Pushing the Limits

( 196 )


"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise."

Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins?

His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?"

No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

"An edgy ...

See more details below
BN.com price
(Save 23%)$17.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (18) from $4.40   
  • New (8) from $10.55   
  • Used (10) from $4.40   
Note: Visit our Teens Store.


"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise."

Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins?

His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?"

No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

"An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!"-Gena Showalter, New York Times bestselling author of the Intertwined series

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter@KatieMcGarry,

Read More Show Less
  • Pushing the Limits
    Pushing the Limits  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a novel brimming with dark memories, veiled secrets, and steamy moments, first-time author McGarry introduces two teenagers struggling to regain normalcy after their lives have been shattered by separate tragedies. When high school social worker Mrs. Collins asks Echo, a senior, to tutor Noah, she agrees, even though Noah has the reputation of being a “girl-using stoner boy.” Though the students initially clash, they discover they have something in common: both are desperate to look at their personal files, housed in Mrs. Collins’s office. Noah wants to locate his younger brothers, who were placed in a separate foster home, and Echo needs to know the truth about an incident—wiped from her memory—that left her arms badly scarred and led to a restraining order against her mother. As the teens hatch their plan, they begin to fall in love. This somewhat sensationalized “opposites attract” romance may dwell a little too long on Noah’s infatuation with Echo’s red hair and large breasts, but its suspenseful plot, dramatic conflicts, and tragic characters will keep readers engrossed. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
Echo needs money to fix her brother's car. She just wants the pain to go away. Noah needs better grades. Without them, he has no hope of reuniting his family. When Eastwick High's new clinical social worker suggests Echo tutor Noah, neither likes the arrangement. And why should they? Their reputations precede them. Because Echo disappears at the end of her sophomore year and returns withdrawn, rumors circulate that she's a cutter. She would rather ignore the hurtful comments than set the record straight—that her mother inflicted the injuries. Having lost his parents in a fire, Noah then loses himself. Once well-liked and college-bound, he tries to work within the system of foster care but turns to drugs when the system repeatedly fails him. When he loses his little brothers to that same system, he swears he will do anything to get them back. The teens' mutual distrust of each other quickly evaporates as they realize that neither one is the cookie-cutter character they've been labeled. While Echo fights the attraction she holds toward Noah, both of them ultimately recognize the qualities within each other that make trust and love not only possible but inevitable. Told in first person from the points of view of both Echo and Noah, the story embraces the theme of an unlikely match between troubled teens who, in the process of seeking normalcy, end up helping both themselves and each other. While the book will undoubtedly hold the interest of a teenage girl, so much of the story is contrived with the thoughts attributed to each ringing false. A more believable, decidedly better-written book addressing the same theme is Sarah Dessen's Just Listen. Reviewer: Bonita Herold
VOYA - Laura Woodruff
High school senior, Echo Emerson, cannot remember what happened. She knows she was with her mother when she was severely, almost fatally, cut, leading to ugly scars on her arms, but everything else is gone. She has trouble sleeping and cannot resume her popular high school role, although her friends try to help her and her boyfriend is still interested. Enter handsome, bad boy Noah, living in a foster home after the death of his parents and consumed with the goal of becoming guardian of his two younger brothers. These teens form a pact to get possession of their files from Mrs. Collins, the new school counselor—Echo to discover her missing memory and Noah to find the address of his brothers' foster parents. In the process, each one finds comfort and support in the other, leading eventually to healing and true love. Written in diary format with alternating chapters for Echo and Noah, this highly dramatic first novel is a lengthy account of two damaged, suffering teenagers. Short on plot but brimming with sexual tension, Pushing The Limits is likely to appeal, especially to teenage girls. Publisher Harlequin Teen is conducting an enormous marketing and promotional campaign in social media, as well as traditional formats, ensuring healthy sales for this title. Buyers should be aware of language and sexual content issues. Reviewer: Laura Woodruff
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—High school seniors Echo and Noah have regular therapy sessions with the school's clinical social worker. Both struggle to understand past traumatic experiences that have left them scarred, and both need help to move forward. As part of the therapy, Echo is enlisted as Noah's tutor. Their initial resistance to this arrangement eventually blossoms into a romantic relationship, defying the school's social stratifications. Echo is grappling with numerous tragedies, including the death of her brother, her mother's bipolar disorder, the remarriage of her father to her childhood nanny, and an accident that has disfigured her body and left her unable to remember the traumatic event. Noah feels responsible for the house fire that killed both of his parents and forced him and his younger brothers into foster care. His deteriorating academic performance, habitual marijuana use, and reputation for sleeping around have cemented his reputation as the school's bad boy. Plot pacing keeps the story moving along to a satisfying, if predictable, conclusion. Some readers may be concerned about Noah making statements that imply that he owns Echo, such as when he declares that he "claimed" her and "I did just mark my territory." Filled with amorous descriptive passages such as "I gazed into her beautiful green eyes and her fear melted" and "enjoying the teasing taste of her tongue," this poignant narrative, which is told in the two protagonists' alternating voices, will find a following among those who enjoy contemporary teen romances.—Babara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, NY
Kirkus Reviews
This intense and intriguing debut delves into the psychological difficulties of two teens who fall in love. Echo can't remember the night her mother apparently tried to kill her. She wears long sleeves and gloves to hide the awful scars left on her arms from that night. Noah lost his parents in a fire but saved his two younger brothers. Now all are in foster care, but Noah has been separated from his brothers and is determined to gain custody of them when he turns 18. Meanwhile, Echo and Noah meet and are instantly but secretly attracted to each other, even though Noah has developed a "bad boy" image. Both see Mrs. Collins, an experienced psychologist, as their school counselor, and neither wants to trust her. McGarry follows the teens as they interact, fall in love, fight and work through their difficulties. Told in alternating chapters for both Echo and Noah, the story slowly uncovers the teens' secrets and builds to resolutions for both. While the romance will attract many readers, it serves mainly as the framework for a psychological examination of the two as they work through their problems. Although a bit overlong, the story remains interesting and sometimes compulsively readable throughout. Outwardly different but inwardly similar, Echo and Noah just might make it. A probing, captivating story. (Romance. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
"This intense and intriguing debut delves into the psychological difficulties of two teens who fall in love ... A probing, captivating story." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This poignant narrative, which is told in the two protagonists' alternating voices, will find a following among those who enjoy contemporary teen romances." -- School and Library Journal

