Nov 29, 2013

Book Reviews: Pushing the Limits; Dare You To - Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Release Date: July 31st 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
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.
Um, wow. Tell me again why the hell I waited this long to read this book? BRB while I bang my head against a wall. If you've read this, yes, I now know what the fuss is all about; if not, well, you're missing out. Seriously. Just head to a bookstore or wherever and pick up a copy. You can thank me later.

Contemporary books are either a hit or a miss for me. From page one, I already knew Pushing the Limits would be the former, because Katie McGarry sure knows how to captivate her readers. Echo's and Noah's voices sounded so real, and I just felt this urgency to keep reading, to know what had happened for them to seem so... indifferent with life. I invested myself in them even though I knew it wouldn't be pretty, but I have no regrets.

Obviously, this book is a love story, but damn if it's not so much more than that. Echo and Noah each had their own issues, but they were tackled in a way that didn't push the story into a dark, deep end. If you're not one to go for issue books, don't worry, this one isn't much of that. Or maybe I just tunnel-visioned to the romance.

Echo Emerson is Miss-Popularity-turned-weird-freaky-loner. I really pitied her because she was so scared, totally clueless about the night that changed her life. How terrifying would that be, right? But then comes tattooed, smoking-hot, intense Noah Hutchins. The type of bad boy I will always fall for. Thanks to his attitude, they got off on the wrong foot, but that was what made it fun to watch them slowly opening up to each other, past the defenses that they'd put up. Life dealt them some real bad cards, and despite some bad choices, they both kept their heads in the right place and I really admired them for that.

Now, let me talk about our MCs' friends. Oh, they were so alike yet so different. Noah's friends were, like him, on the wrong side of the tracks, while Echo's friends had the perfect life she'd lost. They were all teens who only yearned to have a good time, but even with their stoner-rep, I liked Noah's friends more because they were real and understanding, unlike Echo's who only cared about what other people thought of them. Well, all of them except for her BFF, Lila—so she totally deserves that novella, okay.

Hilarious, sweet, riveting, and emotional, Pushing the Limits sure lived up to my high expectations. Echo and Noah gave me all the feels; they're one of the most perfect-for-each-other couples I've ever read, and their story is nothing if not inspirational.

MY FAVORITE PART was when Noah, Beth, and Isaiah were in Echo's garage to check out Aires' Corvette =))
"Your car obsession is unnatural." She acted like she didn't care, but Beth pushed off the bench toward Isaiah. "How on earth do you get girls to screw you?"
"Come on, you know the words 'big block V-8' make your panties wet."
"Oh, baby," Beth said dryly. "Take me now."
Echo checked out my eyes. "Are you sure you guys aren't high?"


Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Release Date: May 28th 2013
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."
"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again...
"I dare you..." 
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does...
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...
After experiencing the awesome that was Pushing the Limits, I had my doubts about this one. I lowered my expectations because I knew this was going to be Beth's story, and she wasn't exactly the most likable character in the first book. But now I know that that was unnecessary.

Dare You To started out real well: chapter one and I was already guffawing from Beth and Ryan's verbal smackdown. In a Taco Bell. At night. Even now as I type this, I still laugh just thinking about it. We learn right then the kind of people our MCs were; Ryan, the innocent jock who never backed down from a challenge and one of the most gentlemanly guys I've ever read, and Beth, the firecracker who kept everyone at a distance with her sharp tongue.

But of course, there's more to them than that. Ryan's life wasn't as perfect as it seemed. His family was falling apart and he was starting to realize that baseball wasn't everything. Frankly speaking, though, his issues were mundane compared to Beth's, even when she only had one, really: her mom. Her mother is someone I've encountered in countless books and even in real life, and I've always abhorred her kind. I'll probably always will. That's why until now, I still don't get how Beth could've had this sense of loyalty and responsibility to her when all the woman did was rely on her and mess up her life.

Thanks to their getting off on the wrong foot plus all of their problems and reservations, Beth and Ryan's relationship had so much build-up. It actually kind of dragged at first, especially with Beth's attitudinal problems. But her comebacks were hilarious—as in snort-and-laugh-like-a-sailor hilarious—and didn't irritate me because, having read Pushing the Limits, I'd known why she detested jocks. What I didn't like was how she constantly put herself down. She had more than enough reasons, but I just can't sympathize with people who do that to themselves. But anyway, soon enough, sparks flew and bam, mutant pterodactyls in my stomach.

I didn't enjoy Dare You To quite as much as I did Pushing the Limits because the latter had better pacing, but I honestly loved Beth and Ryan's story more. Does that make sense? Sorry, it's almost 6AM where I'm at. Anyway, this book is another solid piece of writing from Katie McGarry, so excuse me while I binge some more with Isaiah's story!

MY FAVORITE PARTS were 1) Beth and Ryan's first meeting, as I've mentioned above, and 2) Ryan and Chris' little trip to Walmart :))


  1. Great reviews! You'll probably love Crash Into You, I liked all of the books in this series, but Crash Into You the most :) I read and reviewed them all last week, my own little Readathon, it was so much fun!
    I just love Katie McGarry's writing!

  2. I still have to read this book, if I will ever get to it, it will be a miracle! Thanks for the review! I enjoyed reading it :D


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