Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

“So wrong for each other…and yet so right.” I will admit, when I first saw the cover and tagline of Pushing the Limits I was a little skeptical. A bad boy and a good girl? I thought I’d read this story before, but boy was I wrong! Noah and Echo’s stories are deep, tear-jerking tales where the heart of the matter is the importance of family and trust.

Echo Emerson was the beautiful, smart, popular redhead who had the hottest boyfriend in school and then one night changed everything– a night she doesn’t even remember. Now she’s a social outcast with a dysfunctional family who refuses to tell her what happened. The best adult character in Echo’s life is her clinical social worker, Mrs. Collins (more on her later).

Noah Hutchins, on the other hand, is the bad boy who is notorious for using girls, drugs, and not giving a f**k about what anyone else thinks. But he also has a past: stuck in the foster care system and separated from his two younger brothers, all Noah wants is to reunite his family– but at what cost?

When Echo and Noah are thrown together in a tutoring session orchestrated by Mrs. Collins who is both Echo and Noah’s clinical social worker. I might as well point out now that she’s a miracle worker in this novel, although both protagonists tend to paint her as just another ignorant adult (a habit in YA Fiction, but oh well; if it works don’t fix it). Echo and Noah team up to help each other discover what’s in their case files so Echo can recall that fateful night and Noah can be one step closer to being with his brothers.

The author artfully weaves together the lives of these two troubled teens and the result is a compelling coming of age story. Katie McGarry possesses the rare talent of narrating the story through the first person perspective of both her main characters. Not many people can do this while simultaneously maintaining the distinct voices and nuances unique to each character, but McGarry does this effortlessly, as if it’s child’s play. Her prose and dialogue are realistic and the story retains its fluidity despite frequent changes in point of view. I loved reading this book and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

WARNING: Readers, in my opinion, should be 12+ and I would not read this with a parent looming over your shoulder–some parts of the story will make you blush and you do NOT want your parents there when that happens. Also, keep tissues on hand: I cried more often than not from pages 241-280. And then some afterwards.

I recommend getting the hard-cover now instead of waiting for a paperback because of the cool extras, which may or may not be appearing in the cheaper, paperback version. In the back there are inspirational playlists and last, but by no means the least, there is a Q&A with Katie McGarry about the story.

I highly praised this story, but none of it is over-exaggerated, I promise you. Happy Reading!

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