Book Thoughts: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

(**I received this book in exchange for an honest review.)

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.

A few months back, I noticed bloggers raving about Pushing the Limits. One day at the store, I convinced my friend to buy this book; she ended up agreeing with the bloggers’ praises. Even though I didn’t know what the story was even about, I decided to put this book on my to-read list. Eventually, I got around to reading this book, and the verdict? I enjoyed a lot of the aspects of this book but didn’t love it like everyone else did. Let’s talk about why:

Like all other YA novels, Pushing the Limits mostly focused on the characters – a boy and a girl to be exact. Not only did I find Noah and Echo (the protagonists) very interesting, I was happy to read into the lives of the secondary characters. Unlike all the other YA novels, Pushing the Limits held characters with depth. Although the story centered on two people, I felt like I was intertwined with all of their friends and families. Just enough information was given about everyone else that I was able to note individual uniqueness, which made the secondary characters – and the overall story – very realistic.

However, by adding depth to every character, a lot more clichés and stereotypes were added to this story: foster kids have a messed up past and are unstable; ‘popular’ guys only want one thing in a relationship; teens who dress ‘edgy’ must be smoking pot. Um, no. Real life is filled with people who fit those categories, and people who do not. This book had a lot of people who matched their stereotype ‘perfectly.’ Although I would like to read fiction without stereotypes, McGarry wrote characters that rocked their image well. Again, all of the characters had sides to them that would not have normally been shown if they were just being portrayed as a certain type of person.

Pushing the Limits is considered an ‘edgy’ read because it focuses on heavier topics, such as mental illness and drug use. Even though the subjects are darker, I did not think this book was a heavy read. I didn’t feel emotionally or mentally drained or really invested in any of the harsher topics this book deals with, which is a good and bad thing in my eyes. Good, because I can read an edgy book without all of the feelings, but bad at the same time because I want my thoughts to overwhelm me and the words on the page sink in. Seeing that, I decided that this book is a good middle read – nothing full of fluff, but nothing too deep.

In the end, I appreciate being able to read this book. It’s a decent read; the plot line is easy to follow and none of my questions were left unanswered. I enjoyed following Echo and Noah’s story, but I didn’t fall in love with it as much as my friend had. If you are looking for a good contemporary read, I suggest that you check this one out.

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2 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

  1. Great review! This book is on my TBR list, too. Probably won’t get around to it for a while, but I’m glad I saw your review on it – will probably now have an unbiased thought process. (I tend to get into the mindset of the reviews that I’ve read – whoops!)

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