Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
So wrong for each other...and yet so right.
With books from Simone Elkeles and the like being major hits with the YA crowd, it’s easy to see what this author was going for. The premise sounded good, though predictable, but I looked forward to reading it. I’m a total sucker for contemporary romances especially ones including a male’s perspective, but this story just did not do it for me.
Honestly, I feel like everything about this book is just... trying too hard. From the dialogue, to the different situations and problems the characters faced, not to mention Noah’s “voice”. Let’s just say I found myself cringing A LOT.
Normally, I don’t do negative reviews. Primarily for the fact that I started blogging and reviewing on here for FUN and writing negative reviews for books I really didn’t like isn’t so fun for me. However, I’m always interested in seeing other readers’ perspectives especially when they have an unpopular opinion towards a book and in this case, I think I’m definitely in the minority. So, if you’re interested in my major peeves towards this book, the problems I had are as follows...
First off, Echo. For a girl who has retreated from her old life and turned into a stand-offish loner, she really gets reeled back in easily. Too easily. She just lets her friends and wannabe boyfriend come right back in and push her into things she clearly isn’t comfortable with. Example: her friends convince her to get back together with her ex/wannabe bf just because they miss the way things used to be before the *incident* aka when they were all together and one big giant popular family whom everyone loved talking about. Um, okaaay. Echo, why are you being so selfish? Forget that you’re permanently scarred physically and emotionally, you should really start thinking about the popularity of others and how your acquaintance affects their image.
Speaking of her friends, their conversations were not just shallow, but a little pathetic and I had to make sure this dialogue was, you know, serious business. It was, unfortunately, because it was only the beginning... (More on that later)
Her dad and step-mom (who was her former baby-sitter, I might add) were just plain douchebags. Excuse my language, but really. Every time they popped back up into the story, I wanted to punch them both in the face (yes, even though step-mommy is pregnant! That’s how bad she was).
And this isn’t the author’s fault, but I read this as an E-galley and ugh. Transitions or chapter breaks would have been lovely. Something was definitely off in the file or something because all of a sudden I was in Echo’s head and then the next line was Noah’s narrative. This definitely had me confused and I kept having to reread several times because of it-- so annoying!
Now, the boy. Everyone should know by now that I love a good literary boy. To say I was let down in this department, is barely even scratching the surface.
At first Noah didn’t seem so bad until terms like “little nymph” with the “tight ass” were used to describe Echo. Now, I’m well aware of the kind of pervy crap that goes through teenage boys’ heads and by reading from his perspective, you should expect it, however, I highly doubt any of this is it. The phrases used sounded more like something you’d find in 50 Shades of Grey rather than a horny 17 year-old’s thought process.
Example: “I focused on her tight ass. My siren ate me alive with every movement.”
I’m sorry, but that? Did. Not. Make. Me. Swoon. If anything, this was a phrase I highlighted in my kindle solely because of the fact that it’s the one that had me laughing for at least a good five minutes. Yeah, I’m mature. Description like this may be acceptable in a book attempting towards erotica, but a glimpse into a misunderstood bad boy? Not so much. (By the way, I’m in no way a prude. References to sex, drugs, etc.? BRING IT. Just make it authentic. Pretty please?)
One of the few aspects I did like were basically involving people that were either dead, or hardly in the book at all.
Such as Aires, Echo’s deceased brother who passed while serving in the Marines. Though his presence wasn’t physical, it was clear how close he and Echo were and how big of an impact his death was. Noah’s two younger brothers and his interactions with them were also a nice element. What can I say, I have a soft spot for sibling love.
Oh, and I also liked their counselor, Mrs. Collins. She was rather clever. I liked her, but even she couldn’t make this story for me.
Overall, this was a cute, sweet concept, with a very disappointing execution. If you’re a fan of Simone Elkeles, I suggest giving it a try. I’m not a big Elkeles fan myself, so you might enjoy it!
P.S. If you want a great he said/she said romancey-type book, I suggest:
Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Also, some exceptionally well done books with a male lead, which happen to be a few of my favorite books EVER include:
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (!)
Where She Went by Gayle Forman (!!!)
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
All examples of an authentic boy, if that's what you're looking for!