Monday, August 19, 2013

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Release date: July 31, 2012
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ARC
Source: Trade
Pages: 392
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
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.
I read Pushing the Limits largely because it seemed like everyone else had read and loved it. A lot of times I convince myself I'm not going to like a book simply because everyone else likes it and I end up eating my words. This time, I went ahead and waited to pass judgement until I'd actually read it. I can tell y'all I definitely would've been eating crow had I not waited. :)

I'd expected your typical contemporary, where I sometimes wanted to strangle the characters and I couldn't help but find the essential flaws in their relationship, even though I somehow still enjoyed the book. That was not the case here! Both Echo and Noah are damaged; they've lost their ability to trust those who are supposed to protect and care for them. They have to learn to forgive themselves and those who have hurt them, learn to recognize what's healthy and safe, and finding love within one another helps that along. That's not to say they fall in love and everything just magically falls into place because love has healed all. Goodness gracious. But, in seeing that there is someone who can look past their damage and love them in spite of--and because of--it, both Echo and Noah begin a journey of healing.

I was deeply touched reading about Noah and his little brothers. Reading about a character who seems like the type who doesn't care about anyone or anything--a stoner and womanizer, for example--but who is actually working towards something so pure and heartfelt just makes me cry a little bit. (And I did cry a few times when he was with Tyler and Jacob.) I was initially very turned off of Noah because of how he was described, but his interaction with his brother's won me over very quickly. I saw how he was perfect for Echo, who needed someone who could make her feel loved, just as he did with his brothers. Noah, in turn, needed someone who didn't need to be take care of, not really. Echo seems fragile, and in many ways she is, but she's got hidden strength.

Pushing the Limits pulled me in quickly and completely. What seemed like a topical love story is really a story of how the strength of unselfish love can save you, if you want to be saved. It shows faults and failings but also power and beauty. It's definitely a new favorite contemporary and a standout of the genre.

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