Friday, July 27, 2012

Review + Giveaway: Pushing the Limits

Katie McGarry
Contemporary Young Adult
384 pages
Harlequin Teen
Releases July 31st
Gifted from Bailey at IB Book Blogging
Read as part of the All Male Review Challenge

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.

MY THOUGHTS
From the outside, Pushing the Limits appears to be a story we’ve seen before. For all intents and purposes Echo is the good girl, excelling academically and thriving socially prior to the incident that scarred her arms, and Noah is the quintessential bad boy, getting high and sleeping around as he waits to graduate. Forced into regular meetings with one another through the school therapist, they both suddenly find themselves having feelings for someone who’d they never have imagined would fit with them so perfectly. It’s all very familiar, but starting with page one of Echo and Noah’s tale Ms. McGarry rips away every reservation we have concerning a less-than unique premise, gifting us with characters who have physical and emotional scars so painful we take note of nothing outside of our desire to see them navigate their way through their current darkness and find their way to happiness.

Echo should be a troubling character for us in terms of forming a bond with her, being the type of young woman who, should we simply list out some of her most obvious character traits, would frustrate us to no end. She succumbs to any and all authority figures, caving to their needs and wants and placing them above her own, and she allows her friends to push her into a skin that no longer fits the girl she’s become since the night of her scarring without a single audible word of protest. Despite her shortcomings however, our hearts are with her from the beginning, and she’s like a present Ms. McGarry hands us personally to unwrap – our relationship with her poignant and deeply valued as we slowly peel back the trappings hiding her from us chapter by chapter until we finally find the beauty waiting beneath as a reward for our efforts.

Noah is atypically typical, appearing to have all the traits of contemporary high school bad boys in books past, but as with Echo, his entire character resonates with us from the moment we meet him, all the elements we thought we recognized fading away to become a personality that feels distinctly Noah, and one that could never be mistaken for anyone else. His love for his brothers is endearing and heart-wrenching as we watch him struggle to come to terms with what he thinks is best for them and what realistically is best, and we want nothing more than for this tale to take on a sudden paranormal twist wherein the pieces of Noah’s world are suddenly and magically fused back together to give him the life he had before the death of his parents. While our minds might wish for a supernatural intervention of the happily-ever-after variety, the true beauty of this tale lies in its normalcy, and the knowledge that nothing and no one is going to save either Echo or Noah but themselves.

Ms. McGarry truly stuns with Pushing the Limits, creating a pair of individuals who hold us captivated from beginning to end and have our hearts bleeding out onto the pages, combining with the black ink to fuse a piece of us to Echo and Noah forever. Alongside Echo and Noah’s rough journey to building new lives out of the tatters of their old ones is a brief glimpse of the intriguing relationship between Noah’s friends Isaiah and Beth, and Ms. McGarry brilliantly ensures that we’ve seen just enough to have us fixated on when we’ll get their likely equally painful story in all its glorious detail. With this tale, Ms. McGarry has secured herself a place on my list of favorites for the foreseeable future.

Rating: 4.5/5




  GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the wonderful people at Media Masters Publicity and Harlequin Teen, I have one copy of Pushing the Limits to give away on the blog today! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight on Friday, August 3rd after which time a winner will be chosen and emailed. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

58 comments:

  1. I love how you describe Echo, its EXACTLY how I felt. She was like a meek little kitten who grew up into a lion. Loved her!
    Fab review!

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    1. YES! I was like a proud mom when I was reading:)

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  2. I just skimmed your review, Jenny, as I have this one all set up to read shortly. I'm been hearing great things about this book and am very excited to read it!

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    1. YAY! I hope you love it:) It's got a Perfect Chemistry vibe to it, but it still felt like it's own story and I loved everything about it:)

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  3. Utterly brilliant and enjoyable review Jenny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so glad that despite the book appearing normal, it is actually something more. I really can't wait to read this book and fall in love with Noah and Echo's story as much as you did. It was beautiful to learn that Echo is deeper than what she appears on the surface.

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    1. I glossed over this book for a long time just because it did seem really familiar, but then I started reading rave reviews and decided to give it a try. So, so glad I did:)

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  4. This is such a beautiful review Jenny, when I went to pick this up I was a little wary at first, assuming it would be your typical bad boy falls for sweet innocent girl, but I'm glad that it provided so much more than that! :)

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    1. Yes! It was definitely more than that I thought, and I was so glad. I know Ashley pissed you off to no end, but I'm glad you still enjoyed this book!

