Ifirst heard about this book from some of my blogger friends, Casey at Dark-Readers who wrote a great review of this after receiving it at the Mira Ink blogger party and I just had to read it. Luckily, the very lovely people over at Mira Ink’s twitter said they’d send it to me to review.
McGarry’s debut YA novel Pushing The Limits is an edgy YA romance that doesn’t shy of pulling punches. Echo used to be popular, but after an incident she doesn’t quite know the truth about, she has become the girl with the scars. Noah is the typical high school bad boy and when the two meet a reluctant romance starts. While the plot may sound very stereotypical, McGarry’s characters are strongly written and the relationship between Noah and Echo is great.
While it might sound like a book about the same old bored tropes, I found that this was a very engaging read. The mystery around Echo’s scars and in particular, the relationship with her mother kept me hooked throughout the novel and I was desperate to know the truth behind that night. McGarry deals with some very heavy themes and issues, but the romantic aspect for me kept this from being too didactic. I also liked that McGarry showed how a character would be damaged from such an event and didn’t just add it in to make you feel sorry for her, which I was worried before I started might end up the case.
If I’m honest, while I liked the allusions to Greek mythology with Echo’s name and so on, I’m not sure if they personally added anything more to the novel for me. They were secondary devices to the plot and as such I wondered if at times it felt a little superfluous to include them.
I have to agree with my friend Casey’s review though that with all the smouldering tension between Noah and Echo (and there is smouldering, fiery, deliciousness, trust me) I wanted a little more. I’m not saying McGarry should have gone Fifty Shades, but maybe somewhere between that and chastity. I do understand however that younger teens might read this, though for me this novel is ideally placed for 14/15+ and I’m sure they can handle a little more.
McGarry is definitely a YA author to keep an eye out for; I’m very interested to see what she will write next and she certainly can write sexual tension very well. Pushing The Limits will be published on the 2nd August 2012 by MIRA Ink, who very kindly provided my free ARC.