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373210497
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 139,069
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

"My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has…well…issues. How do you think I'm doing?"
That's how I would have loved to respond to Mrs. Collins's question, but my father placed too much importance on appearance for me to answer honestly. Instead, I blinked three times and said, "Fine."
Mrs. Collins, Eastwick High's new clinical social worker, acted as if I hadn't spoken. She shoved a stack of files to the side of her already cluttered desk and flipped through various papers. My new therapist hummed when she found my three-inch-thick file and rewarded herself with a sip of coffee, leaving bright red lipstick on the curve of the mug. The stench of cheap coffee and freshly sharpened pencils hung in the air.
My father checked his watch from the chair to my right and, on my left, the Wicked Witch of the West shifted impatiently. I was missing first period calculus, my father was missing some very important meeting, and my stepmother from Oz? I'm sure she was missing her brain.
"Don't you just love January?" Mrs. Collins asked as she opened my file. "New year, new month, new slate to start over on." Not even waiting for a reply, she continued, "Do you like the curtains? I made them myself."
In one synchronized movement, my father, my stepmother and I turned our attention to the pink polka-dotted curtains hanging on the windows overlooking the student parking lot. The curtains were too Little House on the Prairie with the color scheme of a bad rave for my taste. Not a single one of us answered and our silence created a heavy awkwardness.
My father's BlackBerry vibrated. With exaggerated effort, he pulled it out of his pocket and scrolled down the screen. Ashley drummed her fingers over her bloated belly and I read the various handpainted plaques hanging on the wall so I could focus on anything that wasn't her.
Failure is your only enemy. The only way up is to never look down. We succeed because we believe. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Okay—so that last one didn't make the wall of sayings, but I would have found it amusing.
Mrs. Collins reminded me of an overgrown Labrador retriever with her blond hair and much too friendly attitude. "Echo's ACT and SAT scores are fabulous. You should be very proud of your daughter." She gave me a sincere smile, exposing all of her teeth.
Start the timer. My therapy session had officially begun. Close to two years ago, after the incident, Child Protective Services had "strongly encouraged" therapy—and Dad quickly learned that it was better to say yes to anything "strongly encouraged." I used to go to therapy like normal people, at an office separate from school. Thanks to an influx in funding from the state of Kentucky and an overenthusiastic social worker, I'd become part of this pilot program. Mrs. Collins's sole job was to deal with a few kids from my high school. Lucky me.
My father sat up taller in his seat. "Her math scores were low. I want her to retake the tests."
"Is there a bathroom nearby?" Ashley interrupted. "The baby loves to sit on my bladder."
More like Ashley loved to make everything about her. Mrs. Collins gave her a strained smile and pointed to the door. "Go out to the main hallway and take a right."
The way she maneuvered out of her chair, Ashley acted as if she carried a thousand-pound ball of lead instead of a tiny baby. I shook my head in disgust, which only drew my father's ice-cold stare.
"Mr. Emerson," Mrs. Collins continued once Ashley left the room, "Echo's scores are well above the national average and, according to her file, she's already applied to the colleges of her choice."
"There are some business schools with extended deadlines I'd like her to apply to. Besides, this family does not accept 'above average.' My daughter will excel." My father spoke with the air of a deity. He might as well have added the phrase so let it be written, so let it be done. I propped my elbow on the armrest and hid my face in my hands.
"I can see that this really bothers you, Mr. Emerson," Mrs. Collins said in an annoyingly even tone. "But Echo's English scores are close to perfect…."
And this was where I tuned them out. My father and the previous guidance counselor had this fight my sophomore year when I took the PSAT. Then again last year when I took the SAT and ACT for the first time. Eventually, the guidance counselor learned my father always won and started giving up after one round.
My test scores were the least of my concerns. Finding the money to fix Aires' car was the worry that plagued my brain. Since Aires' death, my father had remained stubborn on the subject, insisting we should sell it.
"Echo, are you happy with your scores?" asked Mrs. Collins.
I peeked at her through the red, curly hair hanging over my face. The last therapist understood the hierarchy of our family and talked to my father, not me. "Excuse me?"
"Are you happy with your ACT and SAT scores? Do you want to retake the tests?" She folded her hands and placed them on top of my file. "Do you want to apply to more schools?"
