Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry **Review & Guest Post** [Blog Tour] [Update with Video Review]

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Series: None
Pages: 392
Publisher: Mira Ink
Release date: 3rd August 2012
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

Add it to Goodreads
Thanks to Mira Ink for my review copy

Goodreads synopsis:
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

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. And 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.
When I first heard about this book, at the beginning of the year, I did think that it sounded quite good - definitely something I thought I would enjoy  reading. However, when reviews started appearing for the book, with readers claiming that it was their favourite book of the year (so far...), I'll admit that I thought this was probably a bit overboard. I thought the book sounded 'quite good', not 'incredible'!
Oh, how glad I am to have been proven wrong, and how happy I am to include myself in the 'one of my favourites of the year' group.

So, let's start with the characters. The story switches between the two main characters, Noah and Echo, meaning that we get to see both points of view. When an author can make this work, it's something I really like, and Katie manages it flawlessly. Both character voices are so distinct, and add their own great narrative element to the story (especially Noah, with his somewhat flowery language, and flirtatious teasing).
This switching between character voices also means that we don't just get one wonderful storyline, but three; Echo's, and her quest to remember what happened to her, Noah, and his battle to win custody of his younger brothers, and of course, Noah and Echo's story - their blossoming relationship.
Somehow, 'blossoming' doesn't quite cover what their relationship feels like, though - they are seriously on fire! I think they actually qualify as one of my favourite fictional couples, the chemistry between them is so potent. And it wasn't an insta-love, unrealistic relationship at all - you see them go from their two separate universes, to being thrown together (and becoming confused about their mixed feelings for each other), to lusting after each other, to the final, beautiful relationship (that will melt your heart). I adored them both, both on their own and when together.

I will say though, that Noah was not at all the character I had expected him to be. He's described on the cover of the book as 'a bad boy', but that turned out to be very much an exterior thing. So, he has a tattoo, doesn't like to get emotionally attached (until Echo, that is), and before he met Echo, he occasionally did drugs, but that really is only scratching the surface. Barely. It's a protective shell, and nothing more.
Once we get inside Noah's head, and see the beginnings of his relationship with Echo forming, all we can see is a guy that suffered a tragedy that no one would wish on their worst enemy, suffered abuse, and all through that, all he did was care about his brothers, and work his hardest to bring his family back together. To me, this doesn't scream 'bad boy', but 'incredibly caring and selfless'. He really is just an adorable softie at heart. The tough shell is a survival instinct.
I much prefer the Noah we get to know, over the bad boy character, I was initially lead to believe he was. It was definitely a pleasant surprise.

That's probably enough from me about the characters. I could go on about them all, all day, and not get bored, so I'll cut myself short, and save you my rambling! Just take it from me, all of the characters are great in their own way (even if they're not 'nice', they have a great contribution to the story)!
As for the plot, as I've already mentioned, there are three main storylines; Echo's, Noah's and the story they create together.
Both their separate stories are truly heartbreaking - they have both been through traumatic events (whether fully remembered, or not), and both have dealt with them in very different ways. That is, up until they find each other, and things begin to change for the better.
I loved watching Echo's story unfold the most, simply because she had much more of a distance to come, to begin overcoming her problems - after all, she didn't even remember what happened to her, and this gave her predicament an element of mystery, on top of everything else.
Not that I didn't enjoy Noah's story, but it was more of a personal journey, than anything else, and a large part of that included Echo.
And as for the developing romance, I think I've already said enough about this; those two create electricity when they're together!

I think it's fairly safe to say that I absolutely adored this book; I honestly can't fault it. If you're a fan of YA contemporary fiction, then this is definitely for you! Even if this genre is not usually your thing, I would still seriously urge you to pick it up and give it a go.
It's an incredible, heartbreaking, yet heart-warming read. An absolute must-read!

And now for some more excitement! As we're a part of the official UK blog tour, for Pushing the Limits, here at Pen to Paper, we're lucky enough to have an exclusive guest post from Katie, about all things YA fiction. So without further interruption, I will hand you over to her!

What are your favourite recent YA reads?
My top five in no particular order:

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter (I had the privilege of reading an ARC recently. It’s not due out until Fall 2012)
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Why did you get into YA writing? Were there any particular books that inspired you when working on Pushing the Limits?
"To me, being a teenager is like standing on the edge of a cliff and laid out in front of you are all the possibilities for the future. Adrenaline rushes through your blood stream as you think about all the adventures waiting for you, but your hands also start to sweat. In order to experience all that life has to offer, you have to jump.

