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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry

Released August 2012

Katie McGarry

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

In Pushing the Limits, Echo and Noah come from completely different backgrounds, have little in common, and certainly don't run in the same circles at school. Yet, they're about to be thrown together and that brings tremendous change to their lives. Echo needs the money and Noah needs a tutor, so the school counselor pairs them together not realizing that they will develop feelings for each other.

Echo can't remember the events that left her scarred and the talk of the school. All she knows is that there's a restraining order against her mother, that the scars that run all over her back and up and down her arms were caused by her mother, and that her father married her babysitter and they're expecting a baby. It's a lot of upheaval in Echo's life. The counselor working with her is slowly helping her remember the exact events of the day.

Noah's parents died in a fire and he'd do anything to win custody of his younger brothers. The first foster home Noah was in led to a bit of a problem. When the father abused his son, Noah wouldn't stand for it and attacked him. That led to Noah developing a "bad boy" reputation. He's convinced his brothers are going to be in jeopardy at their own foster home, and he wants to rescue them. To win custody, however, he must prove he's changed, earn his diploma, and find a stable job and home. He never expects to fall for Echo, yet that's exactly what he does.

There's a bit of a Romeo and Juliet feel to this story, but without the suicide angle. Echo is under pressure from her friends to not date the pot-head bad boy, and Noah is just as pressured not to date the upper-crust, weirdo who suddenly wears long sleeves all the time. This leads to a lot of conflict, and I enjoyed watching the two of them give the proverbial finger to anyone who dared say they shouldn't be together.

 I did really enjoy this story. Granted, I'm looking it from an adult perspective and know how few high school romances survive. I like the honesty the author put into it with both Noah and Echo taking one day at a time. I never expected the emotional impact the book presented, but it did and Katie McGarry did it well. I cried when Noah fought to get his brothers or when Echo struggled to remember what her mother did. I found the writing to be very powerful and romantic, something I would have adored as a teen.

The story is told in alternating perspectives - Noah and Echo. The switches work well and it's always clear who is speaking. It gives better insight into the characters thoughts. Sometimes changing perspectives throw me off, but these changes are done well and made the story complete.

This is a great teen romance and one I am so glad I read. With Pushing the Limits, I think Katie McGarry has outdone herself.

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