I met my father's tired gray eyes. Let's see. Retaking the tests would mean my father hounding me every second to study, which in turn would mean me getting up early on a Saturday, blowing the whole morning frying my brain and then worrying for weeks over the results. As for applying to more schools? I'd rather retake the tests. "Not really."
The worry lines forever etched around his eyes and mouth deepened with disapproval. I changed my tune. "My dad is right. I should retake the tests."
Mrs. Collins scratched away in my file with a pen. My last therapist had been highly aware of my authority issues. No need to rewrite what was already there.
Ashley waddled back into the room and dropped into the seat next to me. "What did I miss?" I'd honestly forgotten she existed. Oh, if only Dad would, too.
"Nothing," my father replied.
Mrs. Collins finally lifted her pen from the page. "Ask Mrs. Marcos for the next testing dates before you go to class. And while I'm playing the role of guidance counselor, I'd like to discuss your schedule for the winter term. You've filled your free periods with multiple business classes. I was wondering why."
The real answer, because my father told me to, would probably irritate multiple people in the room so I ad-libbed, "They'll help prepare me for college." Wow. I'd said that with all the enthusiasm of a six-year-old waiting for a flu shot. Bad choice on my part. My father shifted in his seat again and sighed. I considered giving a different answer, but figured that reply would also come off flat.
Mrs. Collins perused my file. "You've shown an incredible talent in the arts, specifically painting. I'm not suggesting you drop all of your business courses, but you could drop one and take an art class instead."
"No," my father barked. He leaned forward in his seat, steepling his fingers. "Echo won't be taking any art classes, is that clear?" My father was a strange combination of drill instructor and Alice's white rabbit: he always had someplace important to go and enjoyed bossing everyone else around.
I had to give Mrs. Collins credit; she never once flinched before she caved. "Crystal."
"Well, now that we've settled that." Ashley and her baby bump perched on the edge of the chair, preparing to stand. "I accidentally overbooked today and I have an OB appointment. We may find out the baby's gender."
"Mrs. Emerson, Echo's academics aren't the reason for this meeting, but I understand if you need to leave." She withdrew an official letter from her top drawer as a red-faced Ashley sat back in her seat. I'd seen that letterhead several times over the past two years. Child Protective Services enjoyed killing rainforests.
Mrs. Collins read the letter to herself while I secretly wished I would spontaneously combust. Both my father and I slouched in our seats. Oh, the freaking joy of group therapy.
While waiting for her to finish reading, I noticed a stuffed green frog by her computer, a picture of her and some guy—possibly her husband—and then on the corner of her desk a big blue ribbon. The fancy kind people received when they won a competition. Something strange stirred inside me. Huh—weird.
Mrs. Collins hole-punched the letter and then placed it in my already overwhelmed file. "There. I'm officially your therapist."
When she said nothing else, I drew my gaze away from the ribbon to her. She was watching me. "It's a nice ribbon, isn't it, Echo?"
My father cleared his throat and sent Mrs. Collins a death glare. Okay, that was an odd reaction, but then again, he was irritated just to be here. My eyes flickered to the ribbon again. Why did it feel familiar? "I guess."
Her eyes drifted to the dog tags I absently fingered around my neck. "I'm very sorry for your family's loss. What branch of the armed forces?"
Great. My father was going to have a stinking coronary. He'd only made it clear seventy-five times that Aires' dog tags were to stay in the box under my bed, but I needed them today—new therapist, the two-year anniversary of Aires' death still fresh, and the first day of my last semester of high school. Nausea skipped and played in my intestines. Avoiding my father's disappointed frown, I took great pains to search my hair for split ends.
"Marine," my father answered curtly. "Look, I've got a meeting this morning with prospective clients, I promised Ashley I'd go to her doctor's appointment and Echo's missing class. When are we going to wrap this up?"
"When I say so. If you're going to make these sessions difficult, Mr. Emerson, I will be more than happy to call Echo's social worker."
I fought the smile tugging at my lips. Mrs. Collins played a well-choreographed hand. My father backed down, but my stepmother on the other hand.
"I don't understand. Echo turns eighteen soon. Why does the state still have authority over her?"
"Because it's what the state, her social worker and myself think is in her best interest." Mrs. Collins closed my file. "Echo will continue therapy with me until she graduates this spring. At that point, the state of Kentucky will release her—and you."
She waited until Ashley nodded her silent acceptance of the situation before continuing. "How are you doing, Echo?"
Splendid. Fantastic. Never worse. "Fine."
