Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: July 31, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, YA
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.
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry grabbed me from the beginning. There is so much emotional drama going on it was hard to put this book down. Echo, like her name, is unusual. Not in the sense that she has a third eye or anything, but something traumatic happened to her that shapes her life. She was attacked by her mother and she has suppressed the memory. She's in therapy to try to work through her problems, but she's frustrated by her progress. She hides her scars from the attack by wearing long sleeves shirts all the time. Echo is a deep character that has many obstacles to overcome. The long sleeves represent her insecurities and fear of rejection because of them. Echo is surrounded by a plethora of people. Some I loved, others not so much.
One of the characters, besides Echo and Noah, that stood out to me is Echo's father. In the very beginning I did not like this man at all. However my feelings for him transformed throughout the novel. I love how McGarry wrote him. Yes, he's a control freak and overbearing, but he loves Echo. Everything he does is his way of trying to protect her. He makes mistakes and feels the burden of not knowing what to do at times. McGarry points out that there is no instruction booklet to life and sometimes you just have to do what you think is right. This leads me to Noah. Noah is a senior and he lost his parents in a fire a few years before. He's been a victim of the system and has landed in some not so good foster homes. He has two brothers that he wants desperately to be reunited with. He wants sole custody even though he's barely an adult himself. Noah is immediately attracted to Echo. Together they bond over grief and loss. Noah has to figure out his life plan and how to accomplish his desires. He also has to learn to let go and realize sometimes what people want and what is best is not always the same thing.
Pushing the Limits is a great read. It's emotionally compelling and can speak to everyone young and not so young. My heart went out to the characters in this book, including some of the minor characters. They all had stories to be told and I think McGarry did a great job. Pushing the Limits is the first book in this series. The next book continues with Beth's story. I think this will be a series that I will continue reading.