PJV Quickie: Pushing the Limits was the first Young Adult Contemporary that I’ve read in a long time and I’m glad that I broke genre for this one.

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YA Contemproary Romance Novel,
 Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title:  Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Series:  Pushing the Limits #1
Type: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication: July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Source: Amazon Vine


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Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry came highly recommended to me, I mean HIGHLY recommended. I believe I had about five people offer to send me their copy. High praise right? Might as well give it a try. What the hell, right? About time I stepped away from the vampire.

The main characters of the novel are Echo and Noah. Echo was once the shinning star of her high school, on the dance team, accomplished artist, dating one of the hottest jocks at the school, until something happened. She missed the last month of school then showed up the following year wearing gloves and long-sleeved shirts, hiding from everyone. Now Echo, former popular girl is whispered about and mocked. Her own best-friend can’t even acknowledge their friendship in public. Her other friends and her family are trying to get her out of her shell and cope with the tragedy that forced her into this new way of living, but Echo is comfortable hiding. The State has other ideas though and through recommendations from Child Protective Services, Echo is forced to see a very aggressive counselor, who recommends that she take on a tutoring gig.

This is where Noah comes into the picture. Noah is your typical high-school burnout, bad-boy. Good looking, but obviously damaged, Noah has perfected that I-Don’t-Give-A-Crap attitude to tee. He’s failing his classes, he’s obviously doing drugs, has a reputation of sleeping around and pushes people away with nasty words and fists whenever he can. But, of course is pissed that no-one understands him. He is also hooked up with the very aggressive Mrs. Collins because he is a ward of the State and has been labeled unstable. Mrs. Collins seems to see through both Echo and Noah’s mental ailments and believes that pairing them up will be beneficial to both of them.

At first the two of them resist, but then eventually it does lead to a very romantic interplay between the two of them, in a real-world type of environment. As you can probably glean from the description it’s not all roses and chocolates when they do come together. Both of these teens are highly damaged and McGarry does a wonderful job of cementing you within their heads. The story is told from alternating POVs between Noah and Echo and it’s quite fabulous the way she handled these two characters. Both POVs were believable and touching as each character dealt with their problems in their own way. At times you wanted to scream as they made stupid mistakes, especially Noah, but at other times you wanted to melt as they worked through their problems and came to resolutions.

Overall McGarry did a wonderful job with Pushing the Limits. I liked both of the characters, thought their problems were a bit extreme, but were nothing out of the ordinary in today’s screwed up society. I liked how she revealed the central issues of both characters slowly as they both dealt with their problems in their own way. I also enjoyed how Echo and Noah both came to an understanding and self-awareness within the novels, understanding that they are not always right and the adults in the room are not always wrong. McGarry had a beautiful way of depicting families, strong bonds between friends and the struggle of relationships both in the adult characters and the main teen characters. This was by far the strongest pull within the novel. Teens sometimes have a hard time seeing outside of their own emotional struggles, getting past that bubble to understand that other people’s motivations are not always centered against or for their own benefit. McGarry paints these pictures of two struggling teens, but also the struggle of the people around them and how their problems impact the two main characters. It was well done and I’m glad I read Pushing The Limits.

While the story was a great read and the plot lead to resolutions in the end that had me happy and satisfied, I also knew that it was a very bubble-gum conclusion. Everyone is happy, birds are chirping, cue After School Special credits. The bad-boy turns into a teddy bear, the damaged teen girl finds love and comes to love herself. It wasn’t quite that easy, but the lines of the plot were obvious as they all intersected. Perfect for lovers of that Happily Ever After. Doubtful for pessimists like me that know that not all bad-boys are teddy-bears underneath…and “the right girl” can’t make them drop the pipe and wear a condom. But, don’t listen to me…we read books for happily ever afters, right? And Pushing the Limits delivers.

Team Noah, Pushing the Limits

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Recommendations: Recommended for fans of contemporary romance of the teen variety, young adult contemporary fans will not be disappointed. There is strong language, there is sexual interactions and drug use and strong topics of a violent variety.

If you like the bad-boys try these in the paranormal variety:

5 Stars [relatedratings=4]

Rachel Rivera