"Really?" She tapped a finger against her chin. "Because I would have thought that the anniversary of your brother's death might trigger painful emotions."
Mrs. Collins eyed me while I stared blankly in return. My father and Ashley watched the uncomfortable showdown. Guilt nagged at me. She didn't technically ask me a question, so in theory, I didn't owe her a response, but the need to please her swept over me like a tidal wave. But why? She was another therapist in the revolving door. They all asked the same questions and promised help, but each of them left me in the same condition as they found me—broken.
"She cries." Ashley's high-pitched voice cut through the silence as if she were dispensing juicy country-club gossip. "All the time. She really misses Aires."
Both my father and I turned our heads to look at the blonde bimbo. I willed her to continue while my father, I'm sure, willed her to shut up. God listened to me for once. Ashley went on, "We all miss him. It's so sad that the baby will never know him."
And once again, welcome to the Ashley show, sponsored by Ashley and my father's money. Mrs. Collins wrote briskly, no doubt etching each of Ashley's unguarded words into my file while my father groaned.
"Echo, would you like to talk about Aires during today's session?" Mrs. Collins asked.
"No." That was possibly the most honest answer I'd given all morning.
"That's fine," she said. "We'll save him for a later date. What about your mother? Have you had any contact with her?"
Ashley and my father answered simultaneously, "No," while I blurted, "Kind of."
I felt like the middle of a ham sandwich the way the two of them leaned toward me. I wasn't sure what prompted me to tell the truth. "I tried calling her over break." When she didn't answer, I'd sat next to the phone for days, hoping and praying my mother would care that two years before, my brother, her son, had died.
My father ran a hand over his face. "You know you're not allowed to have contact with your mother." The anger in his voice hinted that he couldn't believe I'd told the therapist this tantalizing tidbit. I imagined visions of social workers dancing in his head. "There is a restraining order. Tell me, Echo, landline or cell phone?"
"Landline," I choked out. "But we never talked. I swear."
He swiped at his BlackBerry and his lawyer's number appeared on the screen. I clutched the dog tags, Aires' name and serial number embedding in my palm. "Please, Daddy, don't," I whispered.
He hesitated and my heart pressed against my rib cage. Then, by the grace of God, he dropped the phone to his lap. "We're going to have to change the number now."
I nodded. It stunk that my mom would never be able to call my home, but I'd take the hit.. for her. Of all the things my mother needed, prison wasn't one of them.
"Have you had contact with your mother since then?" Mrs. Collins lost her friendliness.
"No." I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Everything inside of me ached. I couldn't keep up the "I'm fine" facade much longer. This line of questioning ripped at my soul's freshly scabbed wounds.
"To confirm we're on the same page, you understand that contact between you and your mother while there is a restraining order, even if you initiate it, is forbidden."
"Yes." I took another gulp of air. The lump in my throat denied the entry of the precious oxygen. I missed Aires and, God, my mom, and Ashley was having a baby, and my dad was on me all the time, and.I needed something, anything.
Against my better judgment, I let the words tumble out of my mouth. "I want to fix Aires' car." Maybe, just maybe, restoring something of his would make the pain go away.
"Oh, not this again," my father muttered.
"Wait. Not what again? Echo, what are you talking about?" asked Mrs. Collins.
I stared at the gloves on my hands. "Aires found a 1965 Corvette in a scrap yard. He spent all of his free time fixing it up and he was almost done before he went to Afghanistan. I want to restore it. For Aires." For me. He didn't leave anything behind when he left, except the car.
"That sounds like a healthy way to grieve. What are your thoughts on this, Mr. Emerson?" Mrs. Collins gave great puppy dog eyes—a trait I had yet to master.
My father scrolled again through his BlackBerry, his body present but his mind already at work. "It costs money and I don't see the point in fixing up a broken-down car when she has a car that works."
"Then let me get a job," I snapped. "And we can sell my car once I get Aires' working."
All eyes were on him and now his were on me. Without meaning to, I'd backed him into a corner. He wanted to say no, but that would bring down the wrath of the new therapist. After all, we had to be perfect in therapy. God forbid we take advantage of it and hash out some issues.
"Fine, but she has to pay for the car herself, and Echo knows my rules regarding employment. She has to find a flexible job that will not interfere with her schoolwork, the clubs we agreed upon or her grades. Now, are we done here?"
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 196 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 196 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

