Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Book Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

22 Jul 2012

by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Release Date: July 25th 2012
Format: ARC
Purchase: Book Depository


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 of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins--the smoking hot, girl-using 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. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. 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.

Pushing the Limits deserves all the stars in the universe. No kidding. Everything about it was spot on- the pacing was perfect, the characters were so realistic, as were the relationships explored; and the story itself? Mind-blowing and riveting. Once I started reading, I was literally sucked in to their world. It’s almost impossible to return to reality after reading something so dark and heart-breaking yet bittersweet at the same time. Pushing the Limits is officially my favourite contemporary of the year! 

It’s been a while since I read about such realistic characters. Echo is this broken soul, having lost her memories of what exactly happened to her that one particular night 2 years ago. Something dreadful happened; something that resulted in the shocking scars running up her arms. Something she has no memory of. What happened that night has tormented her for 2 years; and on top of that, she’s still grieving the loss of her brother who died 6 months before her ‘attack’. Her raw pain, her suffering really touched my heart. How can a teenager have all this agony buried deep inside her? Throughout the books, Echo had to fight her sanity, and also make so life-changing decisions. It was impossible not to sympathise with her and encourage her on. I admired the courage she showed and at the end of the day, she’s not a piece of delicate glass, to be shattered at a moment’s notice. She’s a fighter. And she fights her own internal and external battles. 

Noah, with the reputation of a bad-boy, is so much more than what you seen on the surface. He’s traumatized after the death of his parents – and the one thing he wants more than anything else? To live with his brothers. I loved Noah. Not because of his sexy, smothering looks, but his true self. He loves his brothers more than anything in the world; he would do anything to get them back. Added to this, he truly understands Echo. He’s willing to go through hell with her, protect her and stay by her side. He’s committed and full of determination to do what needs to be done. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m literally in love with these two characters! They’re far from perfect, but together, they’re a perfect match. 

The secondary characters stood out to me as well. Isasah, Beth and Lila should be give the “Best Friends of the Year” awards- no matter what happened, they continued to support and stay by their best friends. No matter what hardships were being faced, they were always there. Seriously, Echo and Noah were blessed with such encouraging and true friends. It was impossible for me to hate any of the characters; sure, they’ve made mistakes – near fatal ones even- but at the end of the day, I understood why they did it. Their actions may not be forgiveable, but I certainly understood the reason. 

This is not a typical good-girl falls in love with bad-boy drama. It delves so much deeper than that. The relationships Echo has with her parents, stepmother, her clinical social worker, and of course Noah take centre stage. I loved the romance; I loved how well the relationship Echo has with everyone is explored; I loved the issues dealt with in the book; and most of all, I absolutely loved these characters. Pushing The Limits is a remarkable debut that you must pick up. It’s a heart-felt story that everyone has to read!

5 stars is NOT ENOUGH. I say ALL the stars in the universe :)


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  2. LOL he looks like Justin Bieber? Errmmm.....I don't know :/ i never paid much attention to this cover, since I've always like the US cover more :) But the model/real person looks nothing like Bieber!

    Thank youuuuu <3

  3. I've got a couple of pages left of this to finish but so far I love it! So glad to hear you did too!! Oh and your review? BRILLIANT. You definitely nailed it. I hope when I write my review that it's half as good as yours. I love both Echo and Noah - both such amazing characters! Sorry I haven't commented on your blog in awhile! For some reason I thought you were busy with exams and weren't updating.. Woops! <3

  4. it just me, or does anybody else think the boy in the cover looks like Justin Bieber?

    Sorry..I couldn't help it, I just HAD to ask...:))

    p.s. Thanks for the great review!

  5. Shiiiiiirley! I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to comment! I've had this bookmarked so I could take the time to read it properly, and !!!!!! Oh goodness, I'm so glad you did, because you've NAILED it. I adored PTL, and it's for all the reasons you've covered. I love how, like Noah and Echo, it's so much more than you see on the surface. It has so much heart and it's so beautifully done--just like your review! <3

  6. There've been so many amazing reviews for this! I'm so glad you loved it and I can't wait to read it myself!

  7. heheeeeeee I feel like you and Riya are going to MURDER me for marrying Noah and not inviting you two to our wedding :S HAHAHAA You can seek revenge if you manage to find me in the UK when/if I go there :)

    Thankkk youuuuu<3 You're on holidays now, right? GOOD LUCK FOR SCHOOL as well!<3

  8. Right, here's the thing. Noah and I are MARRIED , HAHAHHA Comeee join Bev and I on twitter! She's angry at me since I didn't invite her to my wedding- BUT DON'T WORRY! I'll invite both of you to our anniversary celebration<3 hahahaaa Just...DON'T YOU DARE EYE HIM. HE BELONGS TO ME.<3
    Awwwww thank you<3

  9. I love this review, Shirley!! I've been hearing SO many great things about this book, and now that I'm almost done reading it, I can *finally* gush about it with all you guys!! BEEVV??? WHERE ARE YOU??? :P OMG Noah Noah Noah Noah Noah. *sigh* Nuff said?? My heart was going crazy, doing cartwheels and jumping up and down whenever he came around! <333 I cannot believe you are marrying him, Shirley???!! BUT I guess it would be okay if you invited me to the wedding too??? XD

    Amazing sauce review, Shirley!! <333 And good luck with your exams, chicky!

  10. Shirrleeyyyy!!!! I ADORE you and your review - despite the fact you married Noah and didn't even bother to invite me to the WEDDING ;) But your utterly beautiful, amazing review makes up for it *showers you with flowers* I feel like you've pinpointed everything I felt about this book. I loved Echo and rooted for her all the way <3 And Noah... 'I loved Noah. Not because of his sexy, smothering looks, but his true self.' Agree agree agree! Ohmigosh yes, I loved how he was hot AND loving and caring at the same time <3 His brothers were adorable too <3 I just insanely fell for this book and all its wonderful characters, just like you!

    Thank you for the utterly amazing, all-stars-in-the-universe review, Shirleyyy!!!! I've missed all your posts but GOOD LUCK with your exams <3333

  11. WHAT YOU SAID. I was writing my review of this late last night - I don't even know if it makes sense. Fingers crossed, eh? LOL. PTL was insanely good <33 Love your review :)

  12. Awwww Shirley, I LOVE YOUR REVIEW SO MUCH and I think your review deserves all the stars in the universe too ;) I completely agree with everything you said on your review! The story and the characters felt so real to me and Noah and Echo's relationship was truly AMAZING. Super duper can't wait for Beth's story!

    PS: Good luck with your studies, Shirley! ♥

  13. Becky @ Stories & Sweeties7 September 2012 at 18:44

    Yay! I love strong family bonds and great supportive best friends! I think those two things make me love a book more than anything else! I have a copy of this from ALA and will definitely be reading this soon---especially after reading your review!

  14. Sam @ Realm of Fiction7 September 2012 at 18:44

    Ahh Shirley! I'm so glad you loved this book too! I think it might be one of my favourite contemporaries as well, mostly because of Noah. I'm only just kind of in love with him. ;) I agree that he's so much more than just a bad-boy! His concern for his brothers was so touching. I pretty much sobbed through the whole book. :P Brilliant review! :)

  15. Everyone has been reading this lately! I'm so jealous. All I've seen are positive reviews. I love that this book is deep and that all the characters have their own part and stand out. An awesome review, Shirley! :)


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