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Smiley face Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry | Rating: ★★★☆☆

“I saw the world in black and white instead of the vibrant colours and shades I knew existed.”

This series has been on my to-read list for ages and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews. And even though I’ve heard such great things about it, I didn’t expect to like it half as much as I did.

Pushing the Limits is smart, witty and romantic. It’s heart warming and captures the essence of being a teenager and being in love perfectly. Most importantly, the main characters are well thought out and incredibly fascinating to read about — Echo and Noah are both such a treat to read whether they are together or not.

(When they’re together, phew, do they have some awesome chemistry!)

Katie McGarry manages to create some seriously fleshed out characters with tough background stories that help create them but don’t define them. Tragedy is present in both Noah and Echo’s histories and has left its mark on both of them but she doesn’t let them mope in extreme ways — it makes them darker, true, and connects them. She makes their responses and self discoveries real and honest and overall organic.

When you read from both point of views you get an understanding of these two and feel as though you’re reading the inner most personal thoughts of two young people as they navigate life. It feels genuine. Noah and Echo feel real in ways that are truly appealing to its audience.
Something that many authors fail to accomplish.

You root for Echo to discover the bits of her past that have been hidden by herself and you watch as she grows page by page. She is a refreshing voice and such a wonderful girl who had such a raw, such an unfortunate occurrence before the story opens. As we watch her unravel her past and embrace her scars and fall in love, we can’t help but to love her voice and her mind.

She and Noah bond rather quickly as she becomes his tutor and they develop a bit of a plot to uncover certain things for one another since they are seeing the same social worker/counselor. Their chemistry is instantly seen and undeniable, but that doesn’t mean they hop into a relationship at an unrealistic moment.

It’s heartbreaking as Echo discovers in full details what happened to her on a fateful night — and it isn’t going to be something for everyone to read. As a trigger warning: her mother has struggled with mental illness for years and after Echo’s brother dies, Echo’s mom wishes to reunite with him and attempts to kill herself and Echo.

As for Noah, his backstory is just as heartbreaking. He’s lost both of his parents and landed in foster care. Making matters worse: he is viewed as unstable in many ways due to having stood up for himself in an unfortunate foster home situation; therefore he has lost most contact with his younger brothers who are living with a family who is unknown to him. His biggest goal is to gain custody of the two after he comes of age — he is convinced, as well, that they are living in an unsafe environment.

But are they? Or are they happy and safe?

Can he let go? What is the best option?

Katie handles all plotlines with grace — from the dark to the light, she creates a beautiful picture of growing up, falling in love and life’s up and downs. Pushing the Limits earns every bit of praise it has received and is the perfect addition to your romance section on your bookshelf. It may have its flaws and it may not be for everybody, but is definitely worth a second look.

Say hello to your new favorite teenage-based romance! Hello!

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