Synopsis from goodreads.com:
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.
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.
My thoughts on the book:
Pushing the Limits is a beautiful story of love, loss, and forgiveness. Told in alternating points of view, switching between first-person Noah and first-person Echo, Pushing the Limits tells the story of two broken teenagers who find strength within each other. Both Echo and Noah have their own unique, tragic, and heartbreaking stories of loss. McGarry switches from one POV to the next smoothly, and all of the characters are well-developed. There is just enough suspense and mystery to keep the book interesting, but not so much that it overwhelms the romance between Noah and Echo. This is truly a story for everyone.
I think that almost everyone has been picked on in high school. Because of that, Echo is easy to relate to. You can't help but feel bad for her. She used to have it all, then after something horrible happened to her, she lost everything. Her desire for normalcy annoyed me, but that is only because I know (now that I'm an old woman of 30) that normal is overrated and doesn't actually exist. It seems to be one of those things that most people strive for, but no one can achieve. However, she's a likable character, and she grows so much over the course of the novel. I really enjoyed watching her come to terms with her past and figure out her future.
Noah is a bit frustrating, too, but also likable. He's definitely a flawed hero. He's extremely emotionally damaged from the death of his parents and loss of his brothers to the foster system. He's in the system, too, and has had awful luck with foster parents. Because of this, he tends to lash out at people and be a jerk for no reason. He, also, wanted to get his version of normal and wanted to rebuild his family. I wanted to shake him at times and tell him that you can't go back in time. He grows as much as Echo does throughout the novel, and I also enjoyed watching him come to terms with everything.
The plot itself is beautiful, and the romance is sweet. The way Noah and Echo supported each other and never judged one another is touching. The story line is intriguing. Echo lost her memory of the night she received her scars, and throughout the book she remembers more and more from that fateful day. Because of that, I was engaged throughout the novel, putting the pieces together, right along with Echo. Everyone in her family, and her counselor, knew what happened, but they wouldn't tell her. She'd tried to remember once before, and she had a mental breakdown. It was extremely suspenseful every time she remembered something. It was almost as if I felt her worry of another mental breakdown, right along with her. While this is going on, we also get to witness Noah trying to put his life back together, even though he was labeled as "emotionally unstable" by the foster system after he hit his first foster father. I enjoyed learning his reasoning behind his actions and watching him try to be the person he wants to be. The pacing for the story was perfect, and the ending ties everything up wonderfully.
Warnings: Drug use, underage drinking, obscenities, and a sex scene (though it's barely skimmed over. Nothing smutty or trashy, and no detail) do occur in the novel, so this book may be best for 14+. The drug use isn't glamorized, though. I appreciated that.
Overall, I'd recommend Pushing the Limits to almost anyone. If you enjoy good contemporary romances that have characters who are trying to overcome extreme obstacles, then this book is definitely for you.
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