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.
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Mature YA, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Awesome. Maybe I could be the queen of freekdom, the ruler of emotionally scarred people everywhere. Kind of like a stepsister to the Good Witch.
Pushing the Limits is a brilliant addition to the burgeoning mature YA genre that has recently become one of my favorites to dabble in. This book takes two emotionally screwed up characters and tells the story about how they find salvation in one another. This is not a typical YA novel. Yes, main character Noah is self-confident, brash and tattooed, and main character Echo is beautiful, smart and funny, but that is where the similarities to normal YA-type teenagers end. This book contains copious amounts of swearing, drugs, sexual situations and heavily damaged people. This is not your run-of-the-mill light and happy read about teenaged angst.
This book changes point of view quite frequently, telling the story from both Echo's and Noah's perspective. Echo and Noah are both assigned a therapist at their Kentucky high school for vastly different reasons. Echo has suffered an unthinkable crime against her, that her mind cannot bring itself to remember. She has been left scarred, both emotionally and physically from this crime. On top of this tragedy, she is dealing with normal high school angst - her social situation, her parents' divorce and her father's subsequent remarriage to her former baby sitter, her mother's disappearance, and her extremely strained relationship with her father and stepmother. Noah is a foster child that has been moved between families several times in the previous two years. Where he was once an all-star athlete from a Rockwellian American family, he is now considered a stoner and a punk. He's very intelligent, yet refuses to take school seriously. He hangs out with the "wrong" crowd and is best known for being gorgeous, yet a player. He is only into one-night stands and smoking pot.
I paused in my door frame. If she had never entered our lives, my mother and Aires would still be here, I wouldn't be a scarred monster, and I would know love, not the hate currently boiling in my veins.
Noah needs help, though. He has two younger brothers in the foster system that he wants to gain custody of, and in order to do that, he needs to pass drug tests, pull his GPA up and find a job. Echo is in need of extra money. Although her father has money, he won't lend her any to finish fixing up the car that her deceased brother was working on before his death. Echo is asked to tutor Noah, therefore earning extra money.
Soon after Echo was attacked, she came back to school as a social introvert. She was known formerly as the popular, beautiful girl who dated the captain of the basketball team. When she returned to school after the episode, she had broken up with her boyfriend and was seen as a social outcast. Her friends have been trying very hard to get her back into school society, and having any contact with Noah the stoner is a social faux pas. The relationship between Noah and Echo gets off to a rocky start. He sees her scars, which she usually keeps hidden. Echo is afraid that Noah will tell the entire school about them.
"Are you determined to ruin my life?" Shut up Echo. "I mean, do you have nothing to do but destroy me?" That's enough. You can stop anytime now. "Did you come to this party to tell everyone about my scars?" And I officially became the after-school special on why teenagers shouldn't drink.
Noah has a chip on his shoulder, too, although he does not care about what his classmates think about him. Noah came from an idyllic family. He had loving parents, a home, a place in his school's society before tragedy struck him. He is used to keeping his guard up, because the state foster system has not been a good experience for him. Noah, though, is ready for a girl like Echo, and he's been waiting for her.
Beth had been both wrong and right. Echo couldn't hurt anyone, especially when she seemed so breakable herself. But the need I felt to be the one to keep the world from shattering her only confirmed Beth's theory. I was falling for her and I was fucked.
Noah and Echo travel a path of lows and highs in their relationship, each one trying to hash out their personal lives without hurting the other. They fall hard for one another, but sometimes love just isn't enough. Noah is still attempting to reunite his family, and Echo is still trying to reconcile what tragedy happened to her and who's fault it was. Echo is struggling with her desire to be loved by those that matter most to her, while Noah is struggling with a never ending loneliness, a hole in his heart that he can't seem to fill.
I framed her face with my hands, letting my fingers enjoy the feel of her satin skin. "You're my world, so I'd say that evens things out."
I have to mention that both of Echo's parents are not model parents. We do meet Echo's mom and although she has issues that are out of her control, she is one of the worst mothers I have come across in literature. She is selfish and unrelenting. Where once Echo holds her mom in high regard, we learn how truly wrong Echo was. While Echo is only looking for acceptance and love from her father, we learn about some terribly bad decisions he made that will affect Echo for the rest of her life.
The ending of this book is action packed and emotional. The two things that these characters are fighting for, Noah for his brothers and Echo for her memories and sanity, come quickly to a head. We learn a lot about the pasts of these characters, and we see how they grow up and change through this novel. Although both Noah and Echo have less than desirable pasts, they find refuge in one another and it's a beautiful thing. This book is an excellent study in character development and I urge you to run to the nearest book store and pick up a copy.
It had been so long since I'd let myself fall for anybody. I gazed into her beautiful green eyes and her fear melted. A shy smile tugged at her lips and at my heart. Fuck me and the rest of the world, I was in love.
Thanks to Harlequin Teen for providing a review copy of this book!