Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

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 wasn’t too interested in Pushing the Limits, one I don’t read much contemporary fiction and two the cover kind of screams romance but I got the ARC at BEA and so much people who had read advanced copies were giving Pushing the Limits positives reviews, including one of my favourite authors so I decided to give it a shot. This novel is so much more than a romance.

Told from alternating points of view Pushing the Limits is about Echo, who ever since an attack she can’t remember that left her arm permanently scarred is trying not only to remember what happened to her so she can move on but is also trying to deal with the grief of losing her brother Aires who died overseas on deployment. It’s about Noah, who after a fire kills his parents has been shipped from one foster home to another and only wants to be reunited with his little brothers again. It’s about two people struggling with overwhelming issues trying to find hope and happiness.

Pushing the Limits was both a deep and compelling read that had me glued to the pages and desperate to find out how the story ends. Katie McGarry knows how to create realistic characters and she knows how to get me to care about them. Both Noah and Echo are the reasons I did not want to put this book down, not only did I want to find out how their individual stories pan out but I wanted to see their relationship through and to find out what would become of it. Echo is a girl who was betrayed be someone she should have been able to trust above everyone else and because of the aftermath she hides herself from the world and has become a shadow of her former self. Noah is the result of the failings of the Foster Care system, there is barely anyone he will trust and he is both hurt and angry. It took me a while to like Noah; I could sympathize with him sure but because of his reputation for doing drugs and sleeping around with girls it wasn’t until about one hundred pages in that I started liking him as a character but I eventually did and in the end he was the character that had me crying and wanting to comfort.

Pushing the Limits is not a fluffy light read but nor will it bog you down and fill you with angst. Pushing the Limits is both real and hopeful and a stand out début.