Friday, August 24, 2012

Book review: Pushing the Limits by Kate McGerry

What did I expect from Pushing the limits? A lot, love, teenage angst, drama and grief, something in the lines of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. So do check out my review(and my semi-new review format) to find out whether or not author Kate McGerry's debut novel met with my standards.

Looks like there might be a sizzling romance
behind this cover, right?

The good girl

Name: Echo Emerson
Age: Soon to be eighteen.
Looks: Like a siren(according to Noah)
Family: A bipolar mother, a distant father who married Echo's former nanny, a shallow stepmother and a brother, Ares, who was killed in Afghanistan.
Life: Struggling to blend in at school. Difficulties coming to terms with her brothers death and trying to cope with the fact that she is scarred for life. All of the above is resulting in nightterrors, so Echo isn't getting much sleep.
Bad habits: Trying to please everyone but herself. Other than that, she got none. Echo's your typical good girl, well at least she used to be before Noah happened.
Mission: Trying to figure out what happened the night she got her horrible scars, her brain has suppressed the memory of the entire evening. Fixing Ares care.

The bad boy 

Name: Noah Hutchins
Age: Soon to be eighteen.
Looks: Omigoshsohandsome
Family: Two younger brothers(aka his reason for living), parents deceased. Foster parents and a foster brother.
Life: Spent the past few years in different foster families. Has a history of violence.
Bad habits: Smoking pot, drinking, doesn't really caring about school anymore.
Mission: To get custody of his brothers and to make sure non of them will ever forget their real family.

When Harry met Sally(or you know what I mean)

Echo and Noah attends the same high school, but they have never been on speaking terms. Now the two of them are forced to work together through an arrangement suggested by the school therapist. It is a classical situation where two very different people are brought together and forced to collaboration. We all know how that ends, for the most part that is.

Author Kate McGerry's blossoming romance is nicely done, in the pre-relationship stage, but as soon as their relationship starts to evolve from flirtatious to the real deal the magic slowly seeps away. McGerry's real strength, in this story, lies in her portraits of what is broken. Difficulties and tragedies can change a life upside down, some are able to get back on their two feet, others don't. I feel that one important lesson to learn from this story is that one should always remember never to alienate people who have experienced a tragedy of one kind or another. In many situations there is created a gap between others and the victim(in lack of a better vocabulary). Instead of alienating people we should reach out to them, show them that we care and are there for them, no matter what.

As a bad boy I felt Noah was sweet up until he stared saying things like he wanted to own her and giving her deadlines to follow if she wanted to be with him. He felt a little too controlling, perhaps understandable due to his experience with loss, but not a healthy trait in a relationship.

Favorite character?
The therapist, her role felt so genuine. She cared about her patients and helped them bring out the best in themselves.

All in all I was a bit let down and I felt that perhaps that the story was a bit too moralistic for my taste. My final verdict is a three waning lil' moons.


Suggested for further reading(as they so nicely put it in textbooks):
- Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.

- Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles.

- USA Today's article in which Kate McGerry describes her first kiss with her husband.

Source: Review copy from the publisher via Netgalley.


  1. Hmm, I think I'll skip this one. I do like your new review format though and how you present the main characters and your favorite. It seems like a fun way to write a review.

    1. Thanks, Silje :) I can't give it a good recommendation since it went from rather good read to a mediocre one, unfortunately.

  2. I like the Perfect Chemistry series so I'm excited to read this one. I have read some mixed reviews, but I do love myself a bad boy!

    1. I have only read the first book in the PF trilogy(Silje read and reviewed the second one) but I have to say that 'Pushing the Limits' is far from the quality of Elkeles books :)

  3. Hmmm, I've been wanting to read this one and I loved Perfect Chemistry so now I'm wavering since you thought it was just ok. Maybe I'll move it down in my stack.

    1. Or move it up so I can hear your thoughts on it real soon, Debbie :) It would be interesting to hear what you think of it.

  4. Too moralistic..oh..not my cup of tea

    1. I agree, I don't think this is your cup of tea. And if I'm mistaken I'll just have to take my punishment I guess :(

  5. Sorry this one didn't do it for you Mari, can't say I found it moralistic but you already know that some of the Noah's language annoyed the heck out of me lol. Totally with you on the therapist :)


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)