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Pushing the Limits Paperback – April 30, 2013
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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.
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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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.
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 McGarry. Every scene they shared was perfect. Their relationship was so raw. In some ways it can be used as a model of what a relationship should be: they aren’t afraid to compromise for one another and they aren’t afraid to put the other person before themselves. I think me favorite part of their relationship was that McGarry didn’t write Noah as a boy who pushes for things to happen when they are alone together. He respects Echo’s decisions to wait.
I simply loved Katie McGarry’s debut novel, although it wasn’t the first novel I read by her. I urge everyone to go out and purchase a copy because you need this novel in your life
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed this one it had a lot of dark and emotional stuff I'll probably never understand.Read more