Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pushing The Limits, Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Title: Pushing The Limits
Author: Katie McGarry (author website)
Release Date: July 25 2012 by Harlequin Teen Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:1 star2 stars3 stars4 starshalf star

A tortured bad boy, a beautiful, broken girl, and scorching hot chemistry, Katie McGarry pushes all the right buttons with Pushing the Limits, packing an emotional punch that will leave you reeling...

From Goodreads:
SO WRONG FOR EACH OTHER... AND YET SO RIGHT.

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. 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.

The Story:

Echo Emmerson used to have it all: the perfect boyfriend, the perfect friends and the perfect brother. But now her beloved brother is dead, she hasn't seen her mother in a year, and Echo's arms are covered in terrible scars. There's a gaping black hole in Echo's memory, and she knows she can't move forward with her life until she remembers the night she lost everything. Noah Hutchinson hasn't had it all in a long time. Screwed over by the foster system, Noah wants nothing more than to get out high school, and rescue his two young brothers from the same fate he suffered: a string of abusive foster parents and a broken system that's broken him.

Noah and Echo are just trying to survive, but when Mrs Collins, the erratic and quirky psychiatrist they share explodes into their lives, they may just get more than they bargained for...

The 101:

Beautiful, broken and lost, Echo, in many ways, feels like her name: a reflection of a sound, a memory of the girl she once was. And it’s a wonderful thing watching her push past her limitations, grow past her hurt and anger, and discover herself again. Noah is equally as damaged, angry, and untrusting, but is not quite the bad boy you may expect. He loves his brothers with everything he is, and at his prickliest, it’s impossible not to feel for him. As both re-learn to trust, and their secrets come unravelled, it unravels something within them, and I found it hard to resist an unravelling within me, as a reader.

Pushing the Limits isn’t about Echo and Noah discovering each other and working together to accomplish some great exciting ‘thing’ or deed, and it is certainly not a girl-and-boy meet each other and fall instantly, devastatingly in love story, either. It’s the deeper, more insular tale of two lost souls becoming whole within themselves, and being found in each other, and finding healing in themselves. There is a heartbreaking poignancy to Echo and Noah’s shared journey, and while, I pray, most readers will not have suffered the extremes this couple have, most will connect with and mourn along with them. Those who have suffered the soaring highs and devastating lows of depression, the yawning emptiness of loss, or the pain of betrayal will appreciate the delicacy with which Pushing the Limits handles these issues, and the rawness it doesn’t attempt to hide or gloss over. McGarry does not paint a simple happily-ever-after, instead showing a gradual path to forgiveness and acceptance—showing a journey, not a destination.

True loves takes hard work and compromise, and it’s a beautiful thing to see in action here. Indeed, it’s one of Pushing the Limits' most moving, affecting messages. It may not sound romantic, but when closer examined, is there anything truly more romantic than this? To love someone with everything you are, and love them so much you are willing to work and sacrifice for their happiness? This is a love story about the truth of true love. In fact, Jennifer Echols blurbed the book and puts perfectly: “McGarry details the sexy highs, the devastating lows and the real work it takes to build true love.”

But for all this talk of love and growth and healing—magnificent things—Pushing the Limits offers more: A cast of characters in shades of grey, some I loved, such as Echo and Noah’s shared counsellor, Ms Collins, and others I really wanted to hate, like Echo’s former friends. They add a depth to the world, and give the reader some perspective, showing our leads are not infallible, and not always right.

The Verdict:

Pushing the Limits is incredibly moving, packing a big emotional punch, but it’s not all weepy tear jerker moments: there’s friendship, a puzzling backstory, and a romantic chemistry so intense the book warrants one of those coffee cup warning labels: ‘CAUTION. Contents are HOT.’ A moving tale of loss, healing and love, McGarry delivers a masterful debut.

Books in This Series:

  1. Pushing The Limits (2012)
  2. Dare You To (Companion Novel) (2013)
An enormous thank you to Harlequin TEEN Australia  for providing a review copy of Pushing The Limits.

52 comments:

  1. I agree with you! I absolutely enjoyed this story, and even though there was loads of romance, PUSHING THE LIMITS wasn't about love or anything at all. It's about losing something, then finding something else back again, and this book is so filled with emotion that I enjoyed every bit of it.

    Great review, Sarah! :D

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    1. "PUSHING THE LIMITS wasn't about love or anything at all. It's about losing something, then finding something else back again, and this book is so filled with emotion that I enjoyed every bit of it."

      THIS THIS THIS! Can I steal you to write my reviews for me? EXCACTLY! Thank you! ♥

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  2. I keep hearing good stuff about this one. Thanks for the great and convincing review.

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    1. I SERIOUSLY loved it, Shane! Hope you do, too, if you get to it :)

      Delete
  3. Your review is so lovely, Sarah! I really like this line It’s the deeper, more insular tale of two lost souls becoming whole within themselves, and being found in each other, and finding healing in themselves. because it's so true. I can really tell it affected you. Also haha over the coffee label, it should.

