TITLE: Pushing The Limits
AUTHOR: Katie McGarry
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Harlequin Teen/2012
GENRE: YA Contemporary
SERIES: A companion story is previewed at the back
So this book took the blogosphere by storm this summer and I spent a good few months dying to read it. It got some pretty positive reviews and I believe it's currently a nominee for goodreads' choice 2012 best young adult fiction. That's all to say, there was a lot of hype for this book leading to some pretty high expectations.
So I finally read it last month and I'm not sure it lived up to everything I heard, but it was thoroughly entertaining. The story is fairly typical from the outset, straight A student, parent pleasing good girl meets brooding and mysterious bad boy. They fall for each other. Drama ensues. With stories like this one I find it's less about what's happening as how it's being told. If I can engage with the story and the characters I'm in.
Pushing the Limits takes a slightly different approach in that she's kind of a social outcast, hanging onto the edges of popularity after a traumatic incident involving her mother left her with scars and amnesia. Noah is the bad boy foster child whose parents died a few years before. They both have dark pasts, they're both scarred.
What I liked about this is that McGarry doesn't shy away from the darker side of high school. These are teenagers with real problems who are trying to find a way to cope with life. Drugs, alochol, sex, it's all included. It made this particular story feel a little more grounded to me, like what I actually remember from high school. There are consequences and both Noah and Echo feel like real people if that makes any sense.
I liked this story. I wanted to know what had happened to Echo to make her the way she was and I wanted Noah to find a new beginning after being trapped in the past. I also liked that we were able to see both characters perspectives and watch them both grow as McGarry wrote alternating chapters for the two protagonists.
I had some issues with the writing. It was a little mired in cliches at the time. There are a few phrases that tend to get repeated in romance novels and this one definitely fell prey to that. However, over all it was an enjoyable read. I hesitate to say this is a light, easy read because of the darker subject matter, but at the same time it isn't what I would describe as a serious work. It's a book that I found thoroughly engrossing and could easily read. It's not my favourite book of the year, but I would read it again and definitely don't regret purchasing it.