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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry (Review + Giveaway)

Genre:Young Adult, Contemporary, Drama, Romance
Publication.Date  July 31st 2012
Published By:  Harlequin Teen | 
WebsiteKatie McGarry | 

Pushing The Limits - Goodreads
My review copy:A copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

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.

“Her shoulders never shook. No tears streamed down her face. The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see--the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life."
“If you’re scared, tell me. If you need to cry and scream, then do it. And you sure as hell don’t walk away from us because you think it would be better for me. Here’s the reality, Echo: I want to be by your side. If you want to go to the mall stark naked so you can show the world your scars, then let me hold your hand. If you want to see your mom, then tell me that too. I may not always understand, but damn, baby, I’ll try.” 
“I've already lost a piece of my mind. I can't trust you with what's left.” 

     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. Katie McGarry did a phenomenal job incorporating some very serious and relevant themes such as death, grief, infidelity, mental illness, physical abuse, and failures of foster care system. The end result was mind-blowing. Through first person-narrative -- alternating between Echo's and Noah's point of view - Katie McGarry told a story that was just as magical as it was realistic and convincing, and just as steaming-hot as it was emotionally devastating. I laughed. I wept. I didn't want this story to end. 

     One of the first things I noticed -- and what made me love this book so much -- were the names of the main characters. They're not just some randomly picked names. They're memorable, powerful, and -- most of all -- meaningful. Echo was named by her mother after a nymph from Greek mythology who got her voice stolen by Hera. The only way she could ever speak was in repetition of other people's shouted words - echoing whatever they were saying. Just like the mythological nymph, our Echo is desperately trying to find her own voice. She is a character full of sorrow and self-doubt, and her tragic story affected me deeply. Similarly, Noah (the biblical figure) was a man of strong faith, who believed in something even though everyone else told him he was wrong. He was strong-willed, devoted, and determined to do the right thing, regardless of how people viewed his actions. Our Noah was just like that - he was all about winning the custody battle over his younger brothers, and the more people tried to discourage him, the harder he fought. And then there was also Echo's brother, Aires - his name sounds very similar to the Greek god of War, Ares. And the fact that Aires died at war leads me to believe that the Greek god might have inspired his name. It's obvious to me how much thought and care Katie McGarry put into writing this novel. She did a fantastic job breathing life into her characters and turning them into real persons, with real feelings, who hurt, loved and bled like real people. I've no doubt in my mind that her characters are ones that will stay with you long after you finish reading Pushing The Limits, just like they stayed with me.

     Read this book. Drop everything else and go get yourself a copy. You won't regret!

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A Q&A With Katie McGarry

 Q: What was your inspiration for writing Pushing the Limits? 

A: I had two main inspirations: One, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a story in which my characters felt strong enough to leave their pasts behind and create new futures for themselves. The first scene I ever saw in my mind was Echo and Noah leaving town after graduation. Two, I wanted to write two characters who were facing over- whelming issues and who, through battling these issues, found hope at the end of their journey. 

Q: How did you come up with Echo’s name? 

A: Echo went through several name changes as I wrote the man- uscript. For a while, she had a very normal name, but it alwaysfelt off. It wasn’t until I looked at Echo from her mother’s point of view that I found her name. Echo’s mother loved Greek my- thology so it made perfect sense that she would name her chil- dren after the myths. I read several Greek myths and the mo- ment I found Echo’s, I fell in love. Echo, to me, was the girl who lost her voice. Thankfully, she finds it by the end. 

Q: Which character is the most “like” you? 

A: All of them. I gave each character a piece of me (though some have larger slices of me than others). Overall, I’d say I’m a strange combination of Echo, Lila and Beth. Echo has my need to please, Lila has my unfailing loyalty to my friends and Beth encompasses my insecurities. 

Q: Did you experience friendships with Grace types when you were in high school? 

A: Yes. And the more people have read this story, the more this question comes up. Grace has struck a stronger nerve in people than I ever would have imagined. It seems most of us have un- fortunately experienced a relationship where a person wants to “like” you and wants “be your friend,” but only if it serves their needs. In case anyone is wondering, that isn’t friendship. 

Q: Are there any parts of the story you feel particularly close to? 

A: Yes. The relationship between Noah, Isaiah and Beth. Beyond my parents and sister, my nearest family members were over fourteen hours away. My friends became my family. The peopleI grew up with were more than people I watched movies with or talked to occasionally on the phone. These were people with whom I shared life’s most devastating moments, but also my hardest laughs. These were people who I would have willing- ly died for and I know they would have done the same for me. They shared my triumphs with smiles on their faces and con- gratulatory hugs. They held me when I cried and offered to beat up whoever hurt my feelings. These were also the same people who were more than happy to get in my face if they thought I was making a wrong decision. 

Q: Did anything that happens to Echo happen to you? 

A: Sort of. I was bitten by a dog when I was in second grade and repressed the memory. It felt very strange to have no memory of an incident that other people knew about. It was even strang- er to have injuries and not have an inkling where they came from. In college, I finally remembered the incident when a dog lunged at me. I relived the horrible event and sort of “woke up” a few minutes later to find myself surrounded by people I loved. Even though I “remember” the incident, I still don’t remember the whole thing. I only see still frames in my mind and there is no blood in any of the memories.

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About author Katie McGarry:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and she remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. Katie loves to visit schools and talk to teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach.


Thanks to the wonderful people at Harlequin Teen I have one gorgeous hardcover copy of Pushing The Limits up for grabs today!

This giveaway is open to: US/CANADA
Ends: September 20th
Please enter via Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Natalie said...

