Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Release date: July 31, 2012
Published by: Harlequin Teen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Echo and Noah are searching for normalcy within their lives. They have both been broken by tragedies: Echo can’t remember what happened to her, but she has scars up and down her arms that tell her it was something awful; Noah’s parents died in a house fire, leaving him in the foster care system, unable to see his two younger brothers.
They connect their senior year in high school when they are both assigned to see the school counselor. Noah’s school experience and grades are on a down-hill slide as his anger and resentment towards adults and a system that has done him wrong increases. Echo is working with the counselor to try and regain her memories of the moment her life turned upside down. The counselor decides to have Echo tutor Noah. Echo’s incentive to tutor the pot-head outcast with a potty mouth is the money she’ll earn to restore her dead brother’s car. Noah’s incentive to work with Echo, the former popular kid who is now a freak, is the fact that Mrs. Collins, the counselor, will help him see his brothers if he gets his life on track.
Their relationship is very tumultuous at first because neither trusts the other, and since they are each looking for their own little spot of normal, they see the other as standing in their way. Of course, as any good romance should, the trust slowly develops and Echo and Noah soon find themselves in love.
I loved the way the author built Echo and Noah’s relationship. It felt real; I even cried at one point because I was so invested in the two main characters and their life choices. There were times I was angry with them and their thinking, but even with my anger, I never left the world of the story. These two characters could be in the real world. That is the best part of the story.
Not only did the main character feel real, so did the supporting ones. Katie McGarry rocks when it comes to character development. I loved Lila, Echo’s best friend—always supportive, never abandoned her when Echo went from popular to a “freak.” Isaiah and Beth are Noah’s two closest friends, and I was interested in each thing they did, too. Mrs. Collins, the counselor, became the adult that these two kids could finally trust and expose their true selves to. This story contains an amazing supporting cast, and I’ve only named a few. In fact, now that I say that, I could totally picture this story being turned into a movie! It has tough points, loving points, real-life decision points, etc. Amazing story!!
Oh…the other thing that pulled me into the story was the mystery surrounding Echo’s injuries. I became a detective, along with Echo, as she tried to unravel from her mind the memories she had buried. The mystery of what happened to her slowly came together, just as the relationship between Echo and Noah grew.
This isn’t a light-hearted romance. It has teeth, so be prepared to become emotionally invested in the highs and lows connected to the relationship between you, the reader, and Noah and Echo.