Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Book Shelf: Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) 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. 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.

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Brimming with heart tugging emotion and sizzling romance, Pushing The Limits is a beautifully written debut that will steal your heart, mind and soul with its depth and honesty. Katie McGarry is a stunning new voice in the contemporary scene with this debut!

Have you ever started a book simply to pass a little bit of time, not expecting anything special, only to have your mind, and heart, blown with its unexpected depth and beauty? Well, if you have you’ll understand how I feel after reading Pushing The Limits. This book....wow, just wow! Now, normally I’m not one for contemporary novels and it has to be something really special for me to enjoy a book void of the supernatural or paranormal, but Pushing The Limit quite possibly has me reconsidering my reading tastes.

From the very first chapter I knew this book was going to be something special. With mystery surrounding our heroine Echo’s past and so much anguish surrounding her and male lead Noah from the beginning, this book was always going to be one that pulled at my heart strings. For a debut novelist, author Katie McGarry tells her story with such flair and talent. Her writing is beautiful; effortless and flowing and never too much. She entices you in from the beginning and takes you on a whirlwind of emotions throughout the course of the book.

When good girl and, somewhat fractured Echo Emerson meets bad boy yet so-much-more-than-he-seems Noah Huctchins in her new therapists office neither one has any idea just what the other is about to do to them. When these two very different individuals team up due to their shred desire to know what their new therapist has on them in their files, they embark on a journey full of love, pain and understanding; allowing them to finally find the answers and closure that they seek.

The amazing characters that litter the pages are well rounded and so very deep. Everyone has a real story and McGarry manages to mix real, important issues with romance and friendship. There was so much emotion behind this book and while the storyline is very basic; good girl meets bad boy and so on, this book is so much more; focusing on hard hitting issues but allowing us to see both the characters imperfections (and our own) that we may not have otherwise seen.

Featuring such a powerful plot and dealing with so much emotion, Katie McGarry needed two very story main characters and she certainly wrote them in Echo and Noah! As our female lead Echo Emerson starts out as a traumatised, self conscious young woman who for all her pain and anguish has no recollection of the night that left her scarred and forever changed. With her father about to have a baby with his new wife and having never felt more alone Echo is a true emotional wreck. And yet what a work of art she is! Written perfectly, Echo is real, so incredible real. As the reader my heart bled for Echo but it also soared for her too as she faced her demons throughout this novel. Echo is someone you can emphasise with; her emotions and her feelings are something understandable but her strength to keep going, to keep fighting is what I loved so much about her.

I adored how Katie McGarry wrote Noah’s characterisation. While he is undoubtedly a good guy underneath everything, McGarry showed the true harsh aspects of Noah’s life and nature. There were drugs, violence and just plain attitude that marked him for who he was, but throughout the book, the sweet honourable traits of his shone through and made him such a fantastic, well rounded character with so much depth and vulnerability. I know Noah is supposed to be the “bad boy” but I never really saw him that way. Yes, he may have had a bit of an attitude, but I never saw any cruelty to him or nastiness. All he wanted was his brothers back and he really was just misunderstood.

The main basis of this novel is the connection between Echo and Noah and what that connection means for both of them and that is something that repeatedly shines throughout Pushing the Limits. As the two of them learn to trust again, Echo and Noah had such chemistry together. Katie McGarry pens their relationship perfectly; together these two were electric, sweet and endearing. They were enough to make me swoon. Repeatedly. And yet, I never saw that forbidden/bad for each other aspect of their relationship that I expected. And for that, I’m glad. Hopefully I’m not the only one, but in my eyes Noah and Echo were actually good for each other. Yes, they both have histories and their own flaws (who doesn’t?) but throughout the novel they never once treated each other in a malicious way. They were only kind towards each other, sparking the healing they both needed but had never found before. Their only issues stemmed from their different social standings; something I was thrilled McGarry explored.

Aside from Echo and Noah, there were quite a few characters that also stole their way into my heart. Mrs. Collins was a guardian angel in disguise to both Echo and Noah in the form of their therapist and both Isaiah and Beth, Noah’s stoner friends were beautifully written and intriguing; filled with depth and realty.

As Pushing the Limits was coming to a close, I truly didn’t want the book to end. Katie McGarry knew exactly how to get my blood pumping and my heart breaking with this novel; swallowing me up with emotion and love. As both characters find their answers, and themselves in the progress, I was very satisfied with the ending McGarry gave us however I find myself eager to discover the stories of the other characters, starting with Beth, in the next book, Dare You To. With a brilliant new voice and exceptional talent, Katie McGarry has guaranteed I’ll read whatever she puts out next!

Source: Sent for review by HarlequinTEEN Australia (Thank you Polina!)
Format: Paperback finished copy.
AU Release Date: Available now!
Buy it: Booktopia // The Nile // The Book Depository
Recommendation: Fans of Simone Elkeles will adore this one. This book is for everyone who wants to feel!
Cover: So purdy! I love the shiny, foil finish.
Will I read sequel/continue with series: YES! I want more of these characters!



  1. Oh, Rachel, your review = P E R F E C T ♥
    "Have you ever started a book simply to pass a little bit of time, not expecting anything special, only to have your mind, and heart, blown with its unexpected depth and beauty?"

    So completely this. I didn't expect to love it QUITE so very much, but it's an AMAZING book.

  2. EEEEEEEE RACHEL, I absolutely agree with Sarah. Your review is perfection ♥ I really loved Pushing the Limits. From Echo, Noah to the cover and the story. Katie's writing was so realistic and I can't wait for Dare You To too ;)

    SO glad you enjoyed the book, Rachel ♥

  3. Fantastic review, Rachel! I agree with everything you said. This book was brilliant!


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