Pushing the Limits
By Katie McGarry
Available 31 July 2012
So wrong for each other…and yet so right.
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.
This Blonde’s Review:
She always wears long sleeves and hides from everyone. People stare at her and jump to conclusions but are willing to be there for her. Luckily for Echo she has great friends who will stand by her. Echo also has a friend who won’t stand with her publicly since she’s more concerned with her popularity and an ex who claims to want back in her life. Echo is dealing with not remembering the trauma that almost cost her life, the loss of her brother in Afghanistan, and her childhood babysitter turned stepmother getting ready to have a baby. Echo has a lot on her plate and is a perfect candidate for mandatory weekly counseling.
Noah is the bad boy who doesn’t want anything serious with anyone. The system let him down and he has no desire to play along anymore. After being labeled a trouble maker by the foster care system he isn’t allowed to know where his brothers live and can only see them through supervised visitation. He’ll do whatever it takes to have them back in his life, even if that means playing along with the counselor they’re forcing him to go to.
Miss Collins, their counselor, pairs them up for a mutually beneficial arrangement all they do is fight. Echo needs to tutor Noah for the money to restore her brother’s car. Noah needs better grades if he hopes to get his brothers back. Instead of working together Noah says things that hurt Echo, and he’s surprised by the pain he’s able to cause her. When he sees her arms he knows better than to believe that she did it to herself. Soon they decide to work together to get what they really want out of their sessions with Miss Collins. They want answers and they’ll work together to make it happen.
Despite having a chance to gain her popularity back, Echo is still drawn to Noah. He asks questions and listens to the answers instead of flinching away. He is more real to her and more willing to see her than anyone else. Noah doesn’t want to focus on anything other than his brothers or risk letting Echo hurt him when she goes back to her popular life. But something about her draws him in and makes him want to know her more, makes him want to be there for her in ways he never was with anyone else. The more time they spend together the more right it seems to be, yet their problems could be too much for them to be any good for each other.
I loved this book. I can’t even explain why without giving everything away but I’m going to try. I loved that Echo had problems. She wasn’t a one trick pony with one big problem and everything else perfect, yet her problems weren’t so disconnected that it looked like the author was giving Echo more to deal with because she could. Her secrets are revealed a layer at a time, giving Echo time to process each step while we jumped to our own conclusions. Her family life was awful and sad and ultimately not quite what she thought.
I adored Noah and think he could be one of my favorite book guys. He’s bad enough to do what he wants to do without worrying about the rules. But he’s a good guy at heart. He is willing to risk his life for his brothers. He doesn’t knowingly hurt people who are weaker than he is. He was always unwilling to keep a girlfriend, but he only played with girls who know the game. He claims his friends as his family and will do whatever is needed to protect them, even if it involves going against crazy odds. He’s not perfect but he’s willing to look below the surface and not let scars matter more than the person inside.
The things that have happened to Echo and Noah are tragic to varying degrees but I loved watching the way they help each other heal. They do what they can to help each other without even thinking about it. I love how well they complement each other.
I would love to get into some of the “bad things” about this book that I’m sure some readers won’t care for, but I have to say that some of those things actually made it better for me. Noah did fall faster than I would have cared for, since I’m not a big fan of the fast fall, but there was a lot going on in this story. I can actually see how that could be totally realistic in that sort of situation. There are other things I could talk about to explain how I think the “bad” actually worked out well but I don’t want to give everything away before you have a chance to read it.
This is a love story since we want Echo and Noah to end up together, but this is also a story about healing and learning to trust despite the reasons not to. I really wish this wasn’t Katie McGarry’s first book because I wanted to go out and find something else of hers as soon as I finished it. I’m going to be keeping an eye on Katie McGarry and can’t wait to see what she has next for us.