Monday, 30 July 2012

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

They say be a good girl, get good grades, be popular.They know nothing about me. I can't remember the night that changed my life. The night I went from popular to loner freak. And my family are determined to keep it that way. They said therapy was supposed to help. They didn't expect Noah. Noah is the dangerous boy my parents warned me about. But the only one who'll listen. The only one who'll help me find the truth. I know every kiss, every promise, every touch is forbidden. But what if finding your destiny means breaking all the rules? A brave and powerful novel about loss, change and growing up, but most of all love.
I feel like this book has been all over the Blogsphere this summer so I was thrilled when I got my request accepted on NetGallery. I didn't realise it was almost 400 pages I could not put it down!
This book is everything you could ask for in a YA contemporary novel, a heroine you can connect to, a hot boy with depth, a unique yet familiar plot and utterly addictive!

What I loved:
  • Echo- I loved her character although she frustrated me- I loved so much about her its hard to put it into words! She was such a tragic character at the beginning, she'd isolated herself and had a fragmented memory. I related to her need to please and her authority issues even if it was frustrating. I liked how she grew stronger in herself throughout the book, stood up to her father, began to question and started to live for herself not others. I thought she was inspirational in the way she dealt with the the truth at the end (without spoiling the ending) she managed to work towards resolving all her personal and emotional loose ends as well as realising that she wasn't fully 'healed'. In my opinion this was very realistic, a lot of books wrap up mental and emotional issues like Echo's in one book. It was refreshing to have Echo acknowledge that she still had work to do.
  • Noah- He was my favourite! I loved his loyalty and devotion to his family. I admired how his experiences of foster care had changed his habits and degraded his belief in the system but he still kept his core values and ambition even if it was challenged by his devotion to his family. I found his situation so sad and frighteningly such a realistic one! I thought he was a highly compassionate person from his actions at his first foster home to his reaction to the way he treated Isaiah and Beth as family to Echo. Despite his reputation he really was a gentleman to his friend Beth and Echo. I genuinely think he was a perfect male lead flawed and troubled but reliable, compassionate and so suited to Echo! I loved his ending even though it was heart wrenching it was believable and happy.
  • Lila- I thought she was a great best friend. She supported Echo no matter what even when Echo was despondent she. unlike the other 'friends', never wavered. She put aside her hesitance of Noah for Echo. I loved how she knew High School wasn't the be all and end all of her life and encouraged Echo to live her life for herself. Great best friend.
  • Echo and Noah- Wow! Such perfect chemistry between them, they were drawn together unwillingly and by such traumatic circumstances but their relationship was still cute yet full of passion. I loved how they truly helped each other instead of one just 'saving' the other. I'm going to stop now before I gush too much!
  • Dual viewpoints- I love dual viewpoints! They add so much more depth to the characters and the plot by giving you two different versions. I loved seeing Echo and Noah through each others eyes especially Noah's opinion of Echo as she was so negative towards herself it was good to see her in a different much more positive light.
  • Plot- I really loved how the plot developed slowly building up to revelations for both Noah and Echo. The plot itself felt familiar but the themes and details were very unique. I liked how Katie McGarry added in mini twists and surprises throughout the book not just a big reveal at the end. It kept adding to the mystery and kept you interested
  • Ending First time I've been pleasantly shocked in a long time. No spoilers but I loved how Katie McGarry slowly built up Echo's lost night and it still wasn't quite how I'd imagined which I loved. Noah got a surprisingly positive ending with a bright future which I was really happy about as I hadn't quite pieced together how he could get that!
What I didn't love as much:

  • Luke- Echo's boyfriend from 'before'. I didn't dislike him as much as other people seemed too. I took him at face value for a jock guy who wanted to sleep with girls and party. I got the feeling that if Echo hadn't of experienced what she did they would still be together. Yes he could have been much more understanding and patient but so could a lot of high school boys. I didn't like him but I give him points for his honesty at the end!
  • Echo's family- I tried to be nice to her Dad as he was suffering too and he redeemed himself a little at the end. However he was controlling, dismissive and at times completely unloving towards Echo. He really did seem to keep her at arms length  which got explained but I still didn't understand it! Ashley, her step mother, was just insensitive, oblivious and seemed a bit stupid. She did say she didn't know how to treat Echo but some of the things she said were just so insensitive.  I did feel for them as it was a uniquely difficult and awkward situation but at the same time they'd had months to cooperate with group therapy etc... Plus I thought their relationship was kinda inappropriate! I won't even mention her mother as I don't want to spoil anything but she was highly selfish and rude!
  • Grace-  Awful friend! I got the impression she knew alot of Echo's 'story' but still refused to acknowledge her publicly in order to maintain her social standing. She was happy to force Echo in to a relationship with her ex irregardless of Echo's feelings as it made her 'able' to be 'public friends' with Echo. She also repeatedly mentioned that she felt Echo getting back to 'normal' aka socially acceptable was the most important thing. All in all a sadly typical 'popular' high school girl with a disgraceful lack of compassion for her 'friend'.

I loved it so much I'll be  impatiently waiting for Katie's next book- Dare You To which is Beth's story!
I cannot recommend this enough it is a beautifully written YA contemporary novel with very realistic characters and an engaging plot!

Let me know if you've read this or if you have any recommendations for me to read next!
Much Love!

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