    Almost perfect

    The only thing that could have made it better would have been some hot sex. Or sex at all for that matter.

    14 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I am crushing on Noah Hutchins in a big way. Nothing gets me lik

    I am crushing on Noah Hutchins in a big way. Nothing gets me like a bad boys who's really a good guy at heart. The best of both worlds. But I loved Echo too. (And her name and what it meant to the story) She tugged at my heart strings and I was constantly rooting for her, so sympathetic to her pain. What a fabulous, well spun story. It never shied away from very dark topics, yet left me smiling more times than I can count with it's smartly placed humor. I couldn't put this book down and I can't wait to get my hands on DARE YOU TO because the supporting characters in PUSHING THE LIMITS were wonderful and I absolutely want to learn more about them.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2012


    Just not a good story. Sorry, author. The characters were two-dimensional and the dialogue totally unrealistic, especially Echo's father. Author tried way too hard to make her characters seem troubled and ostracized from society. Nothing remotely interesting about this book. Waste of money and time. And the cover's really cheesy/hideous.

    5 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I finished Reading Pushing the Limits in the wee hours of this m

    I finished Reading Pushing the Limits in the wee hours of this morning, allotting me 4 precious hours of sleep, but it was so worth it! I finished this book in one sitting, unable to put it down, completely swept up in the story and all of the emotion it brought to out of me. And believe me, the box of tissues I stopped reading to retrieve were quite necessary.

    Each character fit so precisely into the plot, was so relatable, that I either loved them or hated them. There was no middle ground for me, but I did change my mind about one or two of them throughout the story. I very much enjoyed how each characters place had been revealed and distinguished a bit more throughout the story, as opposed to all up front, giving me a chance to feel involved in the story line. A beautiful plot, beautifully executed.

    Katie McGarry touched my heart throughout the book. She had a firm grasp on the subject matter, it was all so possible and believable. Anyone who has ever lived even a smidgen of this story would have to agree. Anyone who understands the intensity of young true love and how it can change one at the core of their being will understand and love this book

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great contemporary novel

    Pushing the Limits is a beautiful story of love, loss, and forgiveness. Told in alternating points of view, switching between first-person Noah and first-person Echo, Pushing the Limits tells the story of two broken teenagers who find strength within each other. Both Echo and Noah have their own unique, tragic, and heartbreaking stories of loss. McGarry switches from one POV to the next smoothly, and all of the characters are well-developed. There is just enough suspense and mystery to keep the book interesting, but not so much that it overwhelms the romance between Noah and Echo. This is truly a story for everyone.

    I think that almost everyone has been picked on in high school. Because of that, Echo is easy to relate to. You can't help but feel bad for her. She used to have it all, then after something horrible happened to her, she lost everything. Her desire for normalcy annoyed me, but that is only because I know (now that I'm an old woman of 30) that normal is overrated and doesn't actually exist. It seems to be one of those things that most people strive for, but no one can achieve. However, she's a likable character, and she grows so much over the course of the novel. I really enjoyed watching her come to terms with her past and figure out her future.

    Noah is a bit frustrating, too, but also likable. He's definitely a flawed hero. He's extremely emotionally damaged from the death of his parents and loss of his brothers to the foster system. He's in the system, too, and has had awful luck with foster parents. Because of this, he tends to lash out at people and be a jerk for no reason. He, also, wanted to get his version of normal and wanted to rebuild his family. I wanted to shake him at times and tell him that you can't go back in time. He grows as much as Echo does throughout the novel, and I also enjoyed watching him come to terms with everything.

    The plot itself is beautiful, and the romance is sweet. The way Noah and Echo supported each other and never judged one another is touching. The story line is intriguing. Echo lost her memory of the night she received her scars, and throughout the book she remembers more and more from that fateful day. Because of that, I was engaged throughout the novel, putting the pieces together, right along with Echo. Everyone in her family, and her counselor, knew what happened, but they wouldn't tell her. She'd tried to remember once before, and she had a mental breakdown. It was extremely suspenseful every time she remembered something. It was almost as if I felt her worry of another mental breakdown, right along with her. While this is going on, we also get to witness Noah trying to put his life back together, even though he was labeled as "emotionally unstable" by the foster system after he hit his first foster father. I enjoyed learning his reasoning behind his actions and watching him try to be the person he wants to be. The pacing for the story was perfect, and the ending ties everything up wonderfully.

    Warnings: Drug use, underage drinking, obscenities, and a sex scene (though it's barely skimmed over. Nothing smutty or trashy, and no detail) do occur in the novel, so this book may be best for 14+. The drug use isn't glamorized, though. I appreciated that.

    Overall, I'd recommend Pushing the Limits to almost anyone. If you enjoy good contemporary romances that have characters who are trying to overcome extreme obstacles, then this book is definitely for you.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Pushing the Limits

    The story follows teenagers Echo and Noah who have both have had traumas. Echo can't remember the night where she got her scars on her arms from. Noah is a foster kid who just wants his brothers back. They both just want to be normal. Throughout the story, they grow close, fall in love, and try to help one another with their problems. Pushing the Limits is about love, loss, forgiveness, and moving forward with life.

