[YA Contemporary Review] Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Posted on 01/30/2013 in Book Review / 7 Comments

[YA Contemporary Review] Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarryPushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on 7/31/2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 392
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won
Buy on Amazon

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.

\r\nYet 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.


After reading Easy, I felt the need to feel more feels.  I needed the feels, craved the feels, developed a longing for the feels like a druggy develops a bad habit.  And Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry gave me the feels in spades.

Echo and Noah are both attending counseling sessions, albeit for different reasons.  Noah is a product of the system: he lost his parents in a house fire years ago, and is now in foster care…without his brothers.  He’s rebellious, he’s derisive, and he’s broken.  All he wants is to get his brothers back and unite his family, even if he seems to go about it all the wrong ways.

Echo comes from tree-lined upper-middle class streets in the same community and she is far out of Noah’s league.  Plagued with a weird first name and a dead brother – AND no recollection of a day that brought her to the hospital two years ago, nor the scars that cover her body – she just wants to feel normal again.  She has no idea how to obtain it, especially while there is still a restraining order against her mother and her dad is shacked up with her former babysitter, who is pregnant with his child.

Their worlds collide when Mrs. Collins, their perky, quirky and delightful counselor brings them together: Echo is required to tutor Noah so she can earn money to restore her deceased brother’s dream car, and Noah needs to get his grades up so he can graduate and get his brothers back.  Both of them see it as a necessary evil.

Let me just say, Noah’s and Echo’s stories are tragic.  We begin sort of knowing Noah’s story, but we only learn Echo’s piece by piece, as she struggles to remember the events that led her from popular girl to “freakshow.”  Both complement each other very well, and as “opposites attract” go, their chemistry is both sweet and scorching.  And while Echo’s struggle is to remember, Noah’s struggle is to let go.  Both are equally painful and hard to do, and it’s charming to see the two of them learn to like – and then love – each other, and move on despite their painful histories.

Character Breakdowns

Echo is heart-breaking in her desire to remember and her equal desire to forever stay stagnant in the moment.  She doesn’t really want to remember until she does, and her internal struggles were painful to read.  She’s also delightful as a character, because she has that sort of self-deprecating sense of humor that only dysfunctional people can truly have.

Noah is heartthrob worthy.  He’s rebellious and a trouble-maker that, at the first sign of a girl who needs him, shows his true colors.  He doesn’t really want to be a rebellious teenager, but if the shoe fits, right?   Clearly family, and love, are important to him.  He just needs to figure out how it all fits together.

Biker Chick Beth and Isaiah are Noah’s “roommates” and best friends.  They are what best friends should be: loyal and honest to a fault.  And clearly in love with each other, at least in one direction.  I can’t wait to read Beth’s story.

Lila is Echo’s best friend and confidante.  Every girl needs a best friend like her, and it’s great to read about supporting BFFs in YA where there is no claws or cat-fighting, because this is as a true friendship should be.  Every girl deserves a friend like Lila.

Luke is a douchecanoe.

Mrs. Collins had me smiling more than once!  It’s not often than someone is simply made for their job, and she was the perfect fit for the role of counselor.  Full of sarcasm and wit, she was able to juggle the teenagers and their attitudes quite well, and lent them the grace to handle their troubles without feeling ashamed.  I wish more kids had someone like her in their lives.

Pushing the Limits gave me all kinds of feels, and I adored it.  Bravo, Katie McGarry.



“Because growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good.”


Disclaimers: This book was provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review. I also won the hardcopy from Ticket To Anywhere, so thanks!  Blurb and photo source courtesy of Goodreads.  *If you decide to purchase this book through any of these links, we do receive a small monetary kick-back that helps fund this blog.


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Jennifer is both a book nerd and professional photographer. That means she lives in the fantasy world all the time, whether of her making, or someone else's. She collects books like the Duggar family collects kids, and began waiting for her Hogwarts letter at the tender age of 33.

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7 responses to “[YA Contemporary Review] Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

  1. Thanks for the great review. This book has been on my wishlist for a whole while now but I still haven’t gotten round to picking it up. I’ve read so many good things about it too – I really need to get round to it. I haven’t read a book that melts my heart in the way that this one sounds like it did for you for a long time.

  2. Mrs. Collins is my favorite. Noah broke my heart & the situation with his brothers. Echo’s parents are jerks, they don’t deserve her.

  3. JENENENENNNNN! Your review! It’s perfect!\n\nI love your character breakdowns, and this. THIS: “Pushing the Limits gave me all kinds of feels, and I adored it. Bravo, Katie McGarry.”\n\n\nOMG. J. There is no Barrons quote in your sidebar today… THERE’S JK FORKING ROWLING !!!!!

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