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    1. Damn. Elena totally stole the line I was going to quote. **pouts** But seriously? They could hire you to write greeting cards with that one. Lol.

      Delete
    2. Seriously, right? I was like: OMFG. COLD SHOWER TIME O__O

      And ha! I'm sure you guys can share, right? Also... mmm... greeting card writerer. I LIKEY. *runs off thinking about 500 Days of Summer* ^__^

      Delete
  4. I skimmed because I am still reading this but so far so good.

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  5. hope i get my copy soon
    gr8 review sarah

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    1. Thanks Roro! I seriously hope you like!

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  6. Ooh! Top of the TBR stat! What a wonderful review. This sounds really interesting. Typically-being the flake I am- I try to stay away from the heavier stuff for beach lit or in the summertime, generally but this sounds so good I might just have to take a look.

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    1. Mmmm... I SO get what you mean... and this one was such an emotional one, but it has one of those wonderful happily ever afters that made me all warm and gooey inside. Hope you likey! ♥

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  7. Have I ever mentioned that I love the way you set up your reviews, especially the little intro before the summary? It's great.

    Anyway, glad you loved this one. I really really want to read it. It makes me think of Willow by Julia Hoban in a way...you should read that one, if you have not already!

    -Lauren

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    1. Eeee! Lauren, thanks you! You know, I've NEVER heard of Julia Hoban! I will totally check her out :)

      Delete
  8. Nooooo, I've been resisting this book because, despite all the glowing reviews, I'm just not sure this is my type of contemporary read and I don't want to be the black sheep who ends up disliking it, haha. STILL, though I'm still on the fence on whether I'll pick it up or not, I.AM.INTRIGUED. Your bit about the chemistry is going to be my undoing because, gah, who can resist that type of warning? Eeep!

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    1. Ugh, I SO get what you mean! It's a LOT like Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, if that's any help? But OMFG. STEPH. THE CHEMISTRY IS... EEP! *FANS SELF*

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  9. I got this one at BEA and I am soooo excited to read it!!! :D

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    1. Ooooh, Kristin! HELLS YES! I seriously think you're going to like this one :D

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  10. My wonderful Sarah, you have to read Everything Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson then - although it’s childhood friends blossoming into romance but with the terminal illness aspect, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too. It has that same, as you say here, 'To love someone with everything you are, and love them so much you are willing to work and sacrifice for their happiness.’

    I love your reviews... Only wish we could’ve joined blogs seeing how well you’re going :P I’ve only read the first couple of this so far but since I’ve been reading quite a few contemporaries lately for review, I’m trickling them out here and there. Though should really read it before August haha. <3

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    1. You know you totally made my day, right? *cackles* also: can you imagine Team Braiden/Sarah? WORLD DOMINATION >:D

      I SERIOUSLY want to read Everything Left Unsaid... which is like saying I seriously want my heart broken, but... err... XD

      Delete
  11. Holy moly Sarah, this is such, such a beautiful review
    "It’s the deeper, more insular tale of two lost souls becoming whole within themselves, and being found in each other, and finding healing in themselves."
    THIS LINE. SLAYS ME.
    I am so excited to meet them both!
    xo

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    1. also, as a counselor-to-be, I really like it when therapy is presented in a positive light. I mean, it's never a deal-breaker, and it's not like I seek about books with therapy in them so that I can judge them viciously, but... if it's included, I want to see it handled well. Like trauma! (Hmm. Maybe shouldn't have finished on an exclamation mark.) Like trauma. (That looks better). But, hey, I guess you could say that about anything, really! If writing about it, write about it well.

      Delete
  12. Lovely review, Sarah! As always. I absolutely loved, loved, LOVED this book which surprised me because I didn't expect to love it so much. Can't wait for the sequel!

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    1. Squee! Thanks, Erin! I SO can't wait for a sequel! Beth was a seriously interesting character--it'll be really interesting to see how it goes... and I seriously hope she gets her HEA with Noah's BFF :)

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  13. *sighs* This book was insanely good. I adored how the romance unfolded and how the two characters dealt with it. KJAHBGMVDBJNK. Awesome review.

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    1. Eeee! LISA! YESSSSS! I just... seriously, it BLEW ME AWAY O___O

      Delete
  14. This is my favorite review of yours to date. I adore it; every single word, sentence and paragraph. I kid you not, I actually teared up during your review. I didn't think it was possible, but now I'm even more excited to read this one. It sounds like Perfect Chemistry except more believable and with more depth.

    I especially love these tidbits:

    Beautiful, broken and lost, Echo, in many ways, feels like her name: a reflection of a sound, a memory of the girl she once was. That is talent right there! *applaud*

    To love someone with everything you are, and love them so much you are willing to work and sacrifice for their happiness? This is a love story about the truth of true love. This was the paragraph where I started to tear up, but especially this sentence. ADORE.

    Your review is magical and beautiful and gorgeously written and I thank you for writing it.

