Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
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 :-(