Book Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

Book Title/Author: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Publisher/Year: : Harlequin Teen July 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: It’s kind of a standalone but I guess there will be an upcoming novel that continues on with another character becoming the main character from what it seems.
Other Books From Author: None! It’s her debut!

Amazon| Goodreads | Katie McGarry’s Website

The Story

Two troubled teenagers, Echo & Noah, know what it’s like to be on the outside these days. Echo was a popular cheerleader with tons of friends until she came to school mysteriously bearing horrible scars that everybody wonders about but nobody knows what happened — even Echo who has repressed most of the horrible memories from that night that changed her life. Noah has been a ward of the state being bounced around from one bad foster home to the next; separated from his brothers after their parents died.  He’s known as the bad boy who uses girls and he loves to live up to the superlative flashing his bad attitude around school. When the two are forced into each other’s lives by a nosy school counselor, they realize how much they truly do have in common with their haunted pasts and their undeniable, fiery attraction to one another — despite how different they seem to everyone else.

The Review:

I have seen nothing but glowing and dazzling reviews of this book. No really, you’d have to search hard to find a less than stellar review of this heartpounding romance that has set the YA blogging community abuzz. So naturally I had to read it and experience this romance for myself!

This isn’t going to be a “bad” review by any means but I have to be brutally honest that I didn’t fall head-over-heels-doodling-hearts-in-my-notebook-while-daydreaming like everyone else seemed to. I really did enjoy this book — the suspense of finding out the secrets that Echo and Noah harbor, the initial tension and allure of their romantical/sexual tension, the intensity of  Echo’s piecing together of that night but my ONLY PROBLEM was that I was just really not into the romance aspect which is a very, very big part of this book obviously.

Noah made me swoon initially despite the inkling I was getting that this was going to be a “bad boy isn’t really such a bad boy and turns into the majestical Understanding & Sensitive Boyfriend That Was In Him All Along.” I was even down with that. I like a bad boy who just needs the layers peeled back a little bit to realize he’s mostly just misunderstood and broken down. My own REAL love story follows a little bit of that path (not NEARLY as dramatic). It wasn’t that. But here are the two things that made me really just NOT enjoy the romance:

  • Reason 1: GAG. Sorry, I still want to throw up in my mouth a little bit with some of the things that Noah said. I was all into him until he started calling Echo things like “his nymph” (a word I relate too much to Lolita) or “his siren”….I’m sorry, in real life I’d laugh in your face. Maybe Will and I just aren’t big on such mushy pet names for each other so it’s hard for me not to want to crawl out of my skin. I’m aware, it’s probably just a problem with ME. But then he started saying things like this:  “Say the word, baby, and I’ll rock your world.” and many other things that just made me fall out of love with him sadly. It was so corny to me. Too eyerolly for me.
  • Reason 2: Everything just seemed so over the top with them. I liked dramatic love stories but it was just too dramatic  for my liking. It also could go back to how I was already not so smitten anymore with Noah.

Now don’t get me wrong — there are some very good steamy moments and some really cute parts between the two of them but I honestly just wasn’t as invested into their romance as I was their own individual story. I wonder if I would have been had their not been a lot of the corniness and the overabundance of pet names that made me gag.

Aside from the romance, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a quick read with it’s crazy sexual tension and also the riveting unraveling of Echo and  Noah’s past. I LOVED Echo. I really did. And I did love Noah — his story was just so heartbreaking and for the “bad boy” fare in YA he seemed pretty authentic. He just didn’t go changing everything about himself for her — he kept some of those bad habits. And as much as I had issue with his romantical side, I thought he was SUCH a great character. So devoted to his brothers. And Echo’s story was just CRAZY. I was beyond invested in both of them and my heart sunk for both of them in so many places in this book (the mother scene and then again with some of the parts at the end with Noah and his brothers). They were two characters who you easily feel for and who just are more than characters in a story after your done — they really do jump off the pages.


My Final Thought

If you like your drama DIZZYING like something off The CW, your boys a little bad and your romance a bit steamier than the usual YA romance…I think you’ll get along quite well with Pushing The Limits. I loved so much about this book (the characters, the INITIAL tension between the two, the way McGarry reveals their past, some REALLY well-done heartfelt moments not even related to their romance) but the romance, and I realize I’m WAY in the minority, was not at all my favorite due to the reasons I listed above and mostly just the first one. I couldn’t get over it. But MOST of the people in the world LOVED it so fear not!


You May Also Like: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, The Thing About Truth by Lauren Barnholdt AND if you like the “can’t remember what happened and have to try and remember storyline” — Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (my review) and Forget You by Jennifer Echols


Let’s talky talk: Have you read this book? Is it on your radar? What other romances are a little more steamy in books you’ve read lately? I’m dying for some recommendations as most of the romance I read is more on the cutesy swoonworthy side.

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