I can't believe I haven't heard of this book until now! It sounds soooooo good! :D Plus I've always had a thing for the name Noah ahah! I'm adding it to my to-read shelf now! Keeping my fingers crossed that I'll win a copy!

Tiffany Mahaffy said...

Oh Evie. Your ability to make me want a book more is going to be the death of me... Okay maybe that is a little dramatic but my To Buy war is getting bigger for sure. Your review was beautifully written and the fact it left you speechless... SOLD!

KindleObsessed said...

LOOOOOVED this book!!! So good.

Tee said...

I have had my eye on this book for months now. I cant wait to read it.

Kristilyn (Reading In Winter) said...

Great interview, Evie!!! This was an amazing book -- I loved it! :)

Christine said...

I can't even begin to express how much I'm dying to read this book! This New Adult craze has me absolutely hooked right now and I can't get enough!! Thanks for the awesome review and giveaway!

Ryan Snyder said...

i love love love loved this book! i want a copy of my own. so bad. i loved their names too. are you excited about her second book! i sort of am. just because i want to see if echo and Noah will appear in it. :D

DeeDee Griffin said...

I love that you loved this book! I've read a lot of great reviews and I'm dying to read it!

Bethie said...

I have been hearing such good things about this book. I also love the character's name. Very cool. Thanks for the review.

Barbara E. said...

I enjoyed your review and I'm definitely interested in reading Pushing the Limits. It sounds like a great story.

Jaime Lester said...

I won it, I won it, I really really won it! I am honestly not bragging, I am just so stinkin excited that I finally have this book on my shelf. I just can't wait to finally be able to get to it, already. Sometimes having a must read TBR list stinks. Especially when the want to TBR is so very, very long. Thanks for the review!

States of Decay said...

Wonderful review and Q&A with Katie McGarry!

Carl said...

Nice review Evie. Very heartfelt and yet insightful as well. It definitely whets my appetite to read the book even more. Thanks.

The Book Garden said...

Excited to read this book.! Thanks for the giveaway.

Amy said...

I loved this book so much!! I keep meaning to go get a pretty finished copy of it. It's one of my favorites that I have read this year! What a fantastic review. You make me want to read it again right now.

Kelly said...

Those are some mighty powerful words for your review! I don't think I have seen any bad reviews. I guess I better get out my kleenex box to read it. Didn't notice the names! WOW!

mmalavec said...

It sounds so....good. I have only read wonderful things about it, and would love the chance to win!

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

GAH. Evie - wonderful, spot-on review as ALWAYS, chica. If I hadn't already sobbed over this book, I would be dying to get my hands on it after reading your review. I'm so so so so glad you loved this one as much as I did!

Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed said...

I LOVED this book, loved the flawed characters and it was heartbreaking and beautiful! Can't wait for the next book! Awesome review :)

Shannon said...

I saw this book on another blog and added it to my list (loooong list) of books to read!

It sounds like one of those books that I wouldn't be able to put down once I start reading it. :)


Holly said...

It sounds great! I've been seeing this everywhere and haven't read a single bad review about it yet. Can't wait to read it!

Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) said...

Okay, Evie.
This book is important to me because it is one that I read and reviewed during our Contemporary Month in June. Remember that I was learning to love contemps and also - even more - learning to love issues? This book is a perfect example of my favorite kind of contemporary - romance + issues. I thought it was wonderful and brilliant and I loved everything about it. I'm so impressed by it and I am seriously impatient for Beth's story.

If we wouldn't have done Contemporary Month, I never would have thought to pick up this book or books like this.

chani said...

This book looks so good! I have been trying to find it everywhere! I would love to win it!

Simone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simone said...

I absolutely agree with your opinion. I love this book - it is the best book I have ever read. I could not stop reading and in some parts I was crying and laughing at the same time. I want it (sooner better) :)

PS: I apologize for mistakes that I might have done, but English is not my maternal language. :)

Simone said...

I´ve just realised that this GA is open just to Canada. That´s pitty, but I hope I´ll be able to buy this book somewhere.

~Jennifer~ said...

I'm crossing my fingers I win, but even if I don't, I'm definitely reading this book. From your review, this sounds like one I'll love enough to want to buy my own copy. :) Thanks for your thoughts and review.

Kylee McGowan said...

What a beautiful review, even if I don't win this giveaway I'm definitely getting myself a copy.

Shae Carcar said...

I've actually already read an ebook version and enjoyed it but i would love to own my own copy! Thanks for the giveaway!
Shae @ Understanding Shae's Story

tellingmelies said...

Drop everything and read this you say? Sounds like a plan!

Michelle Sedeño said...

I've been wanting to read this book! I hope Rafflecopter would pick me so I could read and review it on my blog! <3

Michelle Sedeño said...

I've been wanting to read this book! I hope Rafflecopter would pick me so I could read and review it on my blog! <3

Victoria said...

I haven't read one bad review of this. I can't wait to read it! Thank you.

LisaILJ said...

i can't wait to read this one. Your description was very poetic.

Ems said...

I'm currently reading this one, and I'm on the fence. There are elements that I really love (Noah's protectiveness of his brothers is so heartwarming!) and some that I'm having a hard time with (the demonization of Echo's mother without many relevant facts so far). I'm hoping that I end up loving it though!

Bunny said...

One of my friends gave me this book, and after reading your review, I decided to start it finaly. :)

Sound's good! Just what I wanted to read!

Erika said...

I keep hearing how beautiful and emotional this book is and can't wait to read it! Thanks for the chance to win!

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