Book Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Since Perfect Chemistry is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, I thought I would enjoy Katie McGarry’s work. Unfortunately this book was so cloying and melodramatic I just wanted to scrub it from my mind once I finished.

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.

Let’s start with the semi-good. The relationship between Noah and his brother was the most interesting part of the book. The whole fostering/adoption storyline was written, like everything else, in such a way as to try to manipulate an emotional response from the reader. However, it did attempt to convey how difficult and painful it must be to watch what’s left of your family become part of a new one without you. That being said, Noah certainly didn’t help his case. Instead of acting responsibly and trying to take steps to build a life where he could eventually be considered a suitable guardian, he does the complete opposite.

After initially being intrigued by Echo’s scars, I got frustrated the longer we were left in the dark. The secret of what happened to her seemed overly drawn out and anti-climatic once everything was finally revealed. I would have preferred more time spent on Echo actually dealing with her trauma and the reader getting to know her mother (who only appears briefly near the end and isn’t painted in the best light, given that she is mentally ill). The complex relationship between Echo and her mother wasn’t explored as it should have been, which was disappointing.

Unfortunately, the book spends far too much time on the ‘romance’, which I didn’t care for in the slightest. I was really turned off by the constant pet names (“siren”, “nymph”, “seductress”) and the way Noah talked was particularly cringe-worthy. Noah is clearly meant to be the ‘bad boy’ with hidden depths in need of a ‘good woman’ to get him on the straight and narrow, but in reality he’s just an asshole. No amount of simpering over Echo is going to make me like him.

Aside from Noah’s fear of loosing his younger brothers, everything else in Pushing the Limits feels overwrought and angst-ridden simply for drama’s sake, instead of taking the opportunity for a nuanced look at mental illness, the effects of trauma, domestic abuse and the foster system.

*Many thanks to NetGalley, HarlequinTEEN and Mira Ink for sending me a copy for review*

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Letterbox Love 3

From now on, I’ve decided to take part in Letterbox Love, a weekly meme to showcase your newest books set up by a group of UK bloggers and hosted by Narratively Speaking. I thought this seemed like a fantastic opportunity to get to know some of my fellow UK bloggers a bit better.

There’s also Showcase Sunday, hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea and also Stacking the Shelves over at Tynga’s Reviews which I’ll doubtless check out as well.

I’ve got some lovely goodies to share this week because it was my birthday on Thursday, so I naturally got mostly bookish things. A lot of things are actually on order and haven’t strictly speaking arrived yet, but I wanted to show them to you anyway 🙂

Earlier in the week I got invited to the House of Illustration and Folio Society Awards on the Tuesday and the God of illustration himself  was there: Quentin Blake!!!!! He’s such a cute old man and didn’t seem at all alarmed by my high-pitched, squeaky voice and overly enthusiastic declarations of love for his work (I was all nervous and shaky about going up to him!) Like a legend, he pulled out a hand-full of drawing pens when I asked for his autograph!! I also met one of my other favourite illustrators, Angela Barratt, who illustrates fantastic picture books like Joan of Arc, Anne Frank etc. She was lovely to chat to about the business and drawing and where she gets her drawing references from and she also signed something for me 😀 They were giving out very cool Blake tote bags and bone china mugs for free as well!

Finally to finish off a pretty darn fantastic week, I got a published copy of Pushing the Limits through for review AND I found out the day after my birthday that I’d won the giveaway on Refracted Light Reviews for a pre-order of Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh – the one book this year I have been almost giddy to get my hands on!

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Letterbox Love 2

From now on, I’ve decided to take part in Letterbox Love, a weekly meme to showcase your newest books set up by a group of UK bloggers and hosted by Narratively Speaking. I thought this seemed like a fantastic opportunity to get to know some of my fellow UK bloggers a bit better.

There’s also Showcase Sunday, hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea and also Stacking the Shelves over at Tynga’s Reviews which I’ll doubtless check out as well.

I’ve got a lot of great books to share with you all – unusually for me, a lot of them are for my Kindle. The reason there’s so many is because I had some gifted to me by Jo. I also haven’t logged on to NetGalley for a couple of months and had quite a few books I had forgotten all about ready to download. Including one I was literally about to pre-order!  I think I may need to do another NetGalley month to catch up on them all.

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