by Katie McGarry
To be published by Harlequin Teen
on July 24, 2012
Source: e-ARC provided by Harlequin Teen through NetGalley. Read my review policy/disclosure statement here.
My summary: Echo is reeling after two tragedies: her brother's death and a separate incident that left her terribly scarred, a night she still can't remember. Noah's still raw from the tragic death of his parents and the fact that he and his younger brothers were put into separate foster homes. The two are set on a romantic collision course when Echo is assigned to tutor Noah. He thinks a former it-girl like Echo would never be interested in a guy like him. She thinks a player like Noah would never look twice at a girl who has to hide her arms under long sleeves. But their attraction to one another cannot be denied...
My take: I think many YA readers are drawn to paranormal and dystopian fiction because the life-or-death stakes in these books makes for a reading experience that feels both emotionally intense and fraught with peril. If you're a fan of that kind of edge-of-your-seat reading experience, I do think you can find it in other YA genres -- like YA contemporaries!
Pushing the Limits takes some typical YA contemporary tropes -- no one understands me, I feel lost, my life sucks -- and really ratchets up the emotional ante. Both Echo and Noah have a ton of psychological baggage -- she's wounded and wary, he's angry and defensive. Echo's got a mentally ill mother, a seemingly wicked stepmother, questionably loyal friends and a controlling yet neglectful father. Noah lives in the hardscrabble world of the foster system where love and stability seem in short supply. Both are slow to trust, each is reluctantly attracted to the other.
Although at times Pushing the Limits teeters on the edge of melodrama, it also offers up a compelling plot and multifaceted characters. Noah wants to do whatever it takes to reunite his family, and his love for his brothers is both touching and inspiring. Echo thinks she wants to remember the circumstances surrounding her injury, but it's clear that doing so is going to be wrenching for her. There's nothing very surprising about how either of these situations turn out, but I did really like the way that Echo and Noah are forced into reconsidering some of their goals and preconceptions. It's impossible not to root for these mismatched lost souls to end up with a little happiness. No insta-love or love triangles here -- their relationship is of the sultry slow-burn variety. Love it!
If you love sultry, emotionally intense books like Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols or Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, you need to put Pushing the Limits at the very top of your TBR.
Can't wait to read it? I'm giving away my ARC. Just enter in the Rafflcopter below. Open internationally!
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