Sunday, April 7, 2013

Novel Review: Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1) by Katie McGarry

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5 (maybe more)
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Spoilers?: Vague.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Something Specific:
That was Special:
  •  The pet names. This is mentioned in the review, but I just rather liked it. Also, the romance. Especially the romance.
  • The writing was really nice, too. There were some good similes and metaphors used, and several times a reference to Alice in Wonderland was used, usually in reference to Echo's dad, which I thought was interesting. 
  • "Do you believe in God?" "I do." "Swear it to your God." This was something that I really liked. I've seen God used in very different ways in books, and movies and whatever, but I don't think I've seen it used liked this. As in, asking someone to swear to God because they believe in it, and not just assuming they do because you do. That just kind of meant a lot to me.


I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. I have practically no words to describe how much I loved this book. I finished this book quite a while ago, even, and have been having a ridiculously hard time getting this review written ever since.
I’m going to tell you a little story before I really start this review, okay? Okay. I’ve had my eye on this book since about the time it came out, when the blog tour was happening and so many people were talking about it. I almost got an ARC of it at one point, too, because my bookstore had one in. But that was before the hype, and so I didn’t. It was horrible. Ever since, I just haven’t got around to it. But then Amazon/Barnes and Noble had the hardback on sale, at the same price as a normal paperback, and so I thought, “Why not?” I was even thinking of not getting the hardback, but I’m so glad I did, because the hardback is so pretty. The binding is just awesome. (Would be better if the bottom hadn’t somehow gotten bent and ripped a little bit before I received it, but whatever.) Then I got it and kind of pushed off reading it, because at that point I knew I was going to love it and wasn’t going to want it to be over. But I couldn’t resist for very long, started it, and then it was over and I was so upset that it was over and what was I going to do now? I’m still not completely over it, but that’s okay.
Storytime’s over, okay? Now onto the actual review.
So, I already said that I love this book. Um, that’s really the most important part. I loved it and would definitely recommend it. Definitely.
So Echo used to be a very popular girl, and is still friends with some of the popular kids, but mostly everyone avoids her. Because she disappeared from school for a while a couple years ago and came back with scars on her arms. Now, she’s just trying to get by until college while her friends are pushing her to get back with her old boyfriend, her mother’s been put away and her brother’s dead and her father not only doesn’t talk to her but is also married to a women Echo doesn’t like and who is also pregnant.
Noah is also an outcast, aside from his two other loner friends. Only he kind of prefers it that way. He’s been going through foster homes for years since his parents died, is working and somewhat getting through school, while trying to find a way to get his little brothers back.
Echo and Noah start noticing each other more, not particularly in a good way, and then Echo has to tutor Noah and things kind of change for them.
I like Echo. I like Noah. I also like Echo with Noah. I really enjoyed both of them, whether together or not. They were different from each other, had different voices, which helps since it’s told in alternating points-of-view. I also really liked learning about their pasts. Echo’s is very broken, and she doesn’t remember how she got the scars, and finding it out with her was very well done, very exciting. Noah is a bit broken and is aiming for a misguided notion, but it’s understandable, and I liked being with him as he found himself.
I felt that perhaps Echo and her father should have had more of a talk, but overall I liked what happened with her. I knew, at least had thought of, what was going to happen with Noah and his brothers, and I was very happy with how it turned out. Very happy.
The romance in this book is very nice. I loved how Noah and Echo got along, their sexy times were very nice, and the progression of it all worked really well, I think. I liked how they didn’t have to have sex, either, and that Noah did it all a little differently and how well that worked. Their ending was very nice, as well. These two just make me smile, and I’m having a hard time expressing how much I enjoyed them together.
Also, Noah calls Echo a pet name, and I hadn’t realize how infrequent pet names are, or at least how little I’ve seen them, in books, and it made me think that that should change. I like pet names, though, and I thought it just really worked for him and was really sweet. Although Noah is very sweet with Echo, and it’s just very swoon worthy and I love it.
Now, Echo’s ex-boyfriend and friends. I didn’t really like her ex-boyfriend from the start, and I really liked how that ended and what happened with it regarding Noah. Really liked it. I also didn’t really like Echo’s friends. Lila is her main one, the one that’s been behind her the whole time, but I didn’t really believe her. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t like her and I didn’t believe her, and I didn’t really think that she had as good of intentions as she apparently did. I know that she does have her own novella, though, and I do plan on reading it at some point, and maybe that will change my mind.
And Noah’s friends. First of all, Isaiah. I like Isaiah. I don’t think we really got to know him too well, but I did like him, and I know he gets his own story (in the third book of the series), and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. Secondly: Beth. I didn’t like Beth very much. She’s crude and rude and mean in general, but I understand that she has her reasons. And I’m also looking forward to getting to know her better, to see what’s in her head and what those reasons really are, in the second book of the series (out in May! I’m so excited!).
When I started this book, I figured it would be similar to Simone Elkeles’ books. And, in some ways it is. It’s loosely similar in the dramatics, and it’s smutty in a similar way, kind of. But these characters don’t seem to need to have sex or wait till the book is almost over to actually get together. There doesn’t seem to be such a format as Elkeles’ books. Also, it’s much more serious, with a broken past that needs healing. Whereas I do love Elkeles’ books, and always get them when they’re released, I almost feel like this one is a step up. I really hope that the next books go in the same direction, are as refreshing and good as this one was.
So, I loved this book. I loved it so much. I’m very much looking forward to reading other books by McGarry, particularly the other books in this series, and she is definitely on my author-to-watch and pre-order list.

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