4.5 stars ~ I don't read contemporary novels very often, but when I do, I only read the best. Yep, I sound like a certain old man in a crappy beer commercial but it's true. I can pick them! Okay... not really. I go by everyone else's recommendations but hey, you've got to start somewhere, right? Once I read the synopsis to Pushing the Limits, I ran for my life over to NetGalley and begged for a review copy (thank you Harlequin Teen)!
On the very first page, I was immediately thrown into Echo's world of social workers, child protective services and a family that takes dysfunction to a "crazy" new level. Noah isn't in a much better situation, being shipped from one foster family to the next. How they're thrown together completely works for me. I didn't roll my eyes once nor did I shout, "UGH, I've seen that before!" Ms. McGarry's story is cleverly woven into a tale of getting over loss, both those lost to death and those people still alive that we've lost our relationships to. A deep, heavy read? Nah, not too much. Still a great summer read. It'll just choke you up a bit and make you use a few more brain cells.
The story is told in both Echo and Noah's point of views and it's Echo's wit and snark that I enjoy the most. Even with the heavy subject matter, Ms. McGarry is able to make the character's voices completely believable. The character's thought processes and solutions to their troubles were completely in line with their ages and experience. Absolutely realistic! I really can't say enough how much I appreciated this book for it's appropriateness for the YA audience and how much I, as an adult, enjoyed it!
You'll probably see many comparisons of this book to the Perfect Chemistry series. While it's just as good, it is different. Yes, you do have the bad boy and the "good" girl get together, but that is NOT at all what this book is about. I think the book is about finding that person who will actually get to know who you are. Ahhh, young freakin' love... I'll eat it up any day!
Similar to Perfect Chemistry, Pushing the Limits appears to be a series where we have a book for each side character (maybe?). There's a second book coming out in 2013 called Dare You To and this will be Beth's story (Beth is Noah's "sister"). After reading the teaser for it, I absolutely can't wait for it to come out!