Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Pushing the Limits: An Award-winning novel

Pushing the Limits: An Award-winning novel

4.6 229
by Katie McGarry

See All Formats & Editions

Book 1 in Katie McGarry's award winning Pushing The Limits series

So wrong for each other…and yet so right.

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


Book 1 in Katie McGarry's award winning Pushing The Limits series

So wrong for each other…and yet so right.

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.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common.

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.

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.)
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

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)

Product Details

Publication date:
Pushing the Limits , #1
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
452 KB
Age Range:
14 Years

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?"

What People are Saying About This

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

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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Pushing the Limits 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 229 reviews.
Kimmiepoppins More than 1 year ago
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.
xydrella More than 1 year ago
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
Falln2books More than 1 year ago
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.
JackiesBookWorld More than 1 year ago
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. :)
GossipGirlCS More than 1 year ago
Pushing Your Heart To The Limit  This book is amazing, been meaning to read it for awhile now and finally did. Katie McGarry has a serious talent for writing. The way she told they story was phenomenal.  When it comes to Echo and Noah it's the classic opposites attract scenario, but when you begin to read and discover their background stories you can't help but fall in love with them. Echo first appears as this crazy girl who has these scars and don't know where they came from, Noah appears as this bad boy, don't give a care about anything but my self and my friends tough guy. Then they meet, they talk, and decide to help each other despite caring hating each other, in the hopes of each of them getting the information they crave most from their all to kind guidance counselor. Along the way they fall for each other and become each other's rock. You'll definitely fall in love with Echo and Noah, as well as the rest of the characters that Katie created in this awesome series. I have read all six books to the series and waiting on the next one. This tragic, heart wrenching, 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really liked how this was written looking forward to mor
sarah_says More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this BOOK!!! Great character and depth. Makes you laugh, mad, sad, and cry so you know it's good lol! READ IT!
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
~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.
Brittan Hardy More than 1 year ago
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.
casey0 More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 11 months ago
It was an amazing book
vampiregrl123 More than 1 year ago
I’m trying very hard to put into words my feelings for Pushing the Limits, but I’m having a hard time because this book was simply amazing! Once again Katie McGarry has wowed me with a great novel and splendid characters. This novel is written in alternating Noah and Echo POV chapters. And it worked perfectly. Everything was timed just write. I didn’t feel lost or confused like I have with other novels that try to have multiple characters telling the story. Echo Emerson is a troubled girl with repressed memories from a horrible night that happened two years prior to the novel’s opening. She almost died. Let me repeat that. SHE ALMOST DIED. Now she is an outcast at her school and even her friends don’t want to be her friends in public. How messed up is that? They won’t even stand by her in her time of need. All they care about is appearances. Echo has been labeled a “freak”. One of her friends spends the entire novel trying to convince her to do things that will make her popular again, such as get back with Luke, her ex-boyfriend. When her new school counselor tries to help her fit back in at school, she ends up tutoring the notorious bad boy at her high school. Noah Hutchins is the bad boy with a seriously f***ed up past. After his parents perished in a house fire years ago, he and his brothers were put into the foster system. Noah found out very quickly that being in the system doesn’t always turn out well. He lost the rights to visit his two younger brothers after an altercation with one of his first foster parents. Now he has a bad reputation with everyone. All he wants is to get custody of his brothers the second he turns 18. His ticket to doing this is by listening to the new school counselor, which leads him to being tutored by the girl with an equally f***ed up past. This book is about two teenagers who have lost everything they love and are doing everything they can to get it back. Echo struggles the whole novel to remember what happened that awful night. It was hard to read the scenes where Echo remembered bits and pieces of her “accident”. They were so heart wrenching. It clearly took a toll on her mental health. But what I loved was that Noah was there for her. He doesn’t care what she was like during one of her episodes or what people said about her. He doesn’t care about her past or that night. He just wants her to be okay. Slowly readers start to find out that there are people in Echo’s life who know more than they are letting on and they refuse to tell her what happened. Her counselor works hard with her to help her remember the memories that her mind has chosen to forget. Noah fights the entire novel to get custody of his brothers. He doesn’t care about the people they are currently with. All he wants is to get them back and rebuild his family. His school counselor works with him to get visitation rights again. Noah abuses this to try and find out about the couple that the boys are staying with. He constantly does whatever he can to find out more information about they to use against them when he tries to fight for custody. As the novel unfolds, he starts to see past his stubbornness and learns that maybe he isn’t doing what is best for everyone. Maybe, just maybe, he isn’t fit to take care of the boys all by himself. I loved the development of Noah and Echo’s relationship. It was natural and organic and flowed perfectly. Most authors make me feel like they are forcing their love interests together, but not Katie
quibecca More than 1 year ago
