Before I read Pushing the Limits, I saw it literally everywhere. Lots of the blogs I follow had reviews up, and they were all sparkling. I saw it every time I went to the bookstore. Everyone (truly, I can't recall one bad review) fell in love with this book.
And yet, I held back.
It was probably b/c whenever I see a story like this--a YA romance with lots of drama--there's a 50/50 chance I won't enjoy it. Why? Well, in romance especially, I'm one of those people who have to care about the characters first, plot second. Stories like this depend completely on the main characters. So, I didn't pick it up immediately, and now my only question is:
Why did I wait so long? J
Echo and Noah were both intriguing. I mean, seriously, I can't pick a favorite; I liked them both equally. The dual POV was used to great affect here. I got a chance to be in the heads of the characters, and I loved it. Both kids are dealing with their own issues (Echo with her scars and tragic past, Noah with the death of his parents, losing custody of his brothers). But what made them even more interesting was their initial dislike for each other.
I really love it when there are these awful first impressions. McGarry did a great job here b/c both Echo and Noah were equally prejudiced at first. Echo thinks Noah's an antagonistic jerk who's constantly stoned. He thinks she's a hot, weird girl with perfect grades and the perfect life. And the changes in perspective come about so naturally b/c the writing is spot on.
Everything changes when: Noah sees Echo's scars for the first time.
His reaction surprises her. Instead of being a jerk about it or spreading rumors, he keeps her secret. This is when their feelings really begin to take off. Noah is curious about Echo, can't get her out of his head. Echo doesn't know what to think about Noah's silence. It's the perfect catalyst.
Which brings me to The Romance. *sigh* The chemistry was undeniable. When Noah gives Echo his coat at a party--his only coat mind you--and then almost kisses her b/c it's her birthday… When he serves her dinner at the diner… The way he always accepted and didn't freaked out about Echo's scars or ask her to hide them… The development of their relationship was terrific and had a believable desperation.
Actually, I think this book is what New Adult aspires to be. It's extremely dramatic--McGarry's characters go through hell, and you never know until the end if they'll make it out in one piece. The romance is mature with high stakes that will have life-altering consequences. Even though Echo and Noah are still in high school, we get the sense that they are adults already, forced to grow up faster b/c of their experiences.
Great book, I really loved the chemistry/romance, and the resolution at the end!! I'm sorry I waited so long to read it--but I will keep an eye out for any more of McGarry's books J