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About the book
Pushing the Limits is Kate McGarry's debut YA novel. It was published by Mira Ink on 3rd August and the book is 416 pages long.
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.
(Taken from Goodreads.com)
What I thought
I've had a real craving for contemporary books just recently and Pushing the Limits is one of the best I've read... all year.
I have a hard time really loving female main characters but Echo was someone I felt drawn towards immediately. She's broken, troubled and extremely confused about her life and as a teenager; this could only make things worse. It is clear from early on that Echo used to be popular and have a great life at school but then something happened and she was labelled as a freak. Her confidence is shot and she doesn't trust easily. No wonder though considering what she is going through in this book. Even though she had all of this going on, Echo was a tough girl who powered through a lot of hard times and I admired her for this.
I never thought I would find someone to rival Alex Fuentes from Perfect Chemistry (Simone Elkeles). Noah Hutchins is that rival. As a misunderstood bad boy with a rough life at his foster parent's house, I couldn't help but fall for Noah. He has tattoos, wears a leather jacket and is insanely hot. What's not to like?? As with Echo, there is so much more to Noah than is immediately revealed and I really loved getting to know his character and watching his secrets be unravelled. What people don't know about Noah is that he's extremely caring and protective of family and any one that he cares about and this was only one of the many attractive attributes of this character.
The chemistry between these two characters was amazing. Although this book is so much more than a romance story, Echo and Noah being there for each other was a big part of the plot. As each character has a past and secrets, they are able to understand the other better than anyone else and they also understood what the other needed. I think many people will be able to relate to parts of both Echo and Noah's problems and these issues were dealt with extremely well. Kate McGarry is sensitive in her writing but isn't afraid to be harsh and truthful at the same time. The issues raised in this book are hard hitting and not easy to read at times but they were also one of the best bits of the book.
Pushing the Limit's pacing was perfect for me. Although I was desperate to know what had really happened to Echo, and to know why Noah was the way he was, I loved that the plot was drawn out. Little snippets of Echo's past are revealed slowly and just enough at one time. The same goes for Noah's past. Just enough information is given exactly when it is needed and to keep the readers interested. With all of this going on, there are some great support characters which enhance these aspects of the story.
Just a quick note: there is quite a lot of swearing and drug use in this novel.
I loved every single word in Pushing the Limits. Kate McGarry writes an intense, emotional and important YA novel which had me from page one.