Pushing the Limits — Katie McGarry

5
2817

“I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.  

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. 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.

One night is enough to spin Echo Emerson’s world entirely out of control. It’s perhaps the most important night of her life…and she can’t remember it. Therapists and psychologists tell her the memories will surface once her mind deems it safe enough for her to remember, but Echo wants answers now. Noah Hutchins agrees to help her find those answers, as long as she’ll help him in return. The two unlikely allies realize they can help each other, but what they don’t immediately realize is that they need each other. As they spend more time together, though, they can’t deny the immense attraction they both feel for each other. But while being together be feel right, the two might not fit into each others’ futures.

Wow. Just wow. It’s going to be hard for me to write this review and say anything besides I absolutely and completely adored it. Nothing but love, love, love for Pushing the Limits. My favorite YA sub-genre is contemporary and of that genre, Pushing the Limits has skyrocketed to the top of my list of favorites. Very, very few books and movies ever make me cry and this book is one of those few. And emotionally connecting to a book so powerfully is so rare for me that I can’t help but appreciate those tears, as well as the numerous happy-go-lucky grins Pushing the Limits inspires.

Having sufficiently hyped up my new favorite book, maybe I should explain why it’s so good. It’s told from alternating chapters of both Echo’s and Noah’s points of view, which is completely necessary for this story and allows us to form a deep connection with both characters. Both are extremely broken individuals, but from the onset, I thought I’d sympathize more with Noah’s situation. As the story progresses, though, we learn that Echo is a lot more complicated than she seems and if there’s anyone in the world that needs someone to lean on, it’s Echo. Surprisingly, though they are polar opposites, Noah turns out to be the strength Echo needs.

The relationship that forms between Noah and Echo is beautiful. They both need each other; they support and motivate each other; they grow together. They’re just so right. I have never rooted for a relationship more strongly than I do for theirs. They also aren’t afraid to call each other out and question things that seem wrong or off, which is incredibly realistic given their difficult pasts and tendency to distrust. Of course, everything about this story is realistic: the way the characters talk and think, the way Noah’s and Echo’s peers act, the importance placed on appearances in high school, our desire to please others before ourselves. Though I can’t relate to the characters’ specific circumstances, I found a lot of my own life, insecurities, and questions reflected in this book, especially when it came to navigating the social strata of high school and coming to term with my own parents’ flaws (essentially, learning that we’re all human and we all make mistakes — some more forgivable than others).

While the relationship is the highlight of the novel, the plot is equally as compelling. The mystery of the night Echo can’t remember is heartbreaking. Watching as she learns how to navigate her new life is devastating. The way her peers, friends, and even adults treat her literally makes me heart ache. But at least watching Noah grow, mature, and fall in love is uplifting and these two characters are destined for each other. Of course, when the stakes are this high, being together isn’t easy, and the couple is tested over and over again, which thoroughly pulls my heart in a hundred different directions. They’re both so rational — but love isn’t supposed to be rational, is it?

Pushing the Limits is an emotionally poignant roller-coaster. It’ll definitely appeal to fans of Simone Elkeles and Sarah Dessen. The emotions in this book are palpable. The love-story: irresistible. If you pick this book up, don’t plan on putting it down until you finish it.

Pages: 416
Publication Date: July 2012
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Source: NetGalley
Rating [rating: 5]

Teaser Quote: “‘You know a lot about math,’ I said. You know a lot about math? What type of statement was that? Right along the lines of ‘Hey, you have hair and it’s red and curly.’ Real smooth.

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