Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

23 August, 2012 Reviews 18 comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarryPushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing The Limits #1
Published by HarlequinAUS on July 25th 2012
Pages: 416
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository


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.

When trying to find a way to describe this book – I settled on this: Pushing The Limits is the closest I’ve ever gotten to reading a Machetta book.

For anyone familiar with me or Machetta – that is the highest praise I give.

Very rarely does a book make me laugh and cry at all – let alone multiple times.  But that’s what this book did.  And really, what the hell kind of badass reviewer am I when I’m brought to sniveling, snotty tears by a book?

Noah and Echo don’t talk at school. Noah is the atypical bad boy and Echo is the former Teen Queen on the verge of reclaiming her former glory.  But Noah and Echo have a lot more in common than they realize.  They’re both broken.  This book is told through both of their view points as they start therapy and their lives start to unravel and they get pushed closer and closer together by their circumstances.

What I love is that there are three realities in this book.  McGarry takes into account that there is Noah’s truth, Echo’s truth and then there’s this whole other creature we’ll call What Is Actually Happening.  I haven’t seen someone show flawed narration this well in a long time.  What McGarry captured perfectly is that disconnect while keeping me plugged in an sympathetic.


Noah is fighting for custody of his younger brothers.  When his parents died, he and his siblings were separated.  Noah was placed in a series of very bad and negligent homes while his brothers were placed with a custody family who restrict his access to his siblings and are trying to adopt them.

Echo’s father and his new wife (Echo’s old babysitter) have a very rocky, unhealthy relationship.  He is controlling, the new wife is pregnant and Echo is desperate to try and make contact with her mother (who has been cut off from contact by Echo’s father).

At least  – that is how it looks at the beginning.  And it’s very easy to think that these adults in Echo and Noah’s lives are horrible.  But whilst Echo and Noah continue to see them that way for awhile, and whilst I as the reader remained completely empathetic as to why Noah and Echo saw them that way, it becomes clear that the situation is not as cut and dry as that.

By the climax of both Echo and Noah’s stories I was weeping uncontrollably.  I still cry when I think about those two parts of the book.  McGarry’s writing is powerful, emotive.  Her character voices for both Noah and Echo were very well done – reflecting on their distinct personalities and characteristics.  The plot contained little action and was largely carried by the myriad of relationships and the mystery of Echo’s past – so fans of more fast paced, active novels may want to steer clear.

Mrs Collins, their therapist, plays an almost omnipotent, godlike character in the novel and brought a fresh, lovable addition.  She was one of my favourites.

Over all, I think most readers are going to love this one.  One of the absolute best books of 2012!

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

18 Responses to “Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry”

  1. franchie15

    OMGGG You loved it, Kat! I rarely see a 5 star rating coming from you. But I can’t blame you for this one. I’ve read it. And for the record, I agree that this is one of the best books this year. Love your review! 😀

  2. cynicalsapphire

    Oh yay! When I saw you’d reviewed this, I was a bit afraid you would hate it. YOU DIDN’T THOUGH! 🙂
    I really need to read some Machetta. Like right now.

  3. fourheadjen

    I really want to read this now! I was planning to skip this book… not anymore 😉

  4. sofie_hatter

    I was planning to pass on this one because the blurb reminded me of Veronica Mars and that Mara Dyer book, but you convinced me with “[…]clos­est I’ve ever got­ten to read­ing a Machetta book.”   I’m reading her back list and so far I love her books. So now I HAVE to add this to my TBR list.
    Thanks for the review.

  5. MaiaOV

    Melina Marchetta? i want to read this now! i remember when Marchetta went to talk to my class and if this comes anywhere close to the whirlwind of emotions that was Jellicoe Road then i have to have it!

  6. VictoriaScottYA

    I’ve had this ARC on my shelf for a while and it’s high time I dive in. Bring on the tears! 🙂 

  7. christinashoe

    I usually don’t read contemporary fiction, but this just sounds amazing. I wanna read this NOW.

    • Mari Escape In A Book

      I was a little fast on the trigger there. I enjoyed parts of ‘Pushing the limits’ but over all it was a pretty big let down for me. My review is a bit harsher then yours. I love me some Marchetta, but this was, in my opinion, far from that kind of excellence 🙂

  8. neji_sorariku

    Wow. A perfect score from you. I rarely see you give a perfect score on a book. (sorry that sounds stalker-ish) This must’ve been a very good book. I’m gonna read it ASAP.

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