Release date: July 31st 2012
"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 saw a couple of early, glowing reviews of this book (namely from Asher at Paranormal Indulgence) which led me to request it on Netgalley, and I’m SO glad I did.
At first I thought it might be a little stereotypical (albeit a stereotype I adore) what with the whole good girl/bad boy thing; and at times it was, but mostly it was so much more than that. There was plenty of build up to the relationship which I liked. It wasn’t just “I hate you, let’s make out”; everything developed in a very organic manner. I’ve seen some comparisons to Perfect Chemistry and whilst I can see the similarities, I personally preferred this. The relationship developed more naturally for me and Noah was a bit less cheesy. I liked how they had an ulterior motive which drew them together, and created their relationship, I thought that aspect of it worked really well.
Echo is a hot mess, she can’t remember where the scars on her arms came from and she resents her stepmother, feels neglected by her controlling father and is estranged from her mother. Her older brother was killed at war, and half her friends won’t acknowledge her in public because she’s so ‘weird’. A lot of Echo’s story was a fight between what she wanted and what others thought she should want. I really identified with her need to be first in someone’s life, to be the most important thing to one other person. It’s a selfish desire but I think it’s one we all harbour. I think she really grew as a person during the book, which was really good to see.
I did really like Noah, I liked his attitude and how he treated Echo. I did get annoyed with him at points, because he was so naïve and unrealistic about certain things and I just wanted him to be a bit more logical and look at the situation properly. He did make the right call eventually, but I did want to shake him half the time and be like “sort yourself out, boy!”.
There was almost a mystery element to this book and I found that quite interesting for such a contemporary book. I was so intrigued about where Echo’s scars came from, what happened to her, what happened with her mum. I thought everything was revealed fantastically, with enough build up to keep me interested but not too extreme that I was sceptical. The whole thing was quite sad really, and I definitely felt for Echo and what she had gone through.
I think the important thing in these sort of stories is to show how the 2 MC’s really help each other, how they improve each other and encourage growth and maturity without turning the other person into something they’re not, and I felt Pushing the Limits did that wonderfully. It definitely helped seeing the story from both Noah and Echo’s perspectives, although because I read an ARC the splits were really abrupt and not indicated well, so it sometimes took me a while to realise that I was reading from the other character’s POV.
At times this was a little too intense for me in terms of plot and relationship between both Echo and Noah, but on the whole I found it totally addictive, totally intriguing and very well written. Definitely a new favourite in this genre.