Friday, August 31, 2012

Review of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

      Pushing the Limits

      Author: Katie McGarry
   Publisher:Harlequin Teen
   Length: 384 Pages
   Hardcover, via a giveaway
   Rating: 4 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

           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 Review:

The fact that I'm doing a review for this book right now still amazes me. I went on a giveaway-entering frenzy and was fortunate enough to win one of the books I wanted to read most: Pushing the Limits.

           Needless to say, when I got the email asking for my name and address, I nearly flipped my laptop into oblivion out of sheer joy. It is for this reason that I will do my best to give it the fairest review possible. I've been working through a cold for the past few days, so bear with me if I make some wonky comments.

           I'll start by saying that the synopsis, in my opinion, is slightly misleading. I was under the impression that a lot of the book dealt with a hidden romance between a broken girl and a bad boy. The romance, though, seemed to be far from hidden. Yes, there were some conflicts that made it difficult for them to be together, but I never got that "forbidden love" vibe. That said, this is by no means a negative thing. In fact, if the romance had been what I had been expecting, the story may have branched off in a whole bunch of cheesy directions. 

           While I'm on the topic of romance, I'd like to convey just how much I loved the relationship between Echo and Noah. McGarry does a splendid job at showing, through dialogue, how the two of them bring out the best in each other. Many of the comments they shoot back and forth had me laughing out loud, reeling at how perfect they are for each other. I don't normally start a review talking about the romance, but considering it was one of the best, most authentic parts of the novel, I feel it is necessary to make an exception here.

Moving on.

          If you didn't already know, the book alternates between the perspectives of Echo and Noah  every chapter. I didn't know this ahead of time, and quite honestly, it kind of worried me at first. I've never been a huge fan of point of view switches, but both Echo and Noah were such real, likable people it didn't bother me in the slightest. In fact, some of my favorite moments were told through Noah's perspective.

           As for secondary characters, there were only a few that I built a strong connection to. Mrs. Collins quickly became one of my favorite characters. Whether it was her sunny demeanor or her reckless driving habits, McGarry made sure that this woman made an impact on me. She has this way of saying so much out of so little, something that is hard to find in a book. Add the fact that you could see how much she cared for Noah and Echo and BOOM: outstanding character. Other people in Echo's life, however, irked me to no end. Grace, old friend of Echo and now most popular girl in school, managed to upset me any time she was mentioned. I understand in a "I-guess-I-get-why-you're-acting-like-such-a-biscuit" way, but at the same time I felt that she just needed to grow up. Personally, I've never met someone so dead set on being popular, so maybe that's why this bothered me so much.

          Other characters, some only mentioned once or twice, really helped to make the story that much more believable. Some authors forget that there are always additional people in a character's life that mean little in the grand scheme of things. It's all about immersing your reader into a story, and simulating as many aspects of real life as possible can really help to accomplish this. 

          On a different side of things, the language and description that McGarry implements is quite lovely. Her words mesh perfectly together to produce a vivid image in your mind. You could see Echo pulling down her sleeves perfectly, and eventually your mind put pieces like this into your mental image automatically. You're placed entirely into the world of Echo and Noah, almost as if you are a part of their universe.

           If I had to pick my favorite aspect of the book, though, I'd have to mention the book's ability to  evoke some serious emotion-age within you. Pushing the Limits had me laughing, crying, and biting my nails-- sometimes two of these things at the same time. The characters knock loudly at the door to your heart until you are forced to let them in. It's a wonderful thing to see.

          If you haven't yet read Pushing the Limits, do yourself a solid and order it whichever way you can. I was lucky enough to win it, but it's honestly worth any money you may have to pay for it.

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