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Pushing the Limits Paperback – April 30, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 941 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Pushing the Limits Series

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Editorial Reviews

From 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, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Told in alternating chapters, McGarry’s intriguing debut delves into the psyches of Echo, whose own mother tried to kill her, and Noah, an orphaned “bad boy.” Leather-jacket-wearing Noah is in foster care, facing a painful separation from his two younger brothers, while Echo is trying to recall the events that led to a restraining order against her mother and hideous scars on her arms. When Mrs. Collins, the school counselor and keeper of their sought-after files, suggests that good-student Echo tutor Noah, neither is receptive to the idea. But as they come to lean on and trust one another, sexual tension starts to burn up the pages. Their passionate romance—complete with dramatic arguments—provides the framework for the unlikely duo to deal with some heavy-hitting issues. Girls in particular will be drawn to the breathless, sometimes over-the-top language (“His lips curved into a sexy smile, and I became lost in him”), and, although the novel is overly long, romance readers will likely embrace the love story of two troubled teens who, together, find a path toward healing. Grades 9-12. --Ann Kelley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen; Reprint edition (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210862
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (941 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book, and it totally lived up to all of the hype. At first, I was not sure I wanted to read it. I am usually not into the bad boy thing, but I am so glad I went ahead and read it. This book was so good.

This book deals with a lot of really tough issues. Usually I have a hard time reading books like that, but I could not stop reading this one. It was written in the perfect way, and it completely drew me in. The only thing I did not like about this book was all the language. However, I think that language is normally for people who are going through what these kids had to deal with. The both had to make some really tough choices. This was such an emotional book!

I loved the romance between Noah and Echo. As much as they tried to fight it, it was still there. I really liked that we got to see the soft side of Noah when it came to Echo. It showed that he was not just a crazy bad boy, and I appreciated that. Everyone has a soft side.

This book broke my heart at times. At other times, it made my heart very happy. I don't know what else to say about this book except it was amazing and I totally recommend reading it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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By Nikki Wang on August 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
HOLY S*** I LOVE THIS BOOK. So. Freaking. Much.

This is one of my favorite romances (day I say favorite debut?) of 2012! The romance! The characters! The plot! The secrets! The history! The way I sound like I'm on a commercial! Pushing the Limits was just an amazing book about finding love when nothing seems possible. When everything seems hopeless.

I pretty much liked Echo's character except that she seemed so unforgiving when she should forgive, and forgives when she shouldn't. But since her mother had tried to kill her, I guess it shouldn't be surprising... But I loved her stubbornness and I loved how she was willing to do almost anything so that Noah could get his brothers back. She was independent and once she made up her mind, it took a LOT to make her budge! In all, she was a pretty good character that made the plot all the more interesting and her personality fits the story wonderfully!
Noah was...well, Noah. He's smart-ass (in a good way), a jerk (in a good way), annoying (in a...you get the point), broken, and undeniably sweet when he wanted to be. He was headstrong and reading from his POV was FUN! to say the least! He cares so much about Echo and it was just ADORABLE! I want to gush again...but I'll save you from that horror!

I. Loved. The. Romance! It wasn't insta-love. Far from it! Sure there was attraction, but that's only obvious. At first, they were just partners in crime (quite literally) who were trying to get what they wanted most. Echo, to remember what happened the day her mother tried to kill her and Noah: Getting his brothers once and for all. Two different goals, but they both need the same thing: their files. And SOMEHOW along hte way, they fallin love! It was gradual and slow, and absolutley AMAZING!
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Format: Hardcover
Pushing The Limits was amazing.
Thoroughly heartbreaking, intensely emotional, meaningful, intelligent and swoon-worthy, it's a story of loss, trust, betrayal, finding strength to leave one's tragic past behind and courage to create a better future. A book about bonds and relationships, hopes, dreams, fears, and feelings. Most of all, it's a tale of love and its power to heal. A gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, breathtaking novel that will leave you tear-streaked and with a huge smile on your face.

Two people. A damaged, scarred, disoriented girl whose life fell apart when a person she trusted and loved the most tried to kill her. A seemingly tough, careless boy who lost everything -- his parents, his brothers, his future -- when a tragic house fire claimed the lives of his mom and dad. Both lost. Both scared. Both desperately trying to find meaning in their lives, something to hold on to, something normal. When these two get paired up for tutoring sessions their initial dislike and distrust towards each other slowly blooms into mutual attraction. Attraction so strong that it burns with fierce brightness and all-consuming passion. Are they strong enough to face their pasts? Will they end up saving each other, or will they crush and burn?

This book was beautiful.
It cracked my heart open, touched my soul, made me think, and left me utterly speechless. So heartbreaking, and yet so uplifting and full of hope at the same time. While the developing relationship between Noah and Echo was obviously the main focus of the story, the plot line was not limited to their romantic endeavours. This book offers so much more than just a love story.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I got about halfway into this book when I started wondering if I was reading the same book as all those people out there who loved it. Then I kept waiting for it to pull me in. It never did.
It took me a loooong time to get through this book. It was just so heavy, I didn't enjoy immersing myself in it. I'd read 2-3 chapters and then stop, when many times I'll read half a book before I want to stop. It wasn't bad by any means. I liked the realistic nature of the plot, and the fact that the characters had real (but not by any means ordinary) problems. The writing was technically good, it was well edited, I just didn't find myself caring all that much. I never felt connected to any of the characters,and the romance aspect was just missing something. The character I liked the most was Echo's dead older brother who is only mentioned in the past tense. The structure of the book with the constant POV changes between Noah and Echo made things worse - I would start to get involved in the book and then a new chapter would start and I'd have to pull away to figure out who I was hearing from. More than once, I actually found myself having to go back to the first page of the chapter so I could remember who's POV I was reading. It became very distracting. It felt like a very well-written after school special to me. I can see it winning all sorts of school and teacher awards for it's theme and messages, but nothing the romance-lover in me would swoon over. 3/5 stars.

I received a copy of this from the publisher at BEA 2012 in exchange for an honest review.
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