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Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits - Please see the original review on my blogPushing The Limits is a contemporary novel, and my first novel of this genre was something of a disappointment so with this book I didn't have very high hopes of liking it even though I'd heard so many good things about this book.It centres around Echo and Noah - Echo was one of the popular girls at school with the jock boyfriend until one night when she totally changed and came back to school as the freaky girl with the scars on her arms. Unfortunately for Echo, she cannot remember what happened on that night and is on the search for answers. Noah is known as the bad boy of the school, he does drugs, smokes, and has a reputation for sleeping around with girls - but he also has a dark past and his brothers have been taken away from him and put into a different foster care home than he is currently in, he is on the road to try and gain custody of them once and for all. These two stories intertwine throughout the book as they meet each other upon chance and start, little by little, to get to know each other and fall in love, but with the pasts that the two have had would love be enough?The story is told in the two perspectives of the two characters, Echo and Noah, in interchanging chapters, this I found gave depth to the book as you can see how each character is developing individually than from just one persons outlook on the whole situation. There is no wondering if somebody feels a certain way or is thinking a certain thing because it will always be addressed in the next chapter and because of the fact you're seeing both sides you tend to want to push people into doing things and start getting interactive with the book itself.I found myself not wanting to put the book down a lot of the time because I was so in tune with the story and wanting to find out what had actually happened to Echo and the resolve of Noah and his brothers. Nothing was predictable in the slightest, and everything came as a shock to me in the development of the actual storyline and the characters' issues. At the beginning of the story you think one thing and by the end you're thinking the exact opposite, I absolutely love that in a book when they can almost convince you of something at the beginning, but at the end you realise that it's not as bad as you first thought and you get all the reasonings alongside the twists as to what exactly happened in the meantime - (I hope that made sense).The writing in this book was so emotive and descriptive and that in itself is what drew me in - McGarry definitely knows how to pull on my heart strings and the emotions that she conjured up throughout the book are beyond compare in my eyes. From the reactions of other people, the characters own emotions and the way they are with their parents and around each other, you definitely felt all of their pain, angst and plain raw emotion. The only bad thing about the writing was the repetitive use of certain words to describe Echo in Noahs mind; 'nymph' and 'siren' started to get on my nerves by the end of the book but at least it wasn't all 'flirty wink' or 'fine ass' but that alone was just a minor thing and is the only negative aspect I have.I thought I would be disappointed by this book because it sounded as though it would be a very deep book with some meaningful topics being raised - I was afraid that it would forget all of that and just focus on the 'love' aspect of the story. This book totally blew my mind as it was totally and utterly the opposite. Pushing the Limits focussed on the depth of topical issues and growing emotions in an unstable person throughout the entirety of the book. The topics of peoples troubled pasts took precedence and it was presented in a very informative way and the characters never lost that part of them that would always make them quite vulnerable - obviously people put on facades, but that's a normal part of life sometimes, but I felt that the development of characters was very realistic. I felt that the development of love or emotion was very realistic as well, especially in the circumstances, it wasn't rushed, gushy or over powering to the story line. The love was beautifully gradual with as many ups and downs and doubts as there would be in any normal relationship. I have found that generally when there's a love aspect in a book, that characters, especially girls, will change their values around a boy they like, but Echo never did that and nothing was ever rushed - I found that to be quite refreshing as it wasn't a hypocritical story with hypocritical characters that change as soon as a prospective boyfriend starts to 'swoon' them.The emotions in this book, and not just the love for each other, was so powerful - the love for family, the emotions of not knowing and wondering, the idea of feeling lost in the world. These were just some of the feelings that I got from the story and at times it was so touching that I almost cried, (I don't normally cry in books and it takes a lot for me to get all teary eyed) I felt so much sympathy with Echo and Noah in both of their personal situations that it made me think about my life and how much I take for granted in the world. This kind of thought makes me feel as though I've really connected with the characters, and when that happens it is the making of a brilliant book - one that really makes you think.I am ridiculously surprised with this book and I am so glad that I picked this one up after much hesitancy on my part. This has definitely marked contemporary novels up a level on my spectrum and I can honestly say that I absolutely loved it and it has changed the way I think. Amazing.★★★★★