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.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Four Stars: Two damaged teens bond and take the reader on an emotional roller coaster.
Noah and Echo tuck their heads down and keep to themselves in the crowded halls. Both counting the days to graduation. For Echo, nothing has been the same since that fateful night two years ago at her mother's house. Something horrible happened, but Echo has no memory of the events, she only has the horrific scars on her arms. Since that dark day, she had retreated inside of herself, losing her friends, her happiness and part of her soul. Noah suffers in silence as well. He used to be part of a wonderful loving family. He was a great student and a star basketball player. That all changed the night of the fire. That tragic night he lost his parents to the flames and his two younger brothers to foster care. He is desperately trying to gain custody of the boys as soon as he graduates. These two damaged souls, collide and a kinship is born over their scars. Can two broken hearts find love, peace and happiness?
What I Liked:
- This book has been capturing hearts and burning up the blogosphere over the past few months. I can see why with its emotional roller coaster story and many heart string tugging moments. If you are a fan of contemporary novels that sling your emotions from when end of the range to the other, get a copy of this. It has the fluttery highs of an intense romance, mental illness, the strains of familial relationships, loss, heartache, and most of all finding the way to that little light that peers out of the darkness. Noah and Echo slowly fumble in the tragic blackness looking to that beacon of hope and happiness.
- If you like bad boys with tender hearts, Noah is the guy for you! He is slowly trying to pick up the pieces after losing everything: family, home and life after the fire. I absolutely adored his unwavering determination to get custody of his two younger brothers. The way he cares for those two little boys melted my heart. He is one of those guys who appears to be a dangerous heart breaker, but inside he is so much more. Four
- Echo is also one of those characters that gets in your head. She is scarred and damaged inside and out. She lost her hero when her older brother Aires died while serving in Afghanistan. Her family broke when her father split from her mother and married her childhood babysitter. Her friends and boyfriend turned their backs on her when she returned to school scarred, forgetful and broken. Her mother was barred from her life when her mental illness flared and harm came to Echo. She is barely keeping her head above the water. The reader is immediately sucked into her story, wondering what happened to this girl: how did she get those scars? Why can't she remember? Why is she lying to everyone including herself?
- I admired and loved the social worker Ms. Collins. She is someone who goes above and beyond her job requirements. She takes the time to see Echo and Noah beyond the files and write-ups by other mental health professionals. Instead she finds the tattered remnants of the kids they used to be before the accidents. I respected her and especially appreciated that she took the time to help both Noah and Echo find their way again! Truly, the world needs more counselors like her.
- I enjoyed that this book is told through the dual perspectives of Noah and Echo. I always like getting into each of the main characters' heads and seeing how they feel and think. I love seeing Noah through Echo's eyes and vice versa.
- This book has a good solid story, great characters, sizzling romance, heart touching, tear jerking moments and a nice resolution. If you are tired of cliffhangers and love triangles and shallow reads, get this one!
And The Not So Much:
- While I loved the hot romance that develops between Noah and Echo, I felt it was missing something. It jumps from the tender moment when Noah sees Echo's scars, understands and accepts her as is, to a full blown romance with passionate kisses and heat. I wanted the depth and the feelings behind the fire. The romance moves fast and furious and then stalls only to resume again. The sudden break was never really fully explored, either. Finally, it goes from attraction to discussions of marriage within a short period of time.
- This book tackles many tough issues such as: domestic violence, mental illness, foster care, drug abuse, teenage sex and giving up one's virginity. Due to the mature content this is best suited for older readers.
- I found the whole presentation of foster care and the system to be a bit disturbing. For most of the book, foster care is portrayed in a very negative light. Noah bounces form home to home and is often abused. I admit, I am not throughly educated on the foster care system, and I hope it is truly not as bad as it seems in the book. Furthermore, I found it difficult to believe that the boys were separated after the deaths of their parents. You would think that every effort would be made to keep them together after such a traumatic event. I was relieved at the end when the true circumstances of Noah's brothers' home was revealed.
- I felt the climax and ending were a bit rushed in comparison to the rest of the story. This is not a big issue, as everything wraps nicely.
Pushing The Limits is a book that takes on many hot issues as it drags you through an emotional tug of war. Noah and Echo are two lost teenagers, trying to make sense of all the turmoil that has been thrown at them. If you want a book that will tug at your heart strings, don't miss this one! Katie McGarry with this smash debut proves she is an author to watch!
“Adults want us to lie. They expect us to lie. They want to live in their perfect little worlds and pretend we do nothing more than eat cookie dough and watch reality TV.”
"School fills your mind with knowledge, but we tend to ignore the emotional. I’m here to see what happens if we pay attention to both.”
"The summer after the incident, one psychologist tried to open the steel door in my brain and demons raced out from the crack."
“I’ve already lost a piece of my mind. I can’t trust you with what’s left.”
"The moment the words flew out of my mouth I regretted them. Sometimes when you see the line, you think it’s a good idea to cross it—until you do."
“It doesn’t get better,” I said. “The pain. The wounds scab over and you don’t always feel like a knife is slashing through you. But when you least expect it, the pain flashes to remind you you’ll never be the same.”
"Luke used to give me butterflies. Noah spawned mutant pterodactyls."
"I wrapped my fingers around her fragile hand. Touching Echo felt like home."
“Are you ready to take the ACT on Saturday?” my father asked.
Did chickens enjoy being put on trucks labeled KFC? “Sure.”
" He caressed my cheek. That touch used to melt me into a puddle. All I felt now were calluses, a wart and dry skin."
"I was terrified to move, breathe, exist in this moment. On TV, teenagers were portrayed as happy, carefree. Echo and I would never know such a life."
“I’ll always save you.” Because I would. I’d move heaven and earth. I’d willingly walk into hell and stay there. I’d give up anything and everything for him."
"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."
“Because growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good.”
A big thanks to Harlequin Publishing for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.