Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date: August 2012
Buy the Book • Goodreads
What if the last person you should fall in love with is the only one who can save you?
No one knows what really happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of the horrible night that changed her life forever.
But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And now Echo has to ask herself just what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again...
This, my friends, is how you do chemistry. I literally wrote that every single time I made a note while reading the book, because it was just that good.
Pushing the Limits is the story of Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins, both outsiders in their own way. Echo was once popular but after she disappeared from school and returned with her arms covered in scars, she found herself the subject of gossip and without many true friends. Noah has been bounced around foster care since his parents died in a tragic fire and casually does drugs and looks for one-night stands. They are both broken and they need to find their way out of it. When Echo is encouraged by her guidance counsellor to tutor Noah, well, the sparks just fly.
Noah and Echo’s relationship sizzles in so many ways, it’s really hard to describe without reading the book yourself (and I cannot recommend it highly enough). Everything about them is so intimate, and watching them both peel back each other’s physical and emotional layers got my heart rate racing. Each little touch or teasing word is just as electric as the bigger moments (my personal favourite is when Noah touches Echo’s scars). I got so many tingles when reading this book, it was just romance done absolutely perfectly.
What makes it work for me is that Echo and Noah are both not trying to change themselves and each other. They are just encouraging each other to be better versions of themselves. For Echo, it was about understanding what happened to her and finding happiness at home with her family. For Noah, it was about letting his brothers have the life they deserve and instead of fighting so hard for them. They were there for each other and even through all those up and downs I was rooting for them. Their journey down to the very end was really beautiful to read.
The book handles a lot of deep issues, like mental illness, foster care, drugs and sex, so it may not be for everyone. That said, I really loved the way the author handles them in the book, especially the fact that the adult characters weren’t just clichés. I think it’s refreshing to have a helpful guidance counsellor or a parent emotionally wracked with guilt. It made the book all the more believable.
There is a sequel planned, but it focuses on another character in the story so I will definitely miss Noah and Echo. I am, however, looking forward to more of this amazing chemistry and characters that Katie McGarry writes. This was the best contemporary book I’ve read this year, and I highly recommend it for anyone that loves to read and fall in love with a relationship.