    XOXO

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    1. *huggles you to pieces*

      Seriously though.... you can't say that. My ego. It does bad things :P

      Delete
  15. I loved loved LOVED this book so freaking much! It broke my heart! And you are right it's not just about being broken it's about more and I loved every aspect for this book so much!

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    1. Oh goodness YESSSS! MY EMOSHUNS! O___O

      Delete
  16. OKay, you know contemp is not my genre but this book totally called to me. I got it on netgalley but have yet to read it. Now I can't wait. Awesome review.

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    1. SQUEE! I so hope you love it, Jen! ♥

      Delete
  17. SARAH. My goodness. Your review = PERFECTION (as always btw :P) I completely agree with everything you said on your review! This book felt so real to me and I absolutely connected with Noah and Echo. *sobs* It was heart-breaking but I LOVED IT!

    Glad you enjoyed it, Sarah! ♥

    PS: Can't wait for Beth's story ;)

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    1. CELIIIIIIIIIIINE. HAVE I MENTIONED I LOVE YOU? *HUGS*
      Thank you! AND YES! Oh, seriously... I ADORED Noah and Echo (my heart! WITH THE BREAKING!)

      Delete
  18. I don't think I will ever, ever, EVER get tired of watching you write like a pro! Seriously, I have no idea why I don't see your name on multiple bestseller lists across the world -- you have some of the most beautiful prose ever! I've been reading so many reviews for this that it's getting a bit redundant, but yours is definitely one of the most BEAUTIFULLY written! Honest to goodness -- I THINK YOU NEED TO BE AN AUTHOR. :')

    Beautiful review, Sarah! <3

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    1. And I never, EVER get tired of reading your reviews! Seriously, Mimi, you're bad for my wallet. It's you enthusiasm that gets me. You write a review and by half way through I'm SALIVATING :D

      YOUR COMMENT. Oh goodness, you made me squee. Like, out loud.
      Can you imagine? I'd LOVE to write. Only, seriously, writing a review is one thing... a novel's another. And I have no imagination >__<

      Delete
  19. Such an amazing review. I envy your writing skills!

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    1. THanks so much, Regan! You're making me blush! :S

      Delete
  20. Awesome review, Sarah! I have been looking forward to this, but also a little worried it might make me a little depressed. But you have me sold! I will be picking this up as soon as! Thanks for the awesome review!

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    1. Aw, Jo, thanks!
      Hmmmm... you know, it's defintiely heavy at times, but it never seemed really depressing to me... and I LOVED the ending. AND OMFG. NOAH AND ECHO. SO SMEXY.

      Delete
  21. Um, can I just mirror what every single person has said above? Your reviews are f***ing INCREDIBLE. I don't know how you keep topping yourself again and again and AGAIN, but you DO and you CONTINUALLY blow us all away!

    McGarry does not paint a simple happily-ever-after, instead showing a gradual path to forgiveness and acceptance—showing a journey, not a destination. <3

    While I didn't crazy love this as much as everyonbe else (I DID enjoy it!!), your review makes me want to go back and reread this again and then give it 5 stars. AMAZING, SARAH.

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    1. Um, can I just hug you? *squishes* THERE :P
      I feel bad you didn't love this one! Especially since I RAVED about it to you... but... I kind of LOVED it... and... it's strange how sometimes a book just, you know... moves you. ANYWAY! *BOUNCES*
      THANK YOU ^__^

      Delete
  22. I love what you said about true love taking hard work and compromise, I think too that this book shows this so well.
    Thanks for review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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    1. Thanks Brandi! I really respected that about the book. LOVE ♥

      Delete
  23. *sob* That was beautifully said. I have just read Erin's review and now yours and you both have me in a puddle. Thank goodness I am the only one home:D

    You do have a way with words Sarah. I am just so in love with this story, no matter how painful it is for the characters.

    Noah and his love for his family, the little boys, all he has left is threatened, and his caring love for Isaiah and Beth too...then there is Echo. So looking forward to seeing the real Beth and Isaiah.

    I must now go and blow my nose and put cold flannel on my face......:D

    xxx

    Mich

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    1. Aw, Mich! *HUGGLES*
      Thank you so so much. I really love this book, and I'm so so glad you did too... and everyone else! I', love the outpouring of love for it! ♥

      Delete
  24. Seriously, this is an amazing review, Sarah! I really loved how much you got out of this book, far more than I did, and now I feel like re-reading it to see if I can gain more of an appreciation for it.

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    1. Eep! Mandee! Thank you! You know, I know you're not alone there. Brodie liked, but didn't LOVE this one... I just... I think it really resonated with me :)

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  25. How do you manage to make every book you read sound so completely fabulous that I must read it?

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  26. I have heard SO MANY good things about this book..I so need to read it! I really am in the mood for a great contemporary romance so I will have to pick this one up soon :) Great review Sarah :)

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  27. I just got this book in the mail. I can't wait to read it.

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