Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits
(Pushing the Limits, #1)
By: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: July 31, 2012
Genre: YA

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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.


At first I was going to give this story 3 stars. I found it entertaining but it didn’t seem to pull any emotion from me… that is until the last quarter of the book. I balled my eyes out so much that had I read it at work or when my husband was home, I would’ve been extremely embarrassed.

Echo and Noah were very complex characters. There was a huge tragic situation with Echo and her mother where Echo’s mother tried to kill her and almost succeeded. After years of therapy, Echo still doesn’t remember what happened to her that day but the scars on her arms are a constant reminder from her past. To make matters worse, Echo’s brother was killed in action in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED. Echo’s nanny became her new step-mom who is pregnant with what Echo considers the “replacement”. All Echo wants to do is to remember what happened to her and to get the chance to talk to her mother.

Noah’s parents were killed in a house fire. Noah was able to get his brothers out of the house but unfortunately his parents weren’t as lucky. Which in the end resulted in Noah and his brothers going through child services. His brothers were taken in and fostered by a couple while Noah seemed to go from one crappy foster home to the next. He rarely gets the chance to see his brothers and when he does, its a supervised visit. Considering his experiences with foster families, he’s not convinced his brothers are in a safe environment and intends to file for full custody when he graduates from high school.

Considering all the problems that these two characters face, could you imagine the mess that takes place when they get together? Echo used to be popular. She dated the jock, had her friends and was prom queen material but when everything happens with her mother, Echo soon becomes a recluse. I think for me, I found myself exasperated with the “clique” scene. Her so called friends drop her the second that the whispers start. One girl in particular, Grace, was the most annoying for me. She tried to mold Echo and push her towards her ex-boyfriend (who was a jock) so that Echo can take back her spot in school and be the popular girl again. To me that was a bit much. I guess I just don’t understand authors obsession to create cliques? Yeah in high school there were popular kids and the stoners but there wasn’t any crazy animosity between people… of course, unless you pissed one of them off. They would become like a hive of bees, you mess with one and you get the wrath of them all. Otherwise, we all coexisted nicely. So I guess I just don’t understand the crazy whispers and outright hatred when it comes to these cliques.

I found the story entertaining and even though I found some parts eye roll worthy, there was a good story underneath. And like I said, when I got to the end that had me crying like a baby, I knew the author had me. I may not have thought so but, only when you are invested in a story do you get that caught up in their story and I must admit, McGarry fooled me. I’m glad I picked this book up because I plan on reading more from this author and I am ecstatic to read that the next book in the series deals with Beth, who was sort of Noah’s pothead Gothic “I don’t give a sh*t about no one” foster sister.



Noah is meeting Echo’s father and step-mother for the first time. Echo’s always been conscious to keep the sleeves of her shirts and sweaters pulled down to her fingers to hide the scars that her mother gave her. However, when Noah is getting the father talk, Echo unconsciously rolls up the sleeve of her sweater.

“Noah’s strong hand slipped over my wrist before he entwined his fingers with mine. The sensation of warm flesh against an area I allowed no one to see, much less touch, caused me to shiver. My eyes widened, realizing my mistake. This was what had freaked Ashley out. What had come over me? I never pulled up my sleeves. I spent all my time pulling them down. When had I become comfortable.”

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