After hearing nothing but amazing things about Pushing The Limits, my expectations were sky high when I began reading this book. Between the genre (contemporary) and the subject matter, I was hoping to be swept off my feet - and I absolutely was. Katie McGarry's beautifully heart-breaking debut novel kept me up late, way past my bedtime, just to finish Echo and Noah's story, just to read another chapter, then another...because I HAD to know. The more I read, the more I wanted to read, and the further in love I fell with the characters and with Katie's writing and story-telling ability.
My experience while reading Pushing The Limits was such a positive one, largely because of the talent that is Katie McGarry. If you are on the fence about this one - don't be. I would suggest this gorgeous novel to anyone, even someone who doesn't read a great deal of contemporary novels. Reading Pushing The Limits reminded me of just why I adore this genre so much; contemporary novels are the ones that have the power to break my heart, and then somehow, to put it back together - and that definitely happened here, more than once.
What I loved the most about Pushing The Limits were the characters. Both Echo and Noah were two amazingly fleshed-out characters - shortly into this book, I felt close to them, like I'd known them for a long time. As McGarry revealed more of their individual secrets, slowly stripping back their layers and letting us get to know her characters, my heart went out to each of them in different ways. There's a great deal of tragedy in this book, but there's also a lot of hope, bound up between Noah and Echo.
Seeing them go from strangers, to tentative friends, and how organically and naturally it happened - like breathing - was just tender and so special. I felt like I was being allowed to glimpse their private moments, their talks, smiles, and the conversations that slowly developed into more. McGarry gave Echo and Noah time - time to get to know each other, time to be attracted, time to fall in love, and by doing so, she also gave the reader time to fall in love with them as characters. She didn't ignore her minor characters, either - I really liked Noah's friends Beth and Isiah, and Echo's friends.
As drawn as I was to the characters, I was equally fascinated with the story playing out. Pushing The Limits is told by both Echo and Noah in alternating chapters, which worked for me in a big way - McGarry did a fantastic job of individualizing their points of view so that there was never any sense of one bleeding in to the other. The external conflict in both of their lives was heart-breaking! My poor heart just kept fracturing for Noah, with his desire to be there for his siblings, and for Echo, and her strained relationship with her father. I enjoyed watching the growth on both Echo and Noah's parts, as they learned to take a chance on one another, and on being happy. I loved watching them both realize how false their original perceptions of each other were. I'm a huge fan of characters who change and mature over the course of a novel, and that definitely happened in Pushing The Limits!
If you're looking for an extremely satisfying read, that will touch your heart, make you think, and make you feel, then give Pushing The Limits a try! Author Katie McGarry has created an astounding cast of characters, each with a story that will change you. Pushing The Limits is a story about breaking down barriers, changing perceptions, and taking chances, and I recommend it to any fans of YA contemporary!