I finished this book about a month ago but haven't had a chance to sit down and write my review until now. This book had many great reviews from some fellow bloggers, so I knew it would be one I would have to read. Echo Emerson went from "popular" to "freak" over night practically overnight. What caused this downfall, she can't quite remember. She just knows it has to do with the horrible scars on her arms. She hides them, and tries to remember what happen the night she got them. Echo had an over bearing father, and a mother that was not around. Over bearing, horrible, father married a much younger woman, and life was not very easy for Echo with the "new" wife. Noah Hutchins, well what can I say. He's the "bad" boy. I think that is why I liked him from the beginning. hehe. Something about bad boys and how "misunderstood" they are. Noah has had a rough life as well, and has his own secrets. Noah is in search of a tutor for some of his classes, and it just so happens that the counselor has appointed him one. Echo. From their first "meeting" there is something of a spark there. They just weren't quite sure if it was hate, or love. The way their stories unfold is intense. This was a roller coaster ride through some kids that have some hard issues to deal with, and seem to find in each other the comfort they have been seeking. I loved how this book unfolded. Echo and Noah's stories are so sad. Two young kids who are forced to face adult issues before they should have to. How they find common ground it pretty wonderful. Now.....for the stuff I didn't like about the book. The "f" bomb was used too much and there is a lot of sexual innuendo along with some teenage sex. Having said that just as an FYI, I do have to admit I still really enjoyed the book. I just like it when other reviewers give me a "heads up" on that kind of stuff in books. I cannot wait to read the other books in this series. Source: I bought this book for myself a while back. I was not compensated in any way for this review. These are my own PERSONAL views on the book. Content: A lot of language, sexual innuendo, teenage sex, and lots of talk about sex. I personally believe this book is for older teenagers/adults.
csloat More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I've read by her and I absolutely adore her writing style. Her characters are rich and have depth. It's not just a cheesy YA Romance book; it's way more than that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite authors... really allows you to connect as a reader to the characters
Tishia More than 1 year ago
Pushing the Limits is the first book in a young adult series by Katie McGarry. This is a wonderful romance and so much different than I thought it would be. This book is full of emotions and broken characters. This isn't just some high school drama – these characters deal with some serious situations. Echo is the heroine of the story and she is very easy to like. She has gone through a lot and she is a character that you can't help but feel sorry for. Her mind has suppressed a very important, traumatizing memory. Pieces of the memory come back to her throughout the book and the suspense will keep you turning the pages. Noah is the bad boy that doesn't do relationships. He wants one thing from a girl and he's ready to move on. Echo isn't that kind of girl. But situations push them to spend time together and feelings develop. Noah is actually very sweet and I loved how he was so supportive of Echo. These two characters are wonderful for each other. I really can't think of anything negative to say so I have no reason not to give it 5 stars. If you like to read young adult contemporary romances, then this book is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CeliaA_YAFiction More than 1 year ago
AMAZING contemporary romance, one of the best I've read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book to whoever is looking for a good contemporary read, I promise this book wont disappoint.
Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
Meeting the love of your life in front of a school social worker's office isn't a sweet start? Well, read PUSHING THE LIMITS and reconsider. Echo and Noah both have issues and secrets of their own, but that doesn't keep them from colliding with each other. Logic and reason out of the way, they just want to get the other mad, tease, and get closer, much closer than to any other person ever before. Their love story is one of the extreme kinds, they are both very torn characters and their romance is just the same. What kind of threw me off the story, only a small detail that had an amazingly big effect on me liking the story a bit less, were the names Noah and Echo were calling each other. I just can't stand for a girl being called Baby more than once in a story. The title is well chosen since there's always a constant pushing and pulling marking the relationship of Echo and Noah. They get to tell parts of the story from their perspectives and you see that they are both strong personalities, who are stubborn and not always willing to give in first. Especially chapters from Noah's point of view are marked with strong language, drug abuse, drinking and sex. 4/5 **** PUSHING THE LIMITS – A YA contemporary debut with a scorching love story with depth and an addictively written plot demanding to be devoured in one sitting. PUSHING THE LIMITS is the first book in the highly acclaimed romantic series by Katie McGarry. Fans of Simone Elkeles should definitely find a new favourite read in Katie's debut novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was really drawn to this book. If you love bad boy and good girl falling in love type of stories then it's worth reading. 
MonicaEmme More than 1 year ago
I'd heard only good things about this novel, but I hadn't gotten around to it because I'm more into the fantastical. Funny thing is that is what I loved about this novel the most, how even in contemporaries, often times the plot is fantastical, but this one was realistic. I felt like I was not only reading about two real people with real and believable problems, but the way they went about them and the consequences of their actions were all realistic. I loved both Echo and Noah. They were both so broken, but relateable. You hear about instalove all the time in YA novels, there was none of that in this novel, but I'm okay with instalove/lust because it does happen that way in real life a lot... My favorite thing about this book was that Noah and Echo didn't save each other, but they made each other want to be better, they made them want to find a way to save themselves. You can't change a person, but you can inspire them to want to change and that was what I saw in these characters and this awesome story. I'm sort of excited that I did wait to read this book because Breaking the Rules is out! I can't wait to read more and see where their story goes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love this book!!!!!!! there is NO SEX in the book but it does have sad/emotional parts, its a great book but I would have loved an epilogue. other than that it was a PERFECT BOOK. this is one of those books I could not put down.