haven't read this story yet but I really hope I get to it soon and that I believe in the plot.

    great review

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  11. I don't know, I kind of feel like a tragic event like losing your parents could easily shape you into a different person quickly, especially during teenage years when everything is in flux constantly anyway, so his change to bad boy didn't seem all that unusual for me. That being said though, reading is personal to everyone, and if it didn't work for you, it didn't work for you!

    I was totally the person that didn't like Throne of Glass when everyone else seemed to just rave about it. I felt guilty for not loving it, but sometimes books just don't work for you no matter how much you try to love them:) Sorry this was that book in part for you Alison!

  12. I agree with your negatives, but despite them, I still really enjoyed this book. Much more than the Perfect Chemistry books. Great review!

  13. No, no you're not the only person who wasn't a massive fan of this book!
    Like you, I liked this book but I wasn't like 'Wooo, this just made my life!' and not like 'WHY DID I READ THIS?'.
    For me it was just a little exaggerated and unbelievable at times. The moodiness of the characters got to me too. I've seen a few people have the same reaction so don't worry, you're not the only one! At least you enjoyed some aspects :)

  14. I did love Pushing the Limits but I read it long ago before there were any reviews. Sometimes I think that helps. Had I read all the glowing reviews first I'm pretty sure I would have not liked it as much.

    This happens to me ALL the time. I never like what everyone else does so I understand how you feel.

    One thing that annoyed me though was when he kept calling her his siren or whatever it was. (I read it awhile ago so I don't recall) Sometimes the dialogue was a bit corny.

  15. I've seen plenty of people that didn't care for this one that much so you're not alone.

  16. La la la la. I can't read this. I am afraid of spoilers if there are any. I am actually about half way through the book and as much as I was enjoying it, I kept looking at my nightstand thinking about what other books I have to read. So there you have it I guess. It has not been able to hold my interest entirely and I have finished two other books since I started reading this one. I suppose I'll finish it in the near future, but there are more enticing books to read so...

  17. Gah, I go back and forth on this book like crazy! The majority of reviews seem to be positive, but there have been a few that I've read, yours included now, that seem to indicate drama and such felt a bit forced. And I am worried that I may fall into that latter group because I am just not huge on contemporaries. I guess I may just have to see for myself sometime! I really do hope I love it like the majority seems to.

  18. I didn't love it either. It was too stereotypical for me and it felt like every issue imaginable was crammed into the story. I wasn't feeling it or the characters, but I somehow was absorbed enough to finished it!


I love comments. I appreciate every one! Thank you in advance.

This blog is now an award free zone. I just don't have time to pass on the awards as they deserve.