Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

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.(from GoodReads)

So this book was really interesting. The two main characters, Noah and Echo, had a lot going on in their lives, least of all the romance between them. I enjoyed the novel for the most part even though there were things I didn't like.

Let's start with the good. I thought Noah's and Echo's situations were really unique and interesting to read about. Noah is in foster care because his parents died in a house fire. He has two young brothers living with a different family and his goal throughout the book is to get custody of them. Echo's story is just as tragic as Noah's: her brother is killed in Afghanistan and then your mother (who has bipolar disorder) tries to kill her. She remembers nothing about the night, except for the fact that she was left with scars on her wrists and horrible night terrors.

Echo has repressed the memories of that fateful night and will do anything to remember. Honestly, she has a lot of the details and if I were her I wouldn't want to know. I was also skeptical of how her mother's bipolar disorder was characterized. There's this perception that people who are mentally ill are also violent and it's really a small percentage of them that are. I don't know how fair it was to give the mother this disorder because it really gives bipolar disorder a bad name (not that it has a good name per se but still).

Noah is equally determined to obtain information but this time it's about his brothers. He's obsessed that their foster parents are hurting them even though there is minimal evidence to suggest that (besides them being a bit rude). He wants to raise his brothers which is admirable, but naïve. Even so, I absolutely loved how much Noah adores his brothers and I really like the way his story turned out.

Other things I didn't like: Grace, Echo's "friend." I put that in quotes because she refuses to be seen publicly with Echo because she's trying to maintain her status as a popular girl. But she'll talk to Echo in private sometimes. Echo, drop that girl like a hot potato! I also didn't like how the characters referred to being "in love" just as "in." I'm not kidding, Echo at one point said "I'm not 'in' with him." What does that even mean?!

Besides that, I really did like the ending because you could see Noah and Echo becoming stronger people. Echo is even able to repair the broken relationship she has with her father and stepmother. The book was easy to read and I sped through the pages. Fans of Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry will really like Pushing the Limits.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: sent copy by publisher.

2012/Harlequin Teen/392 pages.

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