Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title:  Pushing the Limits
Author:  Katie McGarry
Series:  None
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  July 31, 2012
Pages:  392
Format/Source:  ARC/BEA via Steph @ The Fake Steph Dot Com (Thanks, Steph!)

Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Contemporary, Romance

“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. (From Goodreads)

An Unsure Start…

I had seen Pushing the Limits going around everyone’s blogs–WoW posts and BEA book haul posts gushed about how bloggers were really excited to read this book.  I’m not sure why, but the book never really appealed to me. But then the actual reviews started flowing in, and they were all rave reviews, a few of those reviews by my blogger friends.

Then my friend Kim @ On the Wings of Books mentioned that she really loved it and she thought I should give it a try.  So we made a deal.  I’d read Pushing the Limits if she’d give Cinder by Marissa Meyer a chance, since she really didn’t have any plans to read that one and it still remains my favorite read of the year.  I’m really glad I made that deal with Kim because, as it turns out, our mutual friend Steph @ The Fake Steph Dot Com had picked up an ARC of Pushing the Limits for me at BEA.  So between that time and when I got it in the mail, I started getting pretty excited about this book.  Everyone was raving about it!  I got it on Saturday and after finishing up the book I was reading at the time, I settled into Pushing the Limits, hoping to finish it soon so that my review would be up ASAP, since the book came out Tuesday.

A Bit of Background…

I am a total YA Science Fiction/Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic lover.  That’s what I love to read.  I love the action, I love the suspense, I love the twists and turns and gadgets and space and ruined countries and everything that comes with those kinds of books.  But I do like lots of other types of books as well, and YA Contemporaries are quickly growing in my estimation. However, I’m not a huge fan of books that focus a lot on romance.  Sure, I love there to be a love story and I want the couple to end up together, but if there are more than a couple paragraphs about the couple making out, I start rolling my eyes and waving my hand at the book and saying out loud, “Let’s move it along…”  It’s just not my thing.  (And this is one of the major reasons that I have thus far stayed away from reading 50 Shades of Grey.)

So why am I saying all this, you ask?  Because Pushing the Limits, while being very much about two characters who have these horrible hardships that they must overcome, is, at its core, a romance.  At least, it is to me.  And like I said before, I root for the couple, I want them to get together, but I need a lot more story and a lot less coupley stuff in the books I enjoy.  Yes, there was a huge storyline other than the romance between Echo and Noah.  And it was intriguing.  But I personally would have enjoyed more of that stuff and less of the romance.  And, of course, that’s just me.

A Few Other Issues…

I had a couple other annoyances with Pushing the Limits, and again, these are really very subjective points.  One thing that bothered me was how Echo reacted when Noah cursed.  Seriously, he’s a teenage guy, and you’re surprised at his language?  You’re a teenager too, you should be used to people your age speaking that way.

Another thing that bothered me was some of what Noah thought when it was from his point of view.  I understand that his thoughts were probably very realistic, and he was probably more tame than most teenage boys.  But I really don’t care to read about what he wants to do to Echo.  If I wanted to read that, I’d read Adult Romance or Adult Erotica.  Again, that’s just me.

The Good Stuff…

I did enjoy this book, though.  I didn’t love it, but there were some parts that I really enjoyed.  I was very intrigued with Echo’s whole storyline.  I wanted to know what happened to her.  And when we finally found it all out, it was a bit of a letdown, but it was still a nice mystery.

I also enjoyed Echo’s sarcasm and the banter between Echo and Noah.  And Katie McGarry got major bonus points for making Echo good at pool.  I play pool myself and I love how Noah assumed she wasn’t any good.  That happens all the time!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes*:

“Luke used to give me butterflies.  Noah spawned mutant Pterodactyls.”

“Crap.  It had taken me an hour to get all of my hair in that clip.  Dear Lord, I think I broke something, like my liver.”

“No cell phone service for twenty-four hours.  Living prior to the nineties must have stunk.”

My rating for Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry:

Probably more like 3.75 stars.  I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it, but that’s probably because it’s just not my kind of story.  I’ve linked to some of my friends’ reviews below, and they enjoyed it much more than I did.
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Harlequin
You may also enjoy:  Perfect Chemistry

Other Reviews:  Kim @ On the Wings of Books  Steph @ The Fake Steph Dot Com  Jen @ YA Romantics

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC as a gift from a friend, who got it free of charge at BEA.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

*All quotes are from the ARC.  They may be different in the finalized version.


  1. Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

    August 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I'm sad that you didn't love it as much as I did, but I'm glad you liked it. Noah's thoughts didn't really bother me, probably because they felt very teenage boy like. Contemporary is one of my favorite genres so Pushing the Limits was a perfect fit for me, but I get why it's not perfect for you (I'm just glad you didn't hate it!)

    I have requested Cinder from the Library. I have a few other books I plan on reading first but I should get to it sometime in September.

    Thanks for linking to my review!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      August 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Yeah, I didn't love it, but I still enjoyed it! And I do think Noah's thoughts were very realistic for a teenage boy, but I personally don't care to read that kind of stuff.

      I hope you enjoy Cinder!

  2. Andrea @ Cozy Up

    August 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I'm scared to read this book because of all the rave reviews about it. It's good to see your review because now I can see a different perspective on it. I definitely want more of a storyline out of what I'm reading rather than a huge romance (I have stayed away from 50 shades as well). Thank you for such an honest review, Andrea. Always a pleasure coming here ;)

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      August 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      Aw, thanks, Andrea! Yeah, I'm in the minority because my review wasn't so gushing. But I did enjoy the book–I just didn't love it so much like everyone else seems to be. But I don't regret reading it or anything.

  3. fakesteph

    August 2, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I'm sorry you didn't love it. I'll have to send something else your way after I finish reading.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      August 7, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      It's all good! You don't need to send me something else, simply because I didn't love this one! I did enjoy it, and we're not all going to love the same things! I still really appreciate you sending it to me!

  4. Bittner

    August 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I think it is really funny trying to figure out how you decide which quotes to include in your post. Some of them you can appreciate without knowing the context and others I'm just like "whaaaat?"

    You'll have to explain the hair clip/broken liver context to me later.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      August 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      Yeah, I try not to put too much context in because I don't want to spoil it for people. I'll tell you about it at lunch tomorrow!

  5. Kate@Midnight Book Girl

    August 7, 2012 at 12:23 am

    I just read this last week on vacation, and while it wasn't exactly what I thought it'd be, it was a great read. Glad you liked it! I plan on reading Cinder too… eventually. I don't think I own it, but I might… I really need to take inventory!

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      August 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      Yes, you need to read Cinder, too. I hope that Kim enjoys it, and then she can join me and Steph as we badger you about reading it! ;)

  6. Jessie Marie

    August 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I wanna read this now! You and I are very similar – get over the kissy-kissy lovey-dovey crap. Sometimes, it's a little… nauseating? Unrealistic? Over the top? I dunno but I'd rather some kickass heroine fighting a horde of apocalyptic beings or something along those lines.

    Never the less, this is intriguing enough to me and the all around love that the blogosphere seems to have for it is drawing my attention even further. I don't want to be one of those people who reads a book cause everybody else has, but when 99.9% of the population raves, my interest is piqued.

    Anyway, good review. I'm a very skeptical review reader cause of the spoiler potential but I know I'm safe with yours. : )

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      August 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      Lol! Yes, at times that stuff does get nauseating! ;)

      And I'm glad that you know you can read a review of mine without getting spoiled! That means I'm doing my job the way I've been trying to! :D

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