Saturday, January 4, 2014

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Publishing Information: 392 pages; July 31, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Series: Pushing the Limits #1

Where I got it: E-book from the library

Synopsis from Goodreads:

"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.

Main characters: 4/5

Besides the fact that the characters could easily be grouped into their stereotypical archetypes- the "bad boy" with a good heart who only goes for girls who are easy, the quiet "good girl" who has been hurt in the past and gives him a chance- I did connect with Echo & Noah.They were both thoroughly sketched characters, meaning that they were well-rounded and imperfect. Some of their decisions were sorely lacking and that made me connect with them because they seemed like real people. My only negatives were that Noah and Echo were stereotypical stock characters and that there was some insta-love.

Secondary characters: 4.5/5

I liked Isaiah and Beth. They were described as "stoners" but they were good kids and funny too. I thought that it showed a lot of depth to show them as more than the bad kids; a lot more realistic. I appreciated the fact that all of the characters in this novel had depth or layers. Even when I hated characters, I could still see their motivation or understand that they weren't purely evil and I think that's the mark of an excellent author.

Writing style: 3.5/5

I like some of the subtlety worked into revealing things to the reader. Some of it worked to mirror Echo's own memory which had been repressed while others simply served to add tension to the story. The writing moved at a quick enough pace that I wasn't bored, but it had enough details that I could see everything clearly in my mind. Some of the downsides were that the book was a bit long and though nothing particularly dragged, it seemed a little much. Another knock was that some of teh conversations were slightly overdramatic and "soap-opera"-y, which is I think a downside to McGarry's writing style. There's a line between emotional and heartfelt and over-the-top.

Plot: 3/5
As with the characters, I felt that the plot was slightly stereotypical in parts. That being said, I appreciated the twists and the way that the plot unfolded was realistic and entertaining. The biggest merits of this novel are that it is character driven, so the fact that the plot has a lower score is not a negative toward the book itself, but rather a difference in the way that the novel is written.
Ending: 4/5

Yes, everything was wrapped up in a nice pretty bow, but I loved how the characters evolved throughout the novel and the ending was a good representation of where they ended up. 

Best scene: Finding out what happened to Echo- the buildup had made it so dramatic!

Positives: Characters! Pacing and description, subtlety

Negatives: A little long, some stereotypical characters and plot points, sometimes slightly overdramatic

Cover: I'm gonna be honest, I've seen this book around before and I have never been a fan of this cover! It looks like a sub-par self-published e-book cover.

Verdict: A complex character driven romance that was supremely entertaining

Rating: 7.6/10 (4 stars)

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