Monday, 20 January 2014

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)

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.

It's a common theme in Contemporary: Bad Boy meets Good Girl.  But Pushing The Limits delves much deeper than just conquering the odds of that dynamic.  True, the premise is familiar, and maybe even some of the content, but that's where comparisons end with other Y/A Contemps.

Let me say, that I loved the alternating POV's in this book.  Echo and Noah are really exceptional characters and having that time in each of their minds really helped flesh out the finer details of their respective struggles.  That being said, sometimes the jump from one POV to another was a bit bumpy.  On occasion it was utilized as a fast-forward, sometimes a day, other times a week or more.  While I understand the need to do this, and have seen it done successfully in other novels, it needed to be a bit more refined.

The characters were all pretty well crafted, though I felt Ms. McGarry did a better job with Josh's friends than with Echo's.  Mrs. Collins was fantastic and I saw her motivation in every action, even if Noah and Echo hadn't.

The love story was sweet.  It was really nice to see McGarry take her time with Noah and allow him the opportunity to stumble through the process of acceptance.  So often characters like his have an awakening which isn't truly earned so I was happy that Noah's was.  He fought trust and love at ever turn, even after he discovered his feelings for Echo.  Those kinds of struggles are real and hard-won.  Echo, too, had issues accepting these things, though her reasons were different.  The need for normalcy overshadowed most of her decisions, something else I understood and appreciated; the need to please and be part of the herd.

The one wish I had was a greater understanding of Echo's mom.  She played such an integral part of the story and I get why she was absent from it, but I needed more.  The one scene in the cemetary didn't seem like enough to get the full picture.  I sensed there was more to her and was hoping to get to the meat of it, but we never fully got there.

But, altogether this was a fantastic book and I will gladly read the other books in this series.

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