Fani's Reviews > Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
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Pushing the Limits is the story of two very disfactional people who surprisingly -or not- find strength and hope and understanding in each other, despite their initial differences.

Echo used to be one of the popular girls in high school until almost two years ago, when she mysteriously disappeared before the end of the school year, a couple of months after the death of her brother, only to reappear in September with scars on her arms and rumors about her trying to commit suicide, thus making her personna non-gratta to the 'trendy' crowd. Now Echo has only one friend, Lisa, stays away from the cafeteria and her painting, and keeps on wearing long sleeved sweaters to hide her scars. She's a straight-A student but is also required to attend therapy sessions with the school's psychologist, Mrs Collins.

Noah used to be a good student as well, a star in the school's basketball team and an overall nice guy until the death of his parents. Now he lives with a foster family, the fourth in almost as many years, smokes pot and just manages to not fail in class. His two younger brothers live with another foster family who has denied him visitation rights, and Noah's single goal in life is to graduate from high school and get a job, so he can take guardianship of his brothers and build his family again.

Echo and Noah move in different crowds despite having many classes in common, but are finally brought together when Mrs Collins asks Echo to teach Noah privately so he can improve his ACT scores and apply to a college. Echo needs the money from the private sessions in order to rebuilt her brother's broken car, the only thing she feels she has left from him. Noah on the other hand, is told that if he tries to improve his tests, Mrs Collins will help him with his brothers' cause, so they both reluctantly agree. It is during those first meetings that Echo and Noah start to feel an attraction between them, but it's the fact that Noah seems to be quite unmoved with Echo's scars instead of horrified like everyone else, that makes Echo feel comfortable enough to start talking to him. Besides, the guy has so many issues himself, he's surely not one to judge!

I don't know if I'm alone in this, but the first half of the book had "Perfect Chemistry" vibes all over it: the wild, dangerous boy with serious problems at home, the girl from the nice area of town with the fancy house, the good grades and the private hell she hides from everyone are forced to a partnership at school and attraction blooms. On top of that, Echo is forced by her friends to consider how she'll become a social pariah if she starts dating Noah while her ex-boyfriend, a boy with more brawn than brains, wants her back and publicly claims her as his in school.

Unlike Perfect Chemistry though, the attraction between Echo and Noah, is almost instantaneous and it takes little to no -time for these two to fall in love with each other. The thing that made PC a keeper, is the fact that both Alex and Brittany, acted like adults mostly rather than oversentimental teens, with a maturity that was very natural considering their respective childhoods. Unfortunately, Noah and Echo seem to 'melt' too easily, resembling teens instead of young adults. It was not bad or incredibly sugary writing, but it made me realize the genius of Simone Elkeles once more.

Sweetness and surop aside, I liked the first half a lot, mostly because Noah and Echo are pretty strong characters and easy to like. These guys had issues like you can't imagines, but none of them were the whinny or crying type and that was very refreshing. I also appreciated this fact in the second part, which was more about those two finding themselves and standing on their feet and less about the romance between them. I admired Echo strength, her determination and her desire to fight for what she wanted. I was impressed with Noah's love for his brothers and also his willingness to admit both his mistake and his relief when his plans for the future finally changed. I liked how those two tortured kids found solace and strength in each other and I got very warm feelings from their romance. But it was eventually the questions about what happened to Echo that made this very difficult to put down for me.

Considering Young Adult is not my favorite genre, I'd say this is a book that stands out as well above average, both with its writing and its characters. I really enjoyed reading it, and I'm looking forward to Beth's book after reading the snippet included here with great anticipation!

ARC provided by NetGalley

Echo:






Noah:


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Reading Progress

05/26/2012 page 15
4.0% "This is similar to Perfect Chemistry, but the main heroes seem to lack strength of character and maturity despite their serious issues. If they manage to grow up before the ending, it could become a winner though."
05/27/2012
40.0% "This is good, really good. Unfortunately, the heroes keep on acting like teens instead of young adults when I least expect them and keep on ruining the mood. It's such a pity, since it could've been so much better:("
05/27/2012
50.0% "“Echo, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen because I don’t know. I don’t hold hands in the hallway or sit at anyone else’s lunch table. But I swear…on my brothers that you’ll never be a joke to me and you’ll be much more than a girl in the backseat of my car.”

Ah, sweet:)

"
05/27/2012
50.0% "“Echo, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen because I don’t know. I don’t hold hands in the hallway or sit at anyone else’s lunch table. But I swear…on my brothers that you’ll never be a joke to me and you’ll be much more than a girl in the backseat of my car.”

Ah, sweet:)

"
05/27/2012
65.0% "This is getting very interesting, but mostly because I want to find out what happened to Echo and if her father and stepmom are as awful as they seem, more than if Echo and Noah will end together."
05/27/2012
70.0% ""I shouldn’t have gone to work. I
should have stayed with her. Man, I was a dick. I’d make it up
to her tomorrow."
I'm starting to dislike Noah. He keeps on wanting to make it up to her tomorrow. She needs you today you bufoon, not tomorrow!" 4 comments
05/28/2012
90.0% "The past twenty-four hours had been one long nightmare. I lost my brothers. Echo came close to losing her mind. “Why is it when people are proud of me that my life sucks?”
“Because growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good.”"
05/28/2012
90.0% "The past twenty-four hours had been one long nightmare. I lost my brothers. Echo came close to losing her mind. “Why is it when people are proud of me that my life sucks?”
“Because growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good.”"
05/28/2012
90.0% "The past twenty-four hours had been one long nightmare. I lost my brothers. Echo came close to losing her mind. “Why is it when people are proud of me that my life sucks?”
“Because growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good.”"
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