Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry


Pushing the Limits

by Katie McGarry

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.

Pushing the Limits was getting buzz long before it came out, and I jumped on the NetGalley train with this one. It just sounded so great. And that cover? Perfect. I was extremely excited about finally getting to it, and it really exceeded my expectations. I could not put this book down. I read it in a span of about 36 hours. I wasn’t even that sad upon finishing because I know I’ll see these characters again when the companion novel comes out.

This book is reminiscent of Perfect Chemistry on a few counts. First of all, the point of view alternates between Echo and Noah. First up is Echo, who’s had a very rough two years. I was really impressed with Echo because despite all her problems, she gets up and keeps going. I think most people would have had a really hard time picking up the pieces, and it certainly hasn’t been easy for Echo. I just think she come across really strong. Noah was a little more frustrating because of his complete distrust in adults. It’s always hard to see someone shut everyone out like that, but Noah is still a really great guy. He loves his brothers so much and he also watches out for Beth and Isaiah like they’re family. The way he is with Echo is what really makes him lovable. He’s not disgusted by her scars and he understands her loss. They’re so beautiful together.

Some other similarities to Perfect Chemistry are that Echo and Noah hang out in different crowds, he has a fierce protectiveness for his brothers, and they pretend to hate each other in the beginning. That’s about where the similarities end. The issues they’re both dealing with are fresh. I’ve never read a YA book about repressed memories or foster care, though I’m sure they’re out there. I loved the way those topics were dealt with in this book though. I loved every second of it and I can’t wait for more from Katie McGarry.

On a side note, I love that McGarry turned up the heat without actually having the characters have sex. I have no real objections to teens having sex as long as they’re well-informed and safe, but it’s refreshing for a couple to wait until they know they’re ready. Noah is so patient with Echo and I think that’s beautiful.

Pushing the Limits is an excellent debut from Katie McGarry. It manages to be both gritty and sweet. I highly recommend this to lovers of contemporary YA.

Content: Profanity, violence, drug use, mild sexual content

The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.



I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Harlequin Teen, 2012
Hardcover, $14.39
ISBN 9780373210497

About the Author

Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings and reality television, and she is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. [Harlequin]

Visit Katie’s website

Follow Katie on Twitter


  1. Awesome review cupcake..i am still kicking myself for not grabbing this one..since they auto-approve me but I was in a i have to many arc’s mood..*idiot* I am trying to win a copy ..and if not will grab it!