    This book is a quick read. Pretty good book, although it lacked in the sense of getting me to feel what was happening with the characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a quicck read or is bored. I'd also recommend it to anyone who is going througgh a bad time in their life and wants to read about how two people get through their problems. This book is NOT for younger kids. It contains bad lauguage, drugs, and mentions sex throught the story. The narrirator switched between Echo and Noah throughout the story, which made it confusing at times but overall it was nice to see from both of their prospectives.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book deserves more than five stars! It was simply amazing!

    This book deserves more than five stars! It was simply amazing!

    From the beginning to the very end, this book had me hooked from the start. I absolutely love Noah! he is the guy that everyone runs away from, but can't get their eyes off of him due to his god-like looks. Echo on the other hand, is a girl who's trying to find a piece of her life that has been missing for years. The both have problems, and yet they both thought that they were different, but as they go to know each other the sparks between them got them closer together. From the very beginning, I loved how the author was able to pull me in with all the mystery surrounding Noah and Echo. I found myself addicted to the book and couldn't wait to read more of them. This amazing story is very well-written and the plot is just fantastic. The way the book is set up made it easier for me to see both sides the the story; one through Echo and another from Noah's side. Their attraction towards each other wasn't evident at first, but as these two plot a plan to make them both find the solution to their problems, they end up in a mess that will tear everything from them. McGarry does a good job describing the characters and their back story while at the same time focusing on Echo and Noah. One of my favorite characters was Mrs. Collins, she definitely made everything better for both of them and it's because of her that they were able to be with each other in the first place. The ending left me feeling excited, (because things got resolved) and sad (because I wished I could see what happens to them in the future). The ending brings everything together and it works very well. I'm definitely ready to read more of this author, it's going to be awesome! I recommend everyone to read this book, you won't be disappointed. :)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2012

    Pushing the Limits is a very very good book. Kate McGarry was ab

    Pushing the Limits is a very very good book. Kate McGarry was able to bring two broken people together in a way that really worked. you know that feeling where you're reading a book, but you don't even feel like you're reading anymore because the story is so vivid in your mind ? well, that's what happened to me and Pushing the Limits. Echo is such a fitting name and Noah Hutchins is a perfect "bad boy" type of person. I only wish I could portray my characters as well as McGarry did. I'm really glad I was able to read this =D

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Great read

    Really liked how this was written looking forward to mor

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 30, 2013

    When I first read the synopsis for this story, I thought that it

    When I first read the synopsis for this story, I thought that it would be a typical YA contemporary romance-which I didn't mind because sometimes I do crave a little contemporary novel here of there. I figured that the romance between Noah and Echo would be the center of this story, but I was proven wrong and to be honest...I'm kind of happy about that.

    This novel made me cry...a lot. It was so emotional, and what Noah and Echo went through was as empowering to read as it was heart wrenching. For Noah's story-being someone that is very close to my family, I cannot imagine us never being together again. I understood his anger at the world, and the feeling of helplessness he felt without having his parents there to guide him. Being only seventeen, he had to worry and stress over things that he shouldn't have. His life has been nothing but difficult, and all the scenes he had with his brother pulled at my heart strings. Katie McGarry did such a wonderful job narrating Noah, and made me feel his pain for his loss and helped me understand why he is the person that he is. With Echo, her story is also painful-having gone through such a traumatic experience that her mind suppressed certain memories. It was suspenseful finding out what happened to her, little by little, piece by piece, until the puzzle finally showed itself. 

    I really enjoyed both narration, and I like that Echo and Noah their own lives, worries, and friends, and their thoughts didn't revolve around one another 24/7. A lot of romance stories focus more on the two characters getting together, instead of developing them each individually-and I like that Noah and Echo aren't two parts of one whole figure, but two independent pieces that are just better together.

    I was so surprised that I liked this book so much because it is so thought provoking, emotional, raw, and very honest. A story about how important it is to move forward, and not allow ourselves to be stuck in the ways of the past. 

    Cannot wait to read more books from this author, definitely recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013


    Read this BOOK!!! Great character and depth. Makes you laugh, mad, sad, and cry so you know it's good lol! READ IT!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ~Reviewed by ANN & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog [Ka

    ~Reviewed by ANN & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog

    [Katie McGarry has] got the NA voice down and with her little sarcastic remarks here and there, she totally nailed the tortured teen voice. ~ Under the Covers

    Echo Emerson (what a name!) went from being the popular girl at school to an outsider. After one horrible night, she wakes up in a hospital, not remembering the details of the past night’s events or what has happened to her body. Scars riddle her arms but the experience was so traumatic that her mind shut down. Now, partially recovered and hoping to settle into school again, Echo tempers her demons with regular visits to a Clinical Social Worker, who coaxes her to remember that night’s events and also help her with day-to-day life.

    It just so happens that Noah Hutchins is also another student who visits Mrs. Collins as well. Though totally opposite in personality, both feels like freaks in an otherwise normal community. They have been through so much already that despite how much they try to fit in, they don’t. As Noah is bring tutored by Echo, they come to notice this attraction to one another that is slowly explored in this book. The path to their recovery and romance is a slow one. It’s more toned down than some of the other NA books I’ve read, though that doesn’t mean it’s any less touching or romantic. As Noah and Echo try to help each other, their attraction for one another just grows and grows until it almost seems evitable that they will get together. There were times when I thought the relationship moved to quickly, like when Echo leaves Luke and jumps right into a relationship with Noah and sometimes when it also moved at a glacier pace. Overall, it was a well-done, believable story.