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  5. Another book I have heard only good things about :D And I do like that it's more than the cliche

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  6. Absolutely beautiful review, Jenny! :)
    I loved loved loved how you describe the characters. You got their descriptions perfectly! I'm really glad to see that you enjoyed the book so much and that Katie McGarry made it into your top authors list.
    I agree with every single point you made.
    I'm really glad you liked the book, Jenny! <3

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    1. It was SO GOOD Nick! I loved every second of it and I need Beth's story immediately! Can't wait to read more of Katie's work:)

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  7. OOOO Jenny! I knew you were going to like it as much as I did!!!!!!!!!!! "to see them navigate their way through their current darkness and find their way to happiness" This story and the character broke my heart and both got a place in my little heart forever. You knot it's a good story when the characters stay with you, even after finishing the last page... !

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    1. Yesssss:) I have so much love for Echo and Noah! I'm still thinking about them and I read this weeks ago:)

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  8. I love your review, Jenny! And I'm so happy you loved this too! I agree with everything you've said. Kate McGarru is indeed a very wonderful author, she did a very beautiful and stunning job in writing Noah and Echo's story. I look forward reading more of her books! :D

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    1. Me too! I'm really excited for Beth's story, though I have no doubt it's going to make me cry like a little girl:)

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  9. OH MY GOSH I LOVE THIS REVIEW, JENNY!!!!!! It's so beautiful and perfectly captures what I loved so much about Pushing The Limits. I'm honestly in half a mind to just copy paste your review as mine, and at the end say 'thanks to Jenny @ SS for this great review'. Seriously!! At first I also thought that Echo would be really difficult to get along with and to relate to, but I started rooting for her, and I found her to be so relatable. And Noah.... *sigh* By golly he ROCKS!!! Katie rocks!!! You rock!!! Haha thanks for the lovely review, Jenny sweetie! <333

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    1. Hahahaha you're welcome to it ;-) I thought the same about Echo initially and then I started reading and couldn't not love her. And don't even get me started on Noah or I'll leave the longest gushing reply comment ever:) <3

      Also, you are adorable. That is all.

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  10. I love the idea of being our own heroes. Especially for women. I think it's one of the core ideas for feminism and I am pro-women empowerment. =)) Reading this review completely reversed my prejudice against this book. I'd be happy to read it!

    Beautiful review, Jenny :D

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    1. Yay! I hope you like it Gellie:) Echo struggles through the whole thing and it takes a long time for her to shake the immediate desire to succumb to her dad, her stepmom, and her friends, but I really enjoyed her:)

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  11. I felt the same way with Noah and his story. It broke my heart and made me love him so much more. Great review. :)

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  12. Okay. You have convinced me. Pushing the Limits is now on my wishlist. :)

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    1. YAY YAY YAY! I hope you like it:)

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  13. YES!!!!!!!!!! Your review is perfect. I loved this book so much, the ending really surprised me, I loved watching them grow as individuals and the book not being Ill throw everything away for some guy/some girl. It felt authentic.....;)

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    1. Exactly. I loved how their relationship developed and how they dealt with things:) LOVED. IT.

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  14. I'm SO thrilled you fell for this one like I did! The romance is so real and addictive, hot and beautiful, just WOW. So ecstatic that this book is being so well-received. LOVE.

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    1. YESSSSSSSSSSS. I'm a total Katie McGarry fangirl now:)

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  15. I LOVED this book so much. I agree with every word of this review! Even as I am new to contemporary, I found this to be a perfect contemp for me because it is romance-contemp + issues-contemp. A perfect mix. Great thoughts, Jenny!!

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    1. ME TOO! I loved the romance and the issues, and normally I'm an anti-issue kind of girl. I just couldn't get enough of Noah and Echo though!

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  16. Poor Echo really does let herself get pushed around so much! She tries to put on a good front but only really succeeds in making herself miserable. I think this happens to a lot of high schoolers--a very relatable book.

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    1. She did. And normally a girl like that would drive me crazy and I'd want to tell her to stick up for herself, but instead I just wanted to curl around her and protect her from the world:)

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  17. It sure did seem like every other book out there but I'm glad it's different and there is more to it than just the surface. I love character development so Echo's change sounds awesome!

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    1. Echo was brilliant I thought. She was vulnerable and painful to read about, but by the end I was extraordinarily proud of her:)

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  18. Oh, Jenny! I just love you and your reviews and your review of this is just amazing, flawless and absolutely beautiful!!! You always seem to express my thoughts perfectly - we must be thought twins for this book!

