Saturday, July 28, 2012

ARC Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication: Harlequin Teen (July 31, 2012)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: Two-thirds of the way through this story, and wiping tears from my eyes, I added this book to my next high school book order. My high school students are going to fall in love with Noah and ache with Echo as both kids encounter problems that threaten to break them.

Echo and Noah get to know each other when the clinical social worker working with both of them put them together for tutoring sessions. Echo is seeing Mrs. Collins because of a traumatic incident that left her with scars, night terrors, and a hole in her memory that encompasses the night she got those scars. She is now a senior in high school but during her sophomore year her beloved older brother, a marine, was killed in Afghanistan and something happened with her mother that caused the scars and holes in her memory. Her father has divorced her bi-polar mother and married a woman who started out as Echo's nanny and now she is going to have his baby. Echo is angry at her father, at her stepmother, at her mother and is trying desperately to recover what she calls "normal." She has gone from being a member of the popular crowd to a social outcast. She is certain that no one loves her.

Noah is seeing Mrs. Collins because he is having trouble in foster care. His parents died in a house fire when Noah was in ninth grade. He managed to save his two younger brothers who were 5 and 2. He and his brothers were separated by the foster care system and Noah ended up in a series of bad homes. He is determined to gain custody of his brothers when he graduates from high school because he can't believe that they are in a good foster care situation. He believes that gaining custody of his brothers with help him regain "normal" too. 

Noah and Echo first band together to try to get a look at their files. Noah wants to know where his brothers are; Echo wants to know what happened that day she can't remember. Gradually, the two fall in love. But their different needs threaten to pull them apart.

This was an extremely emotional story the brought me to tears more than once. I felt so bad for both Echo and Noah and wanted them to find a way to be happy. I don't read very many contemporaries, I prefer my pleasure reading to be less realistic and heart-wrenching. But I know many of my students love this genre. I feel certain that this story will find many fans in my media center.

Favorite Quote:
A slight edge crept into her tone, so subtle I almost missed it. "Do I need to contact your social worker?"

I headed for the door. "Go ahead. What is she going to do? Rip my family apart: Put me in the foster care system? Continue to dig and you'll see you're too late."

"When was the last time you saw your brothers, Noah?"

My hand froze on the doorknob.

"What if I could offer you increased supervised visitation?"
I got this eARC from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley. You can buy a copy here.


  1. Oh, yeah. This one's on my list too. It's gonna fly off the shelves....Great review.

  2. I agree. This book is SO amazing. I'm so glad I read this one and have recommended it to a few teens at work myself, even though it's not even out yet!


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