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October 19, 2012

Review: 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.
Pushing the Limits is one of those books that caught my eye based on the synopsis. All it took was a glance at the first line and I was hooked, intrigued by the premise of something that could have both physically and mentally scarred a girl to the point of selective memory. Naturally, I pounced at the opportunity to grab a copy at ALA and get it signed by the author. In fact, it was the first book from my entire stash that I chose to pick up because I was just that curious.

Speaking about the plot of Pushing the Limits without spoilers would sound like riddles, so I'll simply move on to characters. Protagonist Echo shows her voice from the very first page. She has both past and present troubles, especially surrounding her family life. Her normal coping mechanism is sarcasm, something I could completely relate to. Noah, on the other hand, seems like an absolute jerk at first but he's one of those characters who grows on you. I went from entirely appalled by his behavior to daydreaming about him all in a matter of four hours. He is so much more than the typical bad boy in that he truly cares about the ones he loves.

The layout of this book was really unique to me. I loved that more and more pieces were revealed alongside each episode of remembrance that Echo experienced in her attempts to recall exactly what happened to her. Additionally, the switches between Echo and Noah's perspectives added to the complexity. Noah was there for her nearly every step of the way, and watching the two of them grow both as individuals and as a couple was entirely enjoyable. Secondary characters such as Beth, basically Noah's foster sister, added moments of humor to the story as well. Beth, in fact, is so complex that one of Katie McGarry's next projects is Dare You To, a sequel novel told from Beth's perspective.

Contemporary fans, Pushing the Limits is basically made for you so don't miss out on reading it! As for me, I'm off to daydream some more about Noah and will hopefully be back someday with a review of Dare You To.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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