    'characters who have physical and emotional scars so painful we take note of nothing outside of our desire to see them navigate their way through their current darkness and find their way to happiness' You kinda broke my heart with that line, Jenny and you reminded me of how much I enjoyed the book too <3

    'His love for his brothers is endearing and heart-wrenching' So so true!!! I sobbed in every scene that Noah shared with his brothers!

    Thank you for writing another review so beautiful that it is more like a piece of art <3

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    1. Thank you so much Beverley! I think that's one of the nicest things anyone's ever said to me! I'm so glad you loved this book as much as I did:)

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  19. This book is getting so much buzz! Another great review. How can you not love a bad boy who looks after his brothers? I am starting this one this weekend for the read along. I hope I love Noah and Echo as much as you. Have a great weekend,Jenny.

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    1. Right? Noah loves those boys so much and I just wanted to hug him:)

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  20. This is one of my favourite reviews for this book! You said it all perfectly, Jenny. I loved this book too and couldn't help but cry all over it. Noah and his younger brothers got to me especially. It would have been lovely to get the happily ever after for them that I wanted... even though it did sort of work out in the end. :) I can't wait to read Beth's story next!

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    1. Thank you Sam! It's possible my book was a little waterlogged from tears by the time I reached the end as well. Couldn't help it:)

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  21. I'm so with you on this one. I loved it and I'm not a big contemp reader in YA. I cried too in this one especially when she dealt with her brother's death. Oh I could curse the author for that. :) Yep, I'm a fan of hers now as well.

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    1. I just hurt for Echo. I wanted to reach in and rewrite the past couple years of her life, especially her brother:(

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  22. Awesome review and thanks for the giveaway! I loved this book so much!! Echo is an amazing character with an awesome story to tell. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

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  23. Huh. I've seen this and figured it was some YA romance with bumps in the road; kind of like you described in the beginning of your review. After reading the review, though, I have to say I'm actually interested in this book. Thanks.

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  24. great review, Jenny! I got this book at RT and can't wait to read it.

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  25. I really liked this one too, Jenny. I was reading it on the subway and the ending - especially when Noah decides what to do with his brothers - made me all teary. Awkward; hopefully no one was staring!

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  26. I know better than to read your reviews before I write my own! It was a great story. Very hard for me to put into words how it made me feel. Definitely a keeper.
    You did a great job saying it for me. Really great review!

    Heather

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  27. I just finished this book a couple days back and I thought it was amazing! Katie McGarry has definitely found a fan in me! :)

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  28. Fantastic review, Jenny! I'm joining the readalong for it and can't WAIT to finally give it a try. Everyone seems to completely love it and it definitely sounds promising she earned a spot on your list of favorites!

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  29. I loved this story sooo much, Jenny. So glad you did too. I want my very own copy of this so thank you for the lovely giveaway. Wonderful review. :)

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  30. I've heard great things about this book, it's now a must read for me. Great review.

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  31. When you list Echo's characteristics like that, she does seem like the kind of character who would potentially bother me. But I wasn't at all-I was drawn into her problems and easily able to sympathize with her. Thanks for the food for thought.

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  32. Sorry, I was so excited that I can see the "US/Canadian Only" until I entered :(

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  33. Awesome review Jenny! I have heard nothing but good about this one and the cover alone makes me want to read it but wow what a gorgeous review!!! Honestly Noah and Echo sounds so engaging and the storyline itself sounds so interesting. Lovely review as usual!!!! After reading your review I have this crazy urge to read Pushing the Limits even more than I wanted to before!!!! Thanks for sharing :-)

    SeeitORreadit


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  34. YESSSSSS!! I'm SO glad you loved this Jenny!!! (everytime I read a review where the blogger REALLY enjoyed the book, I literally start jumping up and down in happiness!) I agree with everything you mentioned! it definitely seems like a typical contemporary read-on the surface, Noah is like every other 'bad boy', but I absolutely loved the 'real' him. His love for his brothers and struggle to be with them was certainly endearing and heart-wrenching!!! Gahhhh I seriously LOVEED it, and YAYYY YOU LOVED IT TOO! ( I just HAD to say that again! ) Anyway, FANTASTIC review Jennyyyy!!!

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  35. Great review, Jenny! I really enjoyed this book as well! It took me by surprise and I was immediately hooked. McGarry is definitely one of my "new" favorite authors. I'm glad you enjoyed this one too.

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  36. I just finished this book two days ago...LOVED IT! Great review! I honestly thought it would be another "Same story, Pretty Cover" type! I was so happy I was wrong. I couldn't put the darn book down. I finished it the same day I got it!

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