This book won my Reader's Choice poll last month for which contemporary book to reread and review, and here is my review!
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Genre: YA contemporary
Publication date: August 1st, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
"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.
I love this book! It's the type of contemporary romance I find irresistible. It's not really light, but it's not really depressing. It features two seemingly opposite characters with amazing chemistry who struggle with their feelings for each other throughout the novel. It has a good set of side characters—some add a touch of humor (Beth), and others add a heartwarming feel (Noah's brothers)—and some serious elements that I love to find in contemporary.
THE SECOND TIME AROUND
I didn't write a review the first time I read Pushing the Limits. This was my first time reading it, and I have to admit that it wasn't quite as good the second time as it was the first time. I still loved it and the characters inside it and the story that was told, but after reading both Dare You To and Crash Into You, it didn't seem as good (I'm not changing my original rating, though). After going back to Katie McGarry's first book, I can definitely tell her writing and story telling has improved since she wrote it—which is a pretty darn good thing because she did such a good job with Pushing the Limits.
One of my favorite things about this book is the focus on family. Sure, it follows the whole "unsupportive parents" trend, but really, that's a part that is necessary for the story told. I really liked the change in Echo: she started off pretty much hating her dad and her stepmom, but she eventually learned to embrace the family she had and started making an effort to get closer with those who loved her. It was Noah's side of the family focus that I liked most, though. It was so sad seeing him constantly separated from his brothers—they were the only blood family he had left after his parents died, and they were in foster care. Throughout the entire book, I just wanted him to be able to spend five minutes alone with his brothers without someone watching and worrying he would do something wrong! I did like the final outcome of the situation with his brothers, and I really liked what it taught Noah. It taught him that often times, sacrifices are necessary. They are needed to make both himself and his loved ones happy.
Pushing the Limits is my type of book. I often times say that contemporary is my favorite genre, but more specifically, it's this kind of contemporary romance that's my favorite. It's the kind that sweeps me away and makes me get lost in the story until it ends. It's the kind that pulls at my heartstrings, and often times my tear ducts, and makes me really feel for the characters. It's the kind that doesn't just focus on the main couple, but also on serious issues or elements and the growth individual characters' see when they have to face them.
This book and the rest of Katie McGarry's are definitely worth reading, and I highly recommend them!
My questions for you:
Have you read Katie McGarry's books?
What do you think of companion novels?
What kind of contemporary do you like to read most?