Saturday 14 September 2013

Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

I am in the minority on this book. Coz I didn't love it. I did like it. Kind of. It was a quick read and entertaining enough, but so many things annoyed me about it. I was actually quite perplexed as to what people see it in that I didn’t, especially at the beginning. There’s been a lot of comparisons to Perfect Chemistry and I can definitely see the connection: the dual narrators, the good girl and the bad boy who are paired together for school and find themselves falling hard for each other, the melodrama and the cheesiness. I was worried it would be too similar, but in the end there were enough differences to separate the two stories, and it was actually something else that annoyed me entirely. Noah.

Noah is a foster kid, separated from his little brothers since their parents died a few years ago. He's been in bad situations and has a serious chip on his shoulder. The only thing he cares about is getting his family back together. Until he meets Echo. Cue sparks and professions of undying love. While it's not quite insta-love, it's pretty damn close. Noah's internal monologue, especially when he's thinking about Echo, didn't feel authentic to me. It was like a fantasy of a guy, as opposed to a real teen boy.  I also didn't really buy the bad boy act - for most of Noah's life, he had a stable family and a promising future. I know what he's been through would screw someone up, but I don't think it would change your personality that dramatically. I could be wrong, but it bugged me anyway. But what really bugged me was his possessiveness. Note to YA/NA authors: this is not romantic. At all.

As for Echo, I didn't like or dislike her. Except for her name. That's just really stupid. Other than that, "meh" about sums up my feelings about her. Like Noah, she's been through a lot, and she has the emotional and physical scars to prove it. I was interested in discovering what had happened to her to make her this way, but I have to say I was a little dissatisfied with the resolution of that plot point. The way mental illness was dealt with made me a little uncomfortable at times.

Something that made me really uncomfortable was the fact that the only explicitly black character in the book dropped her Gs. This was something I noticed with the portrayal of non-white characters in the Perfect Chemistry series too. A lot of people probably drop their Gs in real life, but why is it only non-white characters that seem to do it on the page? It annoyed me so much in Pushing the Limits I almost stopped reading at the 10 per cent mark.

I'm glad I kept reading, because it did get a bit better. It was predictable, but it still kept me turning the pages. Despite my problems with it, it was highly readable. Though I still don't quite get the hype around it.

Rating: 3/5

Head Cast
Steven R. McQueen as Noah

Holland Roden as Echo
Fine Print
Published: 2012, Mira Ink
Source: Netgalley
Get It: Book Depository


  1. Oh, I HATE when authors try to make the black characters seem "more black" by having them drop the g's or just making them use stupid talk or slang. It's SO uncomfortable and unnecessary.

  2. I get why some people really loved this - but I'm in the minority with you :) I think the thing that really didn't work for me was the dramatic dialogue - I couldn't read Noah describing kissing Echo being like wanting to get shipwrecked on her lips or whatever without cracking up laughing! Maybe I'm just too much of a cynic ;)

    1. YES! And the way he kept calling her his siren or whatever. Vom.

  3. Hmm, poorly dealing with mental illness and stereotypical black characters. I'm thinking this one is a no-go for me. And you're right, what is it that makes authors/some readers think that possessive behavior is sexy and/or that it should be considered the norm?! Because it sucks and can sometimes morph into abuse. NOT SEXY.

    Besides, all I can think of when I hear the name "Echo" is the old Echo-the-Dolphin video game for Sega Genesis. Yeah. Not good.

    1. It's a pretty terrible name for a character, haha.

  4. I am in the super super tiny majority that didn't like this at all, hah. Been there, done that, and I've had it better. ;) It sure does have its share of fans, though.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Ha! "Been there, done that, and I've had it better." That's perfect

  5. I didn't like this book much either-it was the melodrama that killed me as a reader who tends to prefer comedic books.