Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry: The Review

Pushing the Limits
Katie McGarry

Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Mira Ink
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository

No one really knows what happened the night Echo Emerson got the scars that cover her arms. And those who do know, well they aren't telling. Echo knows her mother is responsible, but she doesn't remember what her mother did to her or why. As she works her way through therapy session after therapy session, she meets Noah Hutchins. Noah, who may just have as many issues and secrets as Echo does. Girls like Echo and guys like Noah, they don't mix. But as they begin to confide in one another, they can't seem to fight their feelings.

As always, I will try to be as honest as possible in this review, without spoilers and without ranting (too much). But oh dear, when I first started this, I honestly thought I was about to defy the blogosphere and completely hate this book. Everyone had been telling me how much they enjoyed it, how great it was and so I went into it with high-ish expectations. I enjoyed the book, I didn't love it but I didn't completely hate it either.

Echo Emerson, and herein lies my first issue. Echo, really? What parent is that cruel? And then to heap it on more, her brother is called Aires, what is with that spelling? That poor character should be glad he is dead, he got off light there. Having to go a whole lifetime being called Aires, now that would hurt. 

Okay, silly character names aside I did enjoy quite a bit of this book. At first, I was really unsure. I am not a fan of angst and melodrama, and this is packed full of angst and melodrama. It's like a whole years worth of crappy soap opera drama crammed into one book. These two main characters, my god are their lives awful. Honestly, any bad thing that can happen to a person, well it has happened to one of them. That seemed a bit too much for me and I was tempted to put the book down after a few chapters.

But then, the tides turned and suddenly I found myself really enjoying this book. Noah and Echo had some rather great moments together, and for someone who cringes at romance in books, that is saying a lot. So about 100 pages in and I was really enjoying it. I was beginning to root for both Echo and Noah; I really wanted things to work out for them as individuals, not just as a couple. The chemistry between them really showed and that can be hard to find in a book.

I did love Mrs. Collins, their counsellor. She was my favourite character if I am honest, I just thought she was brilliant. She spoke so much sense at times that I wanted to applaud her. Another great character, I found, was Beth; Noah's foster sister, who is funny and honest and a bit of a bitch. But that was what I loved about her, she had an attitude and a personality.

So why did I have so many issues with it? Well as it went on, and it did go on and on, I started to get a bit bored, the characters got a bit repetitive in the things they would say or do and I wanted it to end a bit quicker. If I'm being honest, this book was too long. It could have been a good 150 pages shorter, not tried to put in so much drama and I would have probably rated it a lot higher. 

Now for some of the reasons I disliked the book:

The angst and cringe: I can watch rom-coms, in fact, there are quite a few I love. The Notebook, I can watch that over and over again and I don't get sick of it; that might have something to do with Ryan Gosling though. But there is something about reading romance that is  a lot more cringe inducing. And this certainly made me cringe. Some examples of things that had be wincing:

  • '"It doesn't get better," I said. "The pain. The wounds scab over and you don't always feel like a knife is slashing through you. But when you least expect it, the pain flashes to remind you you'll never be the same."
  • 'I flashed a smile to keep the honesty of the statement from corroding the remainder of my heart.'
And cue the cringing. Nobody talks like that, at least no one I've ever met. 

The preaching: I hate, and I mean hate, feeling like I'm being preached too. This book, I'm sorry, but it kind of made me feel like that. I find it unrealistic that every single person in this book had a belief in God. I've been alive twenty-two years and can probably count on one hand the number of people I know who have any belief in a religion or god. I was not at all surprised to get to the end of the book and find God at the top of the acknowledgements page. 

The length: If this had been 100-150 pages shorter I would have probably been writing a very different review right now. It would probably be getting a 3.5* rating or more, because at one point I was really loving it. But, the book was too long, it got a bit too repetitive and boring and I started feeling like I wanted to skip ahead. 

The use of 'in': Echo keeps referring to her and Luke's relationship and the fact she is not 'in' with him. What she means is that she is not in love with him. Why she can't simply say that I will never know. But "I'm not 'in' with him" is said so many times, that I wanted to scream. Is that a thing? I have never heard that before in my life. Finish the sentence Echo, come on girl you can do it!

I had a few other issues as well. Echo calls her dad, daddy - that's just creepy. From a child it's sweet and sounds right. From someone who's eighteen it sounds really, really creepy. I'm not sure why it feels creepy, it just does. I called my dad that when I was a child, not as an adult. Also, Echo and Noah's relationship was really nice in the beginning, I actually really enjoyed it but then it got a bit too full on too quickly. Those kind of relationships, where after two weeks they are proclaiming how they will be together forever; to me it's ridiculously unrealistic. 

So I don't know what to think. There were definitely parts I enjoyed, and obviously there were parts I didn't. But overall if you are someone who enjoys young adult romance, then I actually think this book is for you. I'm just hard to please when it comes to romance books. Unfortunately, I bought the second book as well because I have an ARC of Crash Into You. Now I'm torn as to whether I should read them or not. Any opinions? Are they better? Worse? More angst filled or less so?


Loved half and disliked half.
Sorry everyone who recommended it, me and romance books have a love-hate relationship at times.

Any one else who reviewed it and either loved or hated it, I'd love to see why so please leave a link to review or blog so I can come check them out! 


  1. Not your cup-of-tea, huh? I haven't read this book, yet, but it does come highly recommended. I guess, it depends on the reader, always. Some books are meant to be read and liked, and some should remain unread.

    1. Yeah, it wasn't awful and I wouldn't not recommend it. Fans of teen romance, I think they would probably love it. It wasn't the worst book I have ever read or anything, it just wasn't my type of book overall.

  2. Oh wow, sorry to hear it had a few disappointing things, but I'm glad it ended up picking up. I'm going to warn myself against the preaching because that is one of my pet peeves. Thanks for your honest review though!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. It's not even that it's really preachy, it's just how she makes every character religious - it just felt unrealistic to me and grated on me. Thanks, I was worried because everyone else seemed to love it, but I have to be honest. Thanks! =D

  3. I enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it either. I kept hearing such great things about it, but it was rather angsty. There were definitely sweet moments between Noah and Echo, and if you're in the mood for a dramatic romance type book, this is good for that. But I don't feel compelled to read the next two books in this series. Thanks for the honest review! ~Pam

    1. I felt the same, I enjoyed it but I wasn't really mad about it, I didn't want to go recommend it to others. Oh the angst was terrible but I definitely agree that some moments between Noah and Echo were so adorable I was actually sighing! Glad to see I wasn't alone in my feelings. I'm reading the other two as I received the third as an ARC. Second one going better so far!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, it always makes my day! Because of time restraints, this is now an award free zone but thanks so much for considering me! Feel free to leave a link to your own blog and I will come visit.