Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pushing the limits by Katie McGarry

Echo is one of the school freaks, the girl who vanished for a month at the end of school sophomore year, and returned the next school year wearing long sleeves everyday to hide the scars running up and down her arms.  The rumours are she is a cutter, that she tried to commit suicide - but the truth is much worse.  Echo's never tells anyone what happened that night, it's a secret she wont tell, not because she doesn't want to, but because she can't.  Echo has no memory of what happened that night, all she knows is that something bad happened with her mother, something so bad that there is a restraining order in place and her mother can't see her.  Instead of enjoying her last year of high school Echo is instead forced to spend time with the new social worker, while at home she waits for the step witch to give birth to the new baby - a baby which will fill the space left by Echo's brother who died in Afghanistan.  The baby who will complete the take over of her family - new mother, new baby, and the old Echo.

Noah is one of the stoners, the school stud who can show a girl a good time on a one night stand - as long as she doesn't expect a relationship he can be what she wants.  Forced to spend time with the school social worker because he attacked his first foster father, all Noah wants is to finish high school and get a good job so he can gain custody of his younger brothers.  He knows what he wants, and he is determined to bring his family back together, even though it has been two years since the fire that killed his parents nothing can shake his plans.  Angry at the system that split up his family, and bitter about the way things have turned out, Noah is on the fast track to losing everything.

When the social worker thrusts Echo and Noah together, it is a matter of convenience for them to play nicely and do what she wants.  But as time passes, Echo and Noah realise that they could really help each other, especially if they can help each other read their files.  In Noah's file is the full name of the foster parents who are trying to block his access to his brothers, the people who would stop at nothing to make sure that his brothers can't see him as they file for custody of the boys.  In Echo's file is the information about the night she can't remember, the night she was betrayed.  But through the course of planning their big plan, they realise that they are more than just partners in crime - but are they both ready to admit that they need someone else in their lives, are they ready to let someone else in?

Too often, authors take the gritty and realistic and turn it into something light and fluffy, or they down play the emotional drama that surrounds trauma - but that is not the case with Pushing the limits.  This is not a book for younger teens, not only because of the mature language , but also because most younger teens would have no concept of what the characters are going through.  Rather than taking the easy way out with this story, Katie McGarry has done the characters and their lives justice, giving them highs and lows and moments of realisation.  It is not an easy story to read because of the emotional baggage of bother characters, but it was a read I thoroughly enjoyed and I had to keep reading to see how it ended - giving up TV for a few hours so I could devote my time to Noah and Echo.

If you like this book then try:
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • Trafficked by Kim Purcell
  • Such a pretty girl by Laura Wiess
  • Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott
  • You are my only by Beth Kepart
  • Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown

Reviewed by Brilla

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