Sunday, 12 April 2015

Brianna Reviews // Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Published: 31st July 2012
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Format: Kindle
Synopsis: 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 came across this book in a round about way on Goodreads. Its loose sequel (4th book) Take Me On was nominated for best YA fiction and it’s cover caught my eye, having read the description it sounded really good, and although this series isn’t a strict series – they all take place in the same ‘world’ and some of the characters cross over, each book can be read like a true standalone – I had to start at the start. I downloaded the free sample, and bought the full book as soon as it finished. I’m not sure if I put my kindle down…

So we start off with Echo, when we meet her she is sort of reclusive, keeps to herself, a bit of a loner, but she wasn’t always that way, she used to be popular. That all changed one night when she ended up in the hospital. It was a night that left her arms covered in scars, a night she doesn’t remember. Her parents have split up, her brother died in Afghanistan, there is a court order stopping her mother from seeing her and her dad is in a relationship with her ex-childminder.

Now Noah is the ‘bad boy’ he skips school, his grades are poor, he smokes weed, drinks and often ends up in fights. Noah is a smart kid, his poor grades are a lack of effort and everything else is because in Noah’s mind what is the point, he doesn’t see anything in his future. Noah is also a Foster kid which is where is low expectations have come from.

Echo meets Noah in the school Councillor's office, and they definitely don’t get on, and they are from totally different worlds. Echo’s dad is fairly well off, Noah doesn’t even have a bed. Inevitably they do get together and fall in love, that’s no spoiler – it’s kind of the expectation. But what I really like about this book is how they get there. It’s not a straightforward love story, in fact I would argue that the love story is in the background because what this book is really about is Echo getting her confidence back, to be able to walk through the school without a jumper pulled down over her hands. For her to find out what did happen that night, to forgive her dad, come to terms with Ashley (the childminder) and to basically come to terms with the ways in which her life has changed and to take ownership of that. And with Noah, the story is really about him, his brothers (who were adopted unlike Noah) and the meaning of family. Yes they help each other through those events, support each other and fall in love, but what they gain in this story is much more than love.

Pushing the Limits is written from the POVs of Echo and Noah, roughly alternating between the two of them. It works well, especially as the characters in this book often outwardly show a different emotion to what they are feeling (I suppose everyone does) but the complexity of these emotions mean that it’s nice to be able to have an insight to what they are thinking. To understand why he just did that or why she said that. It also means you have a front row seat to watch how the way in which Noah and Echo think changes. I mean they essentially ‘grow up’ in this book, not all the way they still have some growing to do, which you can read happening in Breaking the Rules which comes into the series as #1.5 (if you enjoyed this book I recommend it... obviously).

Through this story I also fell in love with Noah’s best friend Isaiah and I even warmed up to Beth. I didn’t think much of Echo’s friends. I don’t know if it was just because I didn’t like them or because it doesn’t focus on them much you see a lot of Beth and Isaiah because they are a big part of Noah’s life.  I look forward to reading Dare You To (#2) and Crash into You (#3) and they focus on Beth and then Isaiah.

I might be repeating myself but I love the way this book deals with the issues Noah and Echo have, they aren’t magicked away, they aren’t perfectly fixed at the end. Basically this book deals with real life and it doesn’t give it fairytale endings but it does give a realistic and I think positive end
So in case you hadn’t realised I loved Pushing the Limits, I recommend it to everyone, and I’m going to hopefully devour the next in the series: Dare You To, which I bought as soon as I finished this (at work using wifi from someone’s phone… I needed it that badly).

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