Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the LimitsBook: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication Date:  July 31st, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 384
Rating: 2.5 Stars

Goodreads Summary:
"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.

"An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!"-Gena Showalter,  New York Times bestselling author of the Intertwined series.

I wanted to like this book, mostly because of the blurb that promised a "girl-using loner bad boy." And I guess I got that, though not in the way I wanted.

The best way to explain my reactions toward this book would probably be in quotes. So. Let's begin, shall we?

Quote #1: In a lightning-fast move, he placed both of his hands on the brick wall, caging me with his body. He leaned toward me and my heart shifted into a gear I didn't know existed. His warm breath caressed my neck, melting my frozen skin. I tilted my head, waiting for the solid warmth of his body on mine. I could see his eyes again and those dark orbs screamed hunger.

Yummy Noah is yummy. I can totally see the dangerous sexiness he's got about him. However, this would have been a lot hotter if it hadn't happened almost in the exact same way several times throughout my reading of the book.

Quote #2: "No apologies. I could kiss yo right now." Judging by the look in his chocolate-brown eyes, he meant it.
"Don't. I think I'm gonna puke." I loved the way his lips turned up--part mischievous smile, part man of mystery.

Okay, I get that Noah is dangerous and sexy and mysterious. But I don't need to hear it over and over again. The puking part was funny, can't deny that. But I can't handle the redundancy in this book. Especially the parts with Noah always referring to Echo as "baby" or "my siren" or his "cinnamon oven" or whatever it was that he liked about her smell. It got old. And, as I mentioned in my status update, it reminded me of John Tucker Must Die, where I learned that John actually called his different girlfriends "baby" so he wouldn't mix up their names. Not a good sign.

Quote #3: "Yes, but never love. Just girls who didn't mean anything. You..." His tongue teased my bottom lip, thawing my body. "Are everything. I got tested over winter break and I'm clean and I've got protection." He reached to the side of the bed and magically produced a small orange square.

*Cough* *Snort* I think my coffee came out of my nose at this part. I definitely rolled my eyes. Is Noah a magician?

Quote #4: "I made out with Beth." The two of us leaned against the counter and drank our beers.

Do guys tell each other that they "made out" with a girl? I don't know. I just found this scene extremely feminine, for some reason. Except instead of drinking fruity stuff, they're having beers. I keep getting the feeling that McGarry is trying too hard to make these guys seem bad, and it doesn't come off as natural, just stereotypical.

Quote #5: Like everything else in life, if it contained the word free, it implied slow.

Ha! I like that. It's so true. Now here's a little, unique nugget that McGarry lets us see once in a while.

Quote #6: "I wish I could sleep with you," Echo's sexy-as-hell drowsy voice mumbled through the phone.

"Say the word, baby, and I'll rock your world."

*More coughing, snorting, laughing* Who SAYS that? Honestly, if some guy told me he'd rock my world, I'd laugh in his face. It's so cheesy.

Quote #7: "...I added a fucked up thought to another fucked up thought and I created a pile of shit."

Yet another funny nugget in the forest of badly used cliches and sayings. Wooooo. At this point, I just want everything to be over.

Quote #8: I waited for my pulse to stop beating my veins like a gang initiation, for the blood to leave my face and for my lungs to not burn as I gasped.

Errr. Like a gang initiation? What a strange simile. I had to read that a couple times, and I'm still a bit confused. There also is that strange comparison of her stomach butterflies to mutant pterodactyls? The pterodactyl part I can understand, but why are they mutant? Many times, I get the feeling that McGarry is using all these words but not pausing to really evaluate their meaning and what they contribute to the story.

I liked the way that Echo pieces together what happened, but I had to wonder whether it was strictly necessary to have so many flashbacks and so many meltdowns. It felt repetitive after the first two hundred pages, and the last hundred was just overkill, I think. I thought this story could've been a lot more compressed, which would have made the characters much more likable. I didn't really like Echo or Noah, Echo because she angsts a lot, which is obviously understandable given how much crap she has going on in her life. But there are moments where she seemed to acted in a way that was overly emotional, and it just didn't endear me to her. Likewise, Noah's perspective wasn't all that fun to read, either. He uses curses liberally, and normally I don't mind that, except that I think McGarry overdid it again. Also, he acts irrationally, and at the end when he sneaks into Mrs. Collins's office, I don't even get why he did it. It was just confusing to me.

The characters didn't leave much of an impression on me, despite what happened to them. Noah and Echo both have unenviable pasts, and that aspect drew me the most, though McGarry somehow blew them all out of proportion so the emotion seemed more forced than sincere. I don't think I liked anyone, really. Maybe Mrs. Collins, but I hated how she was likened to a dog. All of the comparisons made in this book are overcooked. If we likened this to a dish, I would say it was a delicious bowl of fried chicken that almost couldn't have gone wrong, except in the end the chef got insecure and dumped a bunch of salt in, which completely overcompensated.

That said, this still might be enjoyable, especially for fans of Perfect Chemistry and other books by Simone Elkeles.

Thank you to NetGalley for giving me a chance to read and review this book.

View all my reviews

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