by Katie McGarry
Published August 3rd 2012 by Mira Ink
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.
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: August 3rd 2012
Publisher: Mira Ink
Format: eARC, 416 pages
First line: "My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has... well... issues. How do you think I'm doing?"
Last line: "Yes, but I'm driving."
Favorite quote: Luke used to give me butterflies. Noah spawned mutant pterodactyls.
Two years ago, there was an accident... and now Echo Emerson is no longer the same girl she used to be. She has to do therapy, which was "strongly encouraged" by Child Protective Services. She can't see her bipolar mom, thanks to a restraining order her father filed for. She's still grieving for her brother, who died in Afghanistan. She can't stand her new stepmom, who is now pregnant, and her father, who seems eager to control her life for her. Oh, and she can't go anywhere without long sleeves or gloves, in order to hide the most horrible scars on her wrists and the inside of her arms. Scars of what happened two years ago... on the night she can't remember. A night nobody seems to want her to remember.
Echo's new school therapist seems like a good enough person, but Echo really isn't interested in therapy. She just wants to fix her dead brother's car and get over high school. But to fix said car, she needs money... money her rich father won't give her. So Mrs. Collins, her therapist, suggests a job. A tutoring job. Sounds easy enough, right? Except for the guy she's supposed to tutor....
Noah Hutchins is smoking-hot, super bad boy material. (Heavy emphasis on 'smoking'). He smokes pot, he skips school, he sleeps with a different girl every night, and his stepparents couldn't care less about him... and now he can barely see his brothers, because the State won't allow him visitation privileges. All because he hit his first foster father to stop him from hitting his own biological son. Go figure. Noah used to be the perfect, popular, good guy jock type, but after a fire killed his parents, life has been very different for him. Now he wants custody of his brothers, but to have that, he needs to change. Starting with his attendance and grades, which is why Mrs. Collins, his new social worker/therapist, talks him into being tutored. Like he has time to sit around and have some stupid brainiac tell him how dumb they think he is.
Noah and Echo are two opposites... with a lot in common. And now they have to decide what they want from their lives. To either keep ignoring the feelings blossoming between them, or to accept them and fight for their right to be happy, and screw what others think of them.
I've been hearing praise for Pushing the Limits for months now... and I have to admit that neither the cover nor the blurb interested me... however, after getting tired of seeing people gushing over it, I decided to -finally- give it a try. And I really enjoyed it!
Echo is a walking, talking bomb, waiting to explode. I wanted her to just remember everything and be free! I loved how her art and talent were incorporated in the story so perfectly, I loved the mythological references, I loved to see her get over things. What I didn't love was how she just took the bullshit her father and so-called friends threw at her. Oh, and she forgave them way too easily... I'm pretty sure I'd still hold a grudge over her father, stepmom AND that bitch Grace. But maybe that's just my black/nonexistent heart talking. No. She really did forgive them way too soon.
Noah was a delight. Such a complex character! So strong, so self-confident, so grown-up, and, yet, so vulnerable and angry. Understandably so, of course. The State really did help make his life even more miserable than it already was after he lost his parents. It was funny seeing how he lost it everytime Echo was around. Very cute to see such a... hard person soften like that. He really needed some luv.
I like mature YA's liek this one becuase they don't try to pretend teenagers are saints, all pure and nice. No, they freaking fight, curse, drink, use drugs, and, OMG! O.O They have sex. Yup. Echo remained a virgin throughout the book, sure, but this was still a lot more believable than most YA's out there... but I guess that's what parents want, right? To pretend nothing like that is happening. If books don't have those things in them, then surely they don't happen in real life... Yeah, right. :P
Aaaaaaanyway, I digress. I really liked this book, with characters with real-life problems and feelings.... if not for some weak moments and stupid decisions from Echo, of course. I was also surprised to find out this one is a series. From the way the book ended, I would have never expected it to be. Things wrapped-up so nicely... but I might still check the next book.
If you like realist fiction with your YA, then you'll really enjoy Pushing the Limits.
* I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*