    Noah’s story was particularly touching. I loved that he felt almost bursting with love for his brothers. It made him such an endearing character and made it so easy to fall in love with him.

    There was one person that I didn’t exactly like and that was Lila, Echo’s friend. She seemed to annoy me and I didn’t like how she kept trying to force her opinions on Echo on matters that weren’t really her business. Beth and Isisah, on the other hand, were great and I’m eager to know more about them both!

    Another thing I have to mention is McGarry’s writing. I love the way this book was written, with the alternating POVs between Noah and Echo, but I also really loved how she wrote both of their perspectives. I think she got the NA voice down and with her little sarcastic remarks here and there, she totally nailed the tortured teen voice. I look forward to reading more from this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    This review was originally posted on my blog Written By Brittan

    This review was originally posted on my blog Written By Brittan

    Pushing the Limits is a tear-jerking hypnotic book, that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end of the book. Katie McGarry did a beautiful job writing this book. The story line and writing will blow you away.

    The point of view alternates between the two main characters, Echo and Noah. Echo and Noah's families and lives are in pieces. Echo's brother is dead, her parents are divorced, her mother is bi-polar, and her ex-babysitter is her step-mom. One horrible night at the end of her sophomore year that Echo can't even remember left her with scars on both of her arms. Noah's parents died in a fire the summer before his sophomore year, leaving him and his two younger brother in foster care. His brothers are in a different home then him, and he has limited visitation. After he graduates Noah is going to sue for custody of his brothers to put his family back together. Echo starts to tutor Noah the second semester of their senior year, and they fall for each other. But how do they fit in each others messed up lives?

    Katie McGarry's writing was so captivating. She traps you in the book and it's like you are right there in the book. The emotions of what the characters are going through is packed under each word. The alternating point of view was balanced perfectly, I was never wanting to go back to the other character after it switched.

    I loved everything about this book. Pushing the Limits is a beautiful and heartbreaking book, that is also beautifully written. I recommend this book to everyone who likes YA.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    Absolutely Amazing

    I loved this book! It kept me on my toes with new secrets and past info being revealed. I love the suspense between Noah and Echo. I love the conflicts with their families and their friends. I just love the book.
    I loved how Katie brought in characters from her other books. I found it amazing how she brought the characters to life and how she did it. She did an amazing job with Echo's family and every character.
    If you are thinking about buying this book, DO IT ALREADY.

    Loved how Katie included the awesome mysterious event of what happened to Echo and her mom that night. The way she wrote Echo meeting her mom face to face was absolutely a lovely written part.
    I feel that Katie writes and makes the characters' opinion distinctly theirs and yet mine. She convinced me that it was so wrong that Noah's brothers were not allowed to see him along with other opinions. But what I am trying to say is that whatever Noah and Echo felt, I felt it as if it were my own thought and feelings

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014


    I am in love with Noah

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Valerie Book provided by contest win from The Revolv

    Reviewed by Valerie
    Book provided by contest win from The Revolving Bookcase
    Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

    *spoilers in review*

    When I found out I was getting this book, I was excited and could not wait to start reading it. I was intrigued by the good girl/bad boy pairing but this book was SO much more than that and it is so worthy of the highest rating. Yes, it’s young adult, but mature young adult. The author did an excellent job of letting the characters be true to their nature, including drug use, profanity, and sexual situations.

    The author, Katie McGarry, wrote the story in such a way that you learn more and more about the main characters at the same time that they are learning about themselves. High school is confusing enough, but for Echo and Noah, it’s way more than that. They’ve both been hurt beyond belief. He lost his parents in a fire his sophomore year and she has scars running down the length of both arms with no idea how they got there. The only thing they have in common is a social worker at school who plays such an integral part of this story.

    When she pairs Noah and Echo together for tutoring, she’s trying to make sure Noah is keeping his grades up as he wants to get custody of his younger brothers and is also helping Echo make money to fix her dead brother’s car. These two instantly have chemistry but it’s much more than that when they both have such heartbreaking loss and memories in their personal lives.

    As the school year continues, Echo fights to regain her memories of how she got her scars, peer pressure to get back with an old boyfriend, and anger at her stepmother who was previously the family nanny. For Noah, the limited visitations with his brothers are painful and his entire world is focused on working to save money and getting them back as soon as he graduates.

