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Teen Picks: “Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry


Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

What is it about? Echo and Noah are broken. They have been shattered by the people they cared about the most and they can’t quite figure out how to pick all the pieces back up. So they develop their own ways of coping. For Echo, its withdrawing so far into herself that you can barely see past the long-sleeved shirts she wears year round. Just eating in the lunch room with her old friends is a huge obstacle in itself. For Noah, he also withdraws. Except he’s withdrawing from what seemed like a great future. Now, he’s known as the school bad boy and player. It’s said that he only uses girls as one-night stands in the backseat of his car. Bottom line is they shouldn’t be together. He’s a jerk who doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings and she’s a timid girl used to being pushed into things her father wants her to do. That’s just how it is…right? But what if they really aren’t so different after all? What if beneath all of ! the walls that they’ve built true love is waiting to find them?

That summary was so generic. Unfortunately I can’t bring myself to write something more original. I’ve been lazy about my reviews lately and because of that I am behind. I read this book about four days ago and I should have reviewed it right then but I suppose what’s done is done. I still have a pretty good idea of what I did and didn’t like about this book and that’ll have to be enough.

What did you think of it & why did you pick it up: As far as I know Pushing the Limits is Katie McGarry’s first novel. I LOVE reading debut novels. Especially in the summer when it seems like there are just so many of them coming out. It’s like there’s this whole world of newly released books that I was never privy to before. Maybe I was so caught up in trying to absorb all of the great literature I missed out before I got my Shelfari (a nerdy website for books that I highly recommend. Similar to Goodreads but more simple) and started to seriously use it. That sucks because you can find serious treasures in some of those novels. But that’s not the big reason why I like them. For the most part, they’re, well… they’re easy. They are all nice beachy reads with an easy to digest plot and likable, if not slightly stereotypical, characters. This, for me, is definitely welcome. In the summer I can sometimes get caught under a load of 450 page novels that are c! omplex and emotional and utterly breath-taking. Sure they are great and all of them get spots on my favorite’s shelf, but read four of those in a row you start to get a little stressed out. So Pushing the Limits was like taking a little breather. And because it was a breather, I loved it.

Alright. Maybe not LOVED with an exclamation point. But I liked it a lot. The plot was well thought out for a novel using the “hurt good girl falls for misunderstood bad boy” stereotype and McGarry didn’t try to make Echo magically get better when *SPOILER* she and Noah finally get together. Instead the author understood that she still had half the book left to write. I respect that even if I’m the kind of girl to like it more when the characters typically get together in the end of the book after making some kind of realization, instead of the middle. It did work for Pushing the Limits though, because without each other we all knew Noah and Echo would never have had the courage to face their problems head-on.

Noah and Echo themselves were nice characters as well. I guess I’ll say they had good motivations and tragic stories that you couldn’t help but feel badly for. You should never have a character that just does something for the sake of doing. Everybody has a reason and motivation behind their thoughts and actions. I did find Ashley a bit annoying in the beginning though, which I’m sure was the author’s intent. However, I found my favorite character to be the school counselor, Mrs. Collins. She was feisty, blunt and rational. She did everything in her power to help Noah and Echo even if it meant touching on the most sensitive spots of their pasts’. I wish more school counselors were like that, especially in high school.

I have to admit though; there were a few repetitive spots in this novel. And most of them were coming from Noah. He constantly called Echo his ‘siren’ or his ‘goddess’. Okay, that’s awesome that you are complimenting your girl so much but I could have done without it just a few times. It is sweet, yes, but…overused. Also, all of the millions of comments about how Echo smells like a cinnamon roll. We get it already. She smells like a bakery. Sweet, innocent, and yummy. One thing I did like was that Echo was clear about not wanting to have sex and I loved that Noah respected that. I’m not saying that everyone in high school has sex and pressures everybody else to do so as well, in fact I’m sure that isn’t even the case in most places. But teenagers get a bad rep for this and sex in teen novels really isn’t always necessary to move the plot forward and to build the character relationships.

Overall, I’d give it 3.5 stars. It was a debut novel after all. But I can’t wait to read McGarry’s second book that tells the story of one of Noah’s friends, Beth.

Star Rating:  It was okay.

I would suggest this for: Teen girls looking for a light, fun, and beachy read.

Name: Lauren B

Thanks for the review, Lauren!

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