Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry Review, Q & A and Giveaway

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Harlequin Teen
On shelves now!
Reviewed by: AmyG (big sis)
Sisters Say: A Perfectly, Poignant Piece
Received from Harlequin Teen for an honest review.

Pushing the Limits
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.

I honestly do not read a whole lot of YA contemporary books.  I do not mind contemporary romance, but honestly the YA variety usually ends with me ugly crying in the corner.  I'm a busy mom of 3 kids, and my kids attend a school in which they go to school 2 days a week and we homeschool the others.  So, needless to say, I have very little time, and the books I want to read are usually for happy, escapism purposes.   However, when people ask me for suggestions, I find myself recommending contemporary YA books especially if they are looking for something meaningful.  And, meaningful is something that Pushing the Limits definitely is!

Noah and Echo have both been dealt a tragic hand at life.  Honestly, I don't know how anyone would come back from either circumstance, and at times through the novel, Noah and Echo think the same. Both characters go on a journey and where that took them left me reeling.  Reeling from the the fear, anger, joy, and pride I felt for both Echo and Noah.  I think everyone that has a love for teenagers hopes and prays that all young adults would be able to defy the odds and defeat their circumstances just like Noah and Echo.

Pushing the Limits really does take you through the entire gamut of emotions.  Ms. McGarry perfectly portrays the fickleness of teenage friendships and relationships.  I could indentify with every person in the novel one way or another.  She captures the raw emotions of those teenage years perfectly, and I think anyone that has been a teen once upon a time or is currently in throes of those years will relate and enjoy this book.  I felt so much for Echo and Noah that I wanted to step inside the book and just fix everything for them, so they wouldn't have to suffer anymore pain!  However, I trusted Katie McGarry to take me to the end of the rollercoaster, and I was not disappointed when the ride was finished.

Pushing the Limits is a story of hope.  Hope that no matter what happens, everyone's life is important.  We have no idea what the person next to us is facing, and life would be much more true and admirable if we were all more willing to love one another.


A Q&A With Katie McGarry

Q: What was your inspiration for writing Pushing the Limits?
A: I had two main inspirations: One, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a story in which my characters felt strong enough to leave their pasts behind and create new futures for themselves. The first scene I ever saw in my mind was Echo and Noah leaving town after graduation. Two, I wanted to write two characters who were facing over- whelming issues and who, through battling these issues, found hope at the end of their journey.

Q: How did you come up with Echo’s name?
A: Echo went through several name changes as I wrote the man- uscript. For a while, she had a very normal name, but it alwaysfelt off. It wasn’t until I looked at Echo from her mother’s point of view that I found her name. Echo’s mother loved Greek my- thology so it made perfect sense that she would name her chil- dren after the myths. I read several Greek myths and the mo- ment I found Echo’s, I fell in love. Echo, to me, was the girl who lost her voice. Thankfully, she finds it by the end.

Q: Which character is the most “like” you?
A: All of them. I gave each character a piece of me (though some have larger slices of me than others). Overall, I’d say I’m a strange combination of Echo, Lila and Beth. Echo has my need to please, Lila has my unfailing loyalty to my friends and Beth encompasses my insecurities.

Q: Did you experience friendships with Grace types when you were in high school?
A: Yes. And the more people have read this story, the more this question comes up. Grace has struck a stronger nerve in people than I ever would have imagined. It seems most of us have un- fortunately experienced a relationship where a person wants to “like” you and wants “be your friend,” but only if it serves their needs. In case anyone is wondering, that isn’t friendship.

Q: Are there any parts of the story you feel particularly close to?
A: Yes. The relationship between Noah, Isaiah and Beth. Beyond my parents and sister, my nearest family members were over fourteen hours away. My friends became my family. The peopleI grew up with were more than people I watched movies with or talked to occasionally on the phone. These were people with whom I shared life’s most devastating moments, but also my hardest laughs. These were people who I would have willing- ly died for and I know they would have done the same for me. They shared my triumphs with smiles on their faces and con- gratulatory hugs. They held me when I cried and offered to beat up whoever hurt my feelings. These were also the same people who were more than happy to get in my face if they thought I was making a wrong decision.

Q: Did anything that happens to Echo happen to you?
A: Sort of. I was bitten by a dog when I was in second grade and repressed the memory. It felt very strange to have no memory of an incident that other people knew about. It was even strang- er to have injuries and not have an inkling where they came from. In college, I finally remembered the incident when a dog lunged at me. I relived the horrible event and sort of “woke up” a few minutes later to find myself surrounded by people I loved. Even though I “remember” the incident, I still don’t remember the whole thing. I only see still frames in my mind and there is no blood in any of the memories.

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and she remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. Katie loves to visit schools and talk to teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach.

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