Pushing the Limits – Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits – Katie McGarryTitle: Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) by Katie McGarry
Publishing Info: July 31, 2012 by Harlequin
Genres: Contemporary, Psych/Mental Health, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 20, 2012

    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.

Breaking It Down Further: After a tragic incident with her mother that she repressed in her mind, Echo Emerson finds it hard to return to her normal life. She can’t remember how she got the scars on her arms and everyone at school treats her like a total outcast because of them. The more Echo withdraws, the more she feels lost and desperate to find out what really happened to her. Noah Hutchins tells his own story as well – typical bad boy with a bad rep. Although his reputation is mostly true, Noah has a dark past that put him there but now more than ever it’s important for him to clean up his act a bit to reunite with his brothers who are in a separate foster home. When Echo & Noah’s worlds collide, it quickly becomes hard to fight the attraction until the two become more than they ever imagined.


Hm. Well. Let’s start with my overall opinion: I really did enjoy reading PUSHING THE LIMITS. I felt like it was a different kind of contemporary YA romance and we actually had a little bit of mystery with Echo’s secret story about what really happened between her and her mother. I really did pick up on the chemistry between Echo and Noah. I was a little afraid at first since Echo was a formerly popular girl (I don’t know why that bothered me, but for some reason it did a little – Maybe overkill on the polar opposites?), but Echo actually seemed pretty normal aside from the trauma that she went through.

I actually really enjoyed tons of aspects of this book (even though I’m about to complain a lot). I really liked the story line a lot! Echo’s story was really interesting and I really didn’t know where that little mystery was going. The relationship between Echo and Noah was pretty much instant physical attraction, but there was a nice lead up to their actual relationship and I liked that it didn’t jump into things too fast.


Echo: I was actually just a smidge annoyed with Echo? Yeah, that’s a question. Even after the whole book, I still don’t know how I feel about her. I felt like she put too much blame on other people for how her life turned out. I mean, I know it wasn’t her fault for whatever happened with her mom, and even though we don’t know what the incident was throughout the book, we do know that Echo was indeed a victim of the situation and she’s not at fault. But I felt like the whole book she was searching for someone to blame and sometimes it put me off a bit that she was so mean to her dad and step-mom (I felt bad for poor Ashley the whole book). It seemed a little “typical teenager” that okay yes, you do have a hard life, no one’s denying that, but time to face it.
Noah: I liked Noah a lot more. He has a tragic past as well, but he’s already been dealing it for years and we see the hardened exterior of Noah throughout the book and Echo actually softens his personality up a bit. We know he’s got a really passionate side for his friends and family and I really loved seeing that side of him. The only thing that really bothered me about Noah (and yes it really bothered me) was all of the “Noah-isms” that Katie McGarry used for him over and over. It was way to repetitive to hear him call Echo his siren/nymph constantly and I’m sorry if anyone out there uses this, but I hate hearing couples call each other “baby”. Babe is fine. Cute even. Baby irritates the hell out of me. I know, I know personal rant, but it’s stupid stuff like that that really does make a difference when I’m reading. Baby just seems so insincere to me so to hear Noah call Echo “baby” just seemed like he was belittling her because that’s how I see the word.
Ashley: I actually did feel bad for step-mom/former nanny Ashley! I think she got treated way too harshly by Echo. I guess I didn’t feel as bad for her dad because it’s easier to be mad or to be mean to family and “get away with it” so to speak, but even though Echo saw Ashley as someone who broke up her family, I could really see Ashley’s side and I felt like we as readers knew she was a good person at heart and never intended it.
Supporting Characters: I actually think some of the secondary characters stole the show for me and really made the book that much better. If they weren’t in the story, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. Noah is still one of my favorite characters, but here’s my shout out to the secondaries that made it a much deeper and beautiful novel: the great Mrs. Collins, Noah’s brothers, Isaiah, Beth, Lila, step-mom Ashley


Try it

I feel bad that this review somehow ended up being a lot more complaining than I anticipated… I guess all those things really just got under my skin! I thought about rating it 3.5 stars since apparently I found to many negatives, but I actually really did like reading the story quite a bit and would recommend it to people. Really, really great story. I actually felt kind of like I was watching a movie instead of reading. I think almost anyone will read this and really enjoy it.



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Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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9 thoughts on “Pushing the Limits – Katie McGarry

  1. Tee

    Brittany, I just finished this one and I really liked it too. I was turned off by the same issues you were. The nymph thing got old and, good Lord, the whole “baby” thing. I felt like it came out of nowhere. I wouldn’t have minded one or two times in a teasing way (like when he’s talking about s-e-x and he says something like “Just say the word baby and I’m there.” OK, that’s sort of flirty and teasing. It’s even cute) but when her actual name basically became BABY I was like dude, SHUT UP. It made him go from super sexypants to meh (but then he would get sexy again two seconds later). I actually read some of his dialogue aloud (I’m a loser) to see if I was just being too critical, but no, it sounds stupid and out of character for him. Other than that, I loved the book. It reminded me of Perfect Chemistry. I love your review. It’s spot on.

    1. Brittany

      I’m glad you agree on that!! I don’t know why, but it really did bother me a lot for some reason! I really loved the stories from both Noah and Echo but sometimes the cheesy writing (and not often, but just sometimes) made me roll my eyes. Then again, there’s bound to be cheesy writing in a lot of books! It just depends if I can look past it or not lol.

  2. Lucy

    This book has been getting a lot of hype and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I can tell though, that the Noah-isms you mention are going to get under my skin as well. Thanks for preparing me 🙂 I like when there are strong supporting characters so I’m glad to hear you say that is the case with this book. Great, balanced review – I’ll know to keep my expectations realistic, though it does sound really good and I love contemporary.

    1. Brittany

      Thanks! I hope you enjoy it. I really did enjoy it quite a bit but yep, those little things just really got under my skin and I couldn’t quite let them go!

  3. Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

    This book is probably one of my favorite books that I read this summer! And definitely one of my favorite contemps this year. =) I’m glad that you at least ended up enjoying it! I agree about liking Noah more, it took me forever to warm up to Echo, and even then, I preferred Noah more. I wasn’t fond of the use of the word baby either, but it didn’t affect me too much. 😉 The supporting characters are awesome in this book, I loved Mrs. Collins! It’s pretty amazing that the author created such deep secondary characters, that can be super hard to do sometimes.

    Fabulous review!! <3

    1. Brittany

      I know, I was kind of upset that I didn’t like it as much (the key words :)) as everyone else did! I did still like it a lot, just not love it.
      The supporting characters were amazing! I loved how prominent they were and what a great role they played in rounding out the story.

  4. Vyki

    I’m also glad that they didn’t immediately jump into things. I have been getting annoyed with so much insta-love lately. I agree with the “baby” thing, sometimes my other half calls me baby, but his actual petname for me is Tinkerbell. I dislike it to the point I have never called anyone baby. Ever. The secondary characters in this story were some of the strongest I have seen in any story, and I look forward to reading the author’s next book which will be from Beth’s POV. Great honest review!

  5. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    Pushing the Limits is probably my favorite book that I have read this year. I really did like both Echo and Noah. I do know what you mean, though, about Echo not being very loving and open to Ashley. But I really got why she was that way. I think I would have such a hard time dealing with my dad marrying my old babysitter! But I think at the end, Echo kind of got over it, though, and moved on.

    1. Brittany

      I agree, actually. I totally understand WHY she was acting the way she was, but I still saw it as harsh. If I was in her position, I wouldn’t be happy about it either! Overall, I think it was just a really tough situation for absolutely everyone involved and none of them really handled it well.

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