    How they work through their problems, separately and together, equals four hundred pages of joy, despair, loneliness, and above all, hope. The characters will not leave you once you read the last page and I shed many a tear as I spent their senior year with them. A MUST READ for any mature readers who have had to deal with hardship and loss.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    An Irresistible Contemporary Romance  I love this book! It's th

    An Irresistible Contemporary Romance 

    I love this book! It's the type of contemporary romance I find irresistible. It's not really light, but it's not really depressing. It features two seemingly opposite characters with amazing chemistry who struggle with their feelings for each other throughout the novel. It has a good set of side characters—some add a touch of humor (Beth), and others add a heartwarming feel (Noah's brothers)—and some serious elements that I love to find in contemporary. 


    I didn't write a review the first time I read Pushing the Limits. This was my first time reading it, and I have to admit that it wasn't quite as good the second time as it was the first time. I still loved it and the characters inside it and the story that was told, but after reading both Dare You To and Crash Into You, it didn't seem as good (I'm not changing my original rating, though). After going back to Katie McGarry's first book, I can definitely tell her writing and story telling has improved since she wrote it—which is a pretty darn good thing because she did such a good job with Pushing the Limits. 


    One of my favorite things about this book is the focus on family. Sure, it follows the whole "unsupportive parents" trend, but really, that's a part that is necessary for the story told. I really liked the change in Echo: she started off pretty much hating her dad and her stepmom, but she eventually learned to embrace the family she had and started making an effort to get closer with those who loved her. It was Noah's side of the family focus that I liked most, though. It was so sad seeing him constantly separated from his brothers—they were the only blood family he had left after his parents died, and they were in foster care. Throughout the entire book, I just wanted him to be able to spend five minutes alone with his brothers without someone watching and worrying he would do something wrong! I did like the final outcome of the situation with his brothers, and I really liked what it taught Noah. It taught him that often times, sacrifices are necessary. They are needed to make both himself and his loved ones happy. 


    Pushing the Limits is my type of book. I often times say that contemporary is my favorite genre, but more specifically, it's this kind of contemporary romance that's my favorite. It's the kind that sweeps me away and makes me get lost in the story until it ends. It's the kind that pulls at my heartstrings, and often times my tear ducts, and makes me really feel for the characters. It's the kind that doesn't just focus on the main couple, but also on serious issues or elments and the growth individual characters' see when they have to face them.

    This book and the rest of Katie McGarry's are definitely worth reading, and I highly recommend them!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    I loved this book it was freakin awesome!!!!!

    No words im spechless the words up there say it all:)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A great teen read full of real-feeling characters facing their own demons

    Two broken people trying to find a way to put themselves and their world back together again. That, to me, is what Pushing the Limits gives to its readers and it is a sweet, heartbreaking, moving, fun, joyful and terrifying experience. Because no matter how hard you try, you can't change the past...and you have to move beyond it if you want a future. Pushing the Limits is very much a young adult novel rife with the "joys" of high-school drama from clicks to crushes to body image. Thankfully the story dove deeper, portraying both the sinister and sweet side of love and family, the trials of growing up and becoming your own person and the strength it takes to fight for the life you want. It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of reading Pushing the Limits. Having alternating chapters from Echo's and Noah's points of view broke my immersion in story a bit until I had a better handle on each of their personalities and stories. However, once I did get the rhythm down and had them both clicked into my mind, I really enjoyed the depth and byplay that the alternating point of view was able to give me. I feel it added greater complexity both to the story and to the characters themselves seeing the world from two vastly different sets of eyes. I experienced so many different emotions while reading Pushing the Limits it is hard to wrangle them all onto a page. It made me laugh, cry, swear and even took my breath away. With such providence it is easy to understand why I could give in nothing less than four bright and shiny stars.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome, totally completely beyond Awesome.. I wonder if we coul

    Awesome, totally completely beyond Awesome.. I wonder if we could come up with another term: breathtaking, awe-inspiring, magnificent, wonderful, amazing, stunning.. could we use anymore words??!!
    I knew I was missing out with this series, and I can not wait to start the second book. Hopefully, I can get caught up and be up-to-date with the series. I can not wait to see what will be in store for me as I take the journey to find out about Noah, Echo and all the others.
    The road of emotions you will ride through is so overwhelming, but I can promise you it is worth it. It is worth even the tears that will be shed, and the smiles that will broke through, I promise.
    Echo was pretty amazing. She has flaws, and issues. Throughout this book you will come to realize who she is, find out what black hole has been in her mind, she will also figure out how to find herself.
    Noah has a dark side, but he is also lost for many of reasons. He definitely values his family, and he doesn’t want nothing to stop his love for his brothers. I am glad he got to see the truth before the darkness took everything he ever wanted.
    Everyone in this book has a purpose/importance, and I loved watching the characters come together. I loved that life wasn’t perfect, people made mistakes, and love didn’t just happen. Love did happen, but it wasn’t the “swoon” love at first. I loved how they had to battle each other, and learn to let go before the other one could fall. Falling is not all about falling in love, but it is also about falling into getting to know yourself, your well-being and what makes you whole. Okay, enough of me rambling, just go get this series!

    “Let him be, Beth. Sometimes you can’t help who you fall for.” – Isiah ¿ Katie McGarry

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 196 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)