Jumping can be terrifying.

That gray area between being a child and becoming an adult is rich with emotions. I love capturing those emotions and the rush of jumping into the future. This is why I write YA.

The first novel I ever stayed up all night to read was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It was the first time in my life I had connected to characters in a book. I loved the relationships between the characters—how friends became family. When I was writing Pushing the Limits, I knew I wanted to make that same connection between my characters."

Well, I personally think you achieved that goal, Katie, and more! As always, the links to buy the book are at the top of this post, as is the link to the goodreads page. I cannot urge you more to go and click at least one of those links!

Video Review


Isabelle said...

I'm so jealous that she got an ARC of Alice in Zombieland. O_O

But awesome interview!

Pen to Paper said...

I also have one *shifty eyes*
It looks amazing, doesn't it! :)

Glad you enjoyed the post!

Antoinette said...

Great review, I have been passing by this one too because I am into more dystopian, mystery and paranormal romance. But after reading your review, I might give it a chance. :)

Any good dystopian that you've read lately????

Pen to Paper said...

I'm usually more of a fantasy/science fiction girl, myself, as well - but I adored this (if you couldn't already tell that from this review)!

I think the last Dystopian I read was Slated by Teri Terry, and that was amazing! You'll find my review in the catalogue page above :)

Dani x

Antoinette said...

It won't be released until 2013 over here in the US...:( But thanks I will put it in my TBR pile.

Demitra & Anastasia said...

OMG! Alice in Zombieland ... I want that book so bad! I'm going to go cry in a corner until it's released, and I can buy it. (2013!) Even though I'm extremely jealous, I hope you enjoy it.

Anastasia @ http://characterized.blogspot.com/

akiran_ahyii03 said...

I'm getting convinced that this will also be one of my favorites this year. I can't wait to have a copy of this soon! Great review by the way.

Pen to Paper said...

Antoinette - try The Book Depository!
There's a link in my right side bar :)

caroline.taylor078 said...

I was the same as you with this book Dani, I thought it sounded pretty good but I wasn't desperate to read it, however the amount of amazing reviews it has had made me order it and it arrived yesterday, hopefully I will enjoy it as much as you!

Pen to Paper said...

Caroline, I have no doubt that you will be like me, even before you're half way through.
My mind was totally changed before the half-way point, and I was totally obsessed with it!

Neyra said...

Great review Dani! :D Glad you enjoyed the book as well, I read last week and fell in love with it completely! >.< So much awesome in one book! :P


Chocolate Chunky Munkie said...

Fantastic review Dani! I know when you rave about a book it is certainly time for me to take notice and get it read! I will certainly be getting my teeth into this one soon. I can't wait :) Great author interview!

Jen x

Tabitha said...

Fantastic review! I just finished this one last night and I definitely agree with you. And yeah.. those two create electricity when they are together!

Vicky @ Books, Biscuits, and Tea said...

Great review hun! :) I won a copy of this one last week and I can't wait to read it! I know what you mean by the "best book I've read this year" bit - I read some people's reviews and even though it does sound like a great contemporary novel, I didn't see what the hype was about. I guess I'll just have to wait and see! :) So glad you enjoyed it! xxx

Pen to Paper said...

Vicky, I have no doubt that you will proven wrong on that, just like I was! I was so sceptical, haha!

Let me know how you get on with it (though I've no doubt a review will pop up on your blog, when you've read it :P).


Eli Yanti said...

Nice review, cant wait to read this book :)

Veronika said...

Pushing The Limiths took my attention the first time I read about it! I keep reading all-amazing reviews about this book. I need to read it!

Denice Mae Cordero said...

I really wish this book is sold here... Sometimes I really hate the bookstores here... Anyway, I really want to read this book cause of the staggering number of positive reviews for it... And don't worry, we all judge at the beginning, it's pretty natural for us to do that... Thank you for this!!!

Gisele said...

I have one copy of Pushing the Limits and my uncle house in the US and I have to wait till the holidays to read it. That's the only time he travels here! T_____T I'm dying to read about Echo and Noah! Arrrgh! Great review! :D

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