Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Pages: 368 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: book trailer | author website

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.


Sometimes, an author's agent sells a book/series to an editor and that's that. Other times, multiple editors express interest in acquiring the book/series and then a book auction happens. Every time I hear that a book went to auction, I challenge myself to try and see what captured the interest of multiple editors; I feel like it's really got to be something to go to auction. I clearly see why Pushing the Limits went to auction--oh my, that chemisty! It nearly blew up my house!--and it's hard to stop reading, but it needs improvement on the pacing, the melodrama, and the details of Echo's insomnia.

McGarry's gift is creating chemistry between her characters, and not just romantic chemistry between Echo and Noah (though the chemistry there was pretty explosive too). The relationships between Echo/her parents and Noah/his brothers are similarly well-developed and just as powerful as the romantic storyline I never quite cried while I was reading, but my eyes misted over two or three times, occurring each time during scenes where Noah interacted with his brothers, who were in foster care with another family.

The book's pacing is a little uneven. At first, short chapters and developing storylines/chemistry make it hard to put Pushing the Limits down, but once Echo and Noah get together around halfway through the book, the pacing slows to a crawl and it was a struggle to keep going. Once we enter the last 50 to 100 pages, things speed back up again, but readers can easily be lost by that sluggish middle third. The melodrama the novel devolves into during that middle third doesn't help matters. True dramatic tension is a huge draw for me, but once it starts getting over-the-top, I want out.

The little details of Echo's trauma-related insomnia rang false to me. I have suffered from insomnia in the past for weeks or months at a time and with that personal experience in my arsenal, I know Echo should not be behaving like she gets a full night's sleep every night. I can count one or two occasions where we actually saw her insomnia affecting her by making her fall asleep in class and have a difficult time paying attention, but for the most part, she walks, talks, and behaves like someone getting all the rest they need. The telling-not-showing of insomnia and the way the disorder is glossed over is not cool with me. If a character is given a medical disorder, I want them to show signs they actually have it, but just be told so.

McGarry's next book, Dare You To, will center on Beth's life and from what little I saw of it during Pushing the Limits, it has the potential to be even more of a grabbing, intense story than this one was. Depending on what information comes out about it as the publication date comes closer, I may or may not pick it up. Fans of unique dual perspectives and people struggling to overcome the problems that plague their lives and psyches will surely enjoy Pushing the Limits.

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

1 comment:

  1. Great review, I've had my eye on this book for a while so I'll be looking forward to reading it
    RB :)


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