PJV Quickie: With sympathetic characters and somber subject matter, debut author Katie McGarry has written an emotional story that is sure to keep your eyes glued to the pages.
Echo Emerson’s arms are covered with scars; she doesn’t know how she got them, only that her mother gave them to her. She can’t remember what happened, her mind refuses to let her remember. Now in her senior year of high school, she’s seeing a court-ordered counselor, which sucks almost as much as her home life – her brother died in Afghanistan, her father married her nanny, and there’s a restraining order keeping her mother away.
Noah Hutchins’ parents were killed in a car accident, leaving him and his two younger brothers alone. After he punched one of his foster parents in defense of another child, he was branded ‘troubled’ by the system and separated from his brothers. After being shuffled from home to home, his self-defense has been to get high and skate by. What he really wants though is to get the back so they can be a family again.
Although they got off to a rocky start, Echo and Noah are cute together. Despite their friends trying to keep them apart, romance is inevitable, especially after they agree to help each other reach their goals – by attempting to break into the counselor’s office to steal their records. BTW, I really liked the counselor – it’s nice to read a teen book where all the adults aren’t selfish idiots or worse. I enjoyed getting the POV of both characters, to see how they grew to care enough about the other to be willing to sacrifice their own desires in order to help the other achieve theirs.
A couple of gripes: I had a hard time with both Echo’s and Noah’s friends; both groups seemed more concerned with appearance and keeping up the status quo than whether or not Echo and Noah were happy (ie: Echo’s friends wanted her to date her asshat ex, and Noah’s friends wanted him to date anyone but Echo); Echo’s father seemed to also be in the same mindset *weird*. There was a lot of tension between the cliques in the school lunchroom, which for some reason drove me nuts. Also, without giving away spoilers, I also didn’t like how Echo was able to come to terms with her home life near the end. The subtext that I got was that ‘babies make everything better’, which is not an idea I’d be selling to teens.
While I am interested in the next book, I will probably wait until I can check it out from the library rather than purchase it myself.
Fans of ‘Good Girl/Bad Boy’ stories and damaged heros/heroines. If you like your YA contemporaries with lots of angst, you’re going to enjoy Pushing the Limits.
Other Novels you might like, similar to ‘Pushing the Limits’:
Almost by Anne Elliot
Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie (be forewarned, Callum & Harper is a good story but needs lots of editing)