Book Review, Author Interview and Giveaway: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry!

Pushing the Limits
By Katie Mc Garry
Release Date: 07/31/12
Hardcover/e-book
386 pages
Book Description from Goodreads:
“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.

 
***ARC received by Harlequin Teen for review***
“My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has…well…issues. How do you think I’m doing?”
For once, I was immediately hooked with this book even before I saw the cover. The synopsis for this book was so emotional and intense and I just knew that I HAD to read this book. When I finally saw the beautiful cover for Pushing the Limits, it immediately became one of my most anticipated books of 2012. Especially when I saw that Simone Elkeles had given a blurb for the cover. I was lucky to not only receive an advance copy through NetGalley, but I also got to meet Katie at ALA and I got my very own signed copy!
For those of you who don’t believe in love at first sight let me tell, you it’s real. It was love at first sight for me and Pushing the Limits. I was immediately hooked from the first line of the story and Katie’s beautiful and heart-wrenching writing had me hooked until the late (or early) hours of the night. That hasn’t happened since Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead was released a couple of years ago. I started reading this book on Saturday and finished reading it at 5:30 am Sunday! While I consider myself a fast reader, I never finish books as fast as I want to because of things like my kids, my job and life in general. But this book would not let me put it down. It demanded that I keep reading until I reached the end. And when I finally finished, I still couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about this book and how much I loved it. Yup, I was in a total book hangover.
I consider myself a tough person (even though I’m not) and I refused to let myself cry over movies and TV shows, but this book really got to me. Echo and Noah are two people who have had a really hard life. Echo has scars all over her arms and the moment was so traumatic that her brain blocked it and she doesn’t remember how she got them. Her family knows but they refuse to tell her. Besides, her dad is too pre-occupied with his new wife and their new baby on the way. Her mother is forbidden to contact her because of a restraining order and the only person she could talk to, her brother, died a couple months ago. Noah had the perfect family, but his life has fallen apart since his parents died in a house fire three years ago. Now he is bounced around between foster homes and he is separated from his two little brothers, who he isn’t even permitted to see except for supervised visitations once a month. Echo and Noah are “strongly encouraged” by child services to attend therapy with the schools new clinical social worker, Mrs. Collins. Although Mrs. Collins wants nothing more than to help Echo and Noah, they don’t trust her. And although they don’t get along at first, they slowly develop a friendship that grows into something more. Something very real.
Pushing the Limits isn’t one of the best YA Contemporaries I have read, it is one of the best books I have read, period! Told from Echo and Noah’s alternating POV’s (my favorite). Noah is one of my new favorite male characters. Katie did an awesome job of portraying him as a very real teenage guy. He could be sweet and a jerk at times but his love for Echo, his brothers and his friends made me like him even more. Not only were Echo and Noah so real to me but the rest of the characters were amazing too. Mrs. Collins and even Echo’s dad and stepmom. Noah’s best friends Beth and Isaiah were awesome and I looked forward to any scene that they were in. The relationship between Echo and Noah is one of my favorites. They were they for each other as they went through some of the hardest times. Their relationship was intense, emotional and raw. And I haven’t even gotten to the chemistry between them which was so hot, that I need a whole Thursday Swoon post dedicated to some of their most swoon-worthy moments. I’m always a little worried that I will be disappointed by books that I have such high hopes for and this was most definitely not the case with this book. Katie McGarry has been added to my MUST-read list and I can’t wait to read whatever she is working on next. Pushing the Limits is the beautiful story of Echo and Noah, who have scars on the outside and inside and must learn to trust before they lose it all. Everyone should give this book a chance, because it doesn’t matter what this book is: YA and/or contemporary, to me it’s amazing!
5 out of 5 very sparkly stars!
Some of my favorite non-spoiler quotes from Pushing the Limits:
-Soon the pen she held in her hand drummed in time with her foot. I understood her rhythm. That feeling of everything inside twisting to the point that if you didn’t find a release you’d explode. I craved to grant her peace.
-This was Noah Hutchins. The Noah Hutchins that refused steady relationships or even dating. The Noah Hutchins that only wanted one-night stands. A stoner. My opposite. And right now, everything I wanted.
-He eyes kept their laughter, but her smile faded as she bit her lower lip. Damn, did she have any idea what she was doing? For a girl hell-bent on keeping me away, she sure did everything to turn me on.
-I licked my lips and whispered, “You are going to get me in so much trouble.”
“Damn straight.” Noah caressed my cheek before heading to his seat in the back.
-The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see – the wailing on the 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.
-I swore Echo clutched me tighter before stepping back. “I’m sorry. That was totally inappropriate.”
Begrudgingly I let go, chuckling. “I’m all about inappropriate.”
-“I watched you battle against the worst memory of your life and I watched you win. Make no mistake, Echo. I battled right beside you. You need to find some trust in me…in us.”
***Interview with Katie McGarry***
1. What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on Dare You To, a companion novel to Pushing the Limits. It is scheduled to be released in 2013. This will follow the story of Beth, a secondary character from PTL. I’m so excited for the world to fall in love with her.
2. What are the best 3 words you would use to describe Echo and Noah? (3 words each)
Echo: Artist, grieving, alone
Noah: Loner, brother, untrusting
3. What is your favorite non-spoiler quote or scene from Pushing the Limits?
Actually, I love the opening line:
“My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has…well…issues. How do you think I’m doing?”
4. What would you say are Echo and Noah’s best strengths and/or biggest weaknesses?
Noah and Echo are both loyal and I believe that is an awesome quality.For Noah, his biggest weakness is his fear of being hurt. This causes him to keep people at arms length. For Echo, she so desperately wants to be liked and accepted that she allows people to walk all over her.Fortunately, these two characters help each other work through the other’s weaknesses.
5. In your head, who do you picture as Echo and Noah?
Honestly, I see Echo and Noah very clearly and I don’t really picture them as any actor or actress I’ve seen.
6. Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? 
Yes! My sister-in-law, Angela McGarry, wrote a song for Pushing the Limits after she read the story. The song is called Can You and it beautifully describes Echo. You can hear a sample of the song on my website: www.katielmcgarry.com. Just click on the playlist tab.
7. What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
I’m a huge fan of reality TV and I should be more embarrassed than I am to admit that I love watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette.
8. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
That even though I was bitten by a dog in second grade and repressed the memory, I still like dogs. I’m hesitant when I first meet new dogs, but overall, I get over the initial fear pretty quickly.
9. If you had to pick one book guy character to go on a date with, who would it be and why?
I actually have a crush on a secondary character from Pushing the Limits, Isaiah. I would love to go on a date with him—that is if I wasn’t already married to the love of my life.
Isaiah is dark, a bit brooding, has plenty of tattoos, and, at heart, he really is a knight in shining armor.
10. Describe Pushing the Limits in 10 words or less…
Teenagers fall in love when they break into therapist’s office.
About the Author
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.
Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website: katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.
 ***
Harlequin Teen has provided a copy of Pushing the Limits for giveaway.

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5. Once the winner has been verified, I will pass your information to Harlequin Teen.

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Comments

  1. Ooh, sounds good!

  2. I have been entering a few contests to win this one. It’s a book I really want to read. Thanks for the review and giveaway! You rock!!

  3. Great review and interview. Thanks for the giveaway. I can’t wait to read this one.

  4. FAAAAABULOUS giveaway! I absolutely **adored** Pushing the Limits! As soon as I finished reading my ARC I preordered a finished copy. It’s just *that* good! Squeee!

    Good luck to all entering the giveaway. :)

  5. Thank you so much for the giveaway.

  6. So excited to read this book! Loved the review and the interview (especially the answer to #10! :)). Thank you for the giveaway!

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