Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sloppy Seconds #2: Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) by Katie McGarry


Welcome to Sloppy Seconds!  This is a monthly feature hosted by myself and Teresa at 
Readers Live A Thousand Lives.  In this feature, Teresa and I will be buddy re-reading some of our most favorite books and then posting our thoughts and all our feels.  So sit back, relax, grab a glass of wine, and re-live some great reads with us!



Title: Pushing the Limits
(Pushing the Limits #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: July 31, 2012

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Goodreads Summary:

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.

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Our Discussion
**WARNING: spoilers ahead**

Teresa Mary Rose
So first I just want to start off by saying that I loved this book even more the second time around. I don't know what it was, but I somehow loved it even more. I had forgotten how much I truly loved Noah and Echo.

Michele

Agreed!  This was a great story to revisit!  Noah and Echo are such an amazing couple, and their stories hit me square in the FEELS!  I was surprised by how many little things I had forgotten, though!  I wonder if it's just a lot to take in that first time around combined with reading at a super speedy pace because you're dying to find out what happens.  This time we knew what was coming and were able to take our time and really absorb every detail the author gave us.

Teresa Mary Rose

Exactly! There was so much I had forgotten about this book. Even the second time around, I read it in one sitting because it was so addictive. Prime example of forgetting, though, is Grace. I forgot how much I HATE her. The more I think on it, the more I realize she is the worst of them all. She is so fake.

Michele

I could write a novel on Grace, but I'm going to try to restrain myself.  I think we've all been unfortunate to have had Graces in our lives... well, maybe not quite to that extent, but I'm at the point in my life where I could easily walk away from a fair-weather friend like her.  It wasn't that easy in school, and Echo wasn't strong enough to put her in her place.  That really broke my heart.  As much as I love Lila, I was disappointed in her for not letting Grace have it.  They allowed her to carry on for way too long.  That is not a friend... not by a longshot.

Teresa Mary Rose

And that is what I think is the best thing about Grace because everyone has had someone like her in their life, so you could relate to Echo's position. It was easy to feel for her and see how much it hurt. And really, Echo had enough going on -- she shouldn't have had to deal with Grace and her nonsense as well. And I love Lila, too; but I hated that she put up with Grace as well and, to an extent, even agreed with her. But other than that, I thought Lila was a wonderful friend; and Echo needed her. 

Michele

That's a good point -- and not only relate to but also hopefully learn a valuable lesson through Echo's experience with Grace. Lila didn't always react the way I wanted her to, but she truly loves Echo and has her best interest at heart.  I don't know what Echo would have done without her.  And since we're talking about how lucky Echo is to have Grace, can we talk about how lucky Noah is to have Isaiah?  Those two.  I absolutely adore them and their friendship -- which really is a brotherhood.  Bromances are the best, but those two guys really look out for one another.  They prove you don't have to share the same DNA to be family.

Teresa Mary Rose

Yes, there is definitely a lesson to be learned there with Grace and Lila. It's a true contrast in what a friend is and what a friend is not. Oh, I love Noah and Isaiah's friendship because it is a true friendship. They have each other’s backs no matter what, and I think their friendship is really special. Those two really needed someone to care about, and I love that they found that in each other.  Now you can't mention Noah and Isaiah without talking about Beth. I know we have unpopular opinions on Beth; but really I have such a hard time liking her, even though she comes around.

Michele

Hahaha -- I didn't think you'd let me get away with not mentioning Beth.  Beth is a tough character for me in that she's just that -- tough. Too tough. I admire a strong person, and I have tons of compassion for what Beth has been through; but sometimes she's cruel, and I can't get on board with that.  She's not the only one who has had a rough life, and it bothers me that she couldn't be sympathetic to anyone else’s plight. So many readers love Beth, but I'm just not one of them.  I admit I grew to like Beth, and it was things she said toward the end of this book that made me warm up to her enough to read her book; but Beth and I will never be besties.

Teresa Mary Rose

Yeah, I am completely on board with you about Beth. I do feel for her, and I understand that her life has been tough; but I can't fully agree with the way she handles things. She is horrible to Echo when it is abundantly clear that something horrid has happened to her. As someone who has had it tough, you think she would be able to sympathize. I find her very selfish in that regard. Like you, I do come to like her at the end when she starts to come around, but she isn't my favorite. Even in her own book, I had a tough time. Ryan was the one I truly loved there, but that is completely off-topic haha.

Michele

I do think once she became aware of what exactly happened to Echo, she felt differently; but it was almost too little, too late.  I struggled with her in her book also, but Ryan was wonderful... and you know how much I adored Crash Into You and Isaiah's story, so yeah... we'd better steer clear of that, or you might not get me back on topic. LOL.  Let's talk about Mrs. Collins.  I love that woman for so many reasons.  I wonder if she could have helped Beth?  I