Published on: May 1st 2013
Published by: Harlequin
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Genre: YA Romance
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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.
This book was everything I hoped it would be and it held my attention from page one right until the very end. I’m a sucker for characters with tough backgrounds coming together and having the type of romance that heals them. But this coming of age story was just so much more and Katie McGarry managed to write a story so tragically heartbreaking and beautifully inspiring all at the same time.
“Sometimes life happens.“
I really liked that this book was written as a dual POV. Getting to see both Echo and Noah’s stories from their own POV but also from the other persons too and the reactions and emotions that came with it was perfect. Plus I really love seeing romances from both POV’s, especially when it’s not immediately obvious to the characters that they have feelings for each other, and so reading about them both discovering those feelings was great.
“Luke used to give me butterflies. Noah spawned mutant pterodactyls”
Echo starts this book in a very frustrating place in that she has been through this big traumatic experience that has left her with both physical and mental scars but has no memory of the event and nobody want’s to clue her in and would rather she remembers it herself (or not at all in her father’s case). She is a very vulnerable but fierce person and is extremely protective over herself and her scars which she hides from everyone as well as pushing away anyone who used to be close to her. Her situation at the start of the book is a pretty sad one, but as the story develops she starts to accept who she is and gains the confidence to show the rest of the world too.
“I must have killed a lot of cows in a past life for Karma to hate me this much.”
When we first meet Noah he is the bad boy, one night stand, ‘gets high behind the bike shed’ kind of boy. But we very quickly learn that this is all a facade and what’s underneath is a broken teenager who has been put through some extremely tough times and is fighting to make things better for himself and his two little brothers who have recently just been orphaned by the death of their parents. Noah spends the majority of the first half of this book thinking the world is against him and suspicious of everyone around him, especially the foster parents of his younger brothers who he is sure are abusing his brothers. Noah’s character development has got to be my favourite in this book as he does a lot of growing up and has to accept some tough realities and make some big sacrifices which made him such an easy character to love and route for.
“Because growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good.”
The two are forced together when their school counselor arranges for Echo to tutor Noah. Although both resistant to work together at first (Noah only doing so because he needs to prove he has turned his life around in order to be considered for custody of his younger brothers) they soon realise that they have a lot more in common then they think and feelings slowly start to build. But their relationship is a rocky one. They are not great with the whole communication thing and their is a lot of just assumption going on, especially from Echo, which causes more issues and slows the whole thing down. Echo and Noah’s romance is not instant, which makes it all the better in my opinion. They go from not really liking each other, to a friendship of convenience, to friends, to a relationship. They become the most important person in the others life, and ultimately the one that gets them through.
“The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on the street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived…For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scars than life.”
The issues this book deals with are very serious. Abuse. Neglect. Truth. Lies. Love. Death. Healing. The intensity of the bond between siblings. The type of romance that can save your life. There are times when it can get heavy, and deep and gut-wrenchingly emotional. But it is such a beautiful story of how sometimes it just needs the right person to break through the damaged exterior to help heal a person on the inside.
“Her eyes met mine again. “So what does this mean for us?”
I lowered my forehead to hers. “It means you’re mine.” “
An incredible start to the series this book has a happy-for-now ending (with the promise of more appearances by Echo and Noah in future books in the series) but after all the heartache in the book, I would have liked a glimpse maybe 5 years into the future so see how things had worked out for them.
Re-Readability: Hells Yes!
I would recommend this book to fans of: damaged characters, healing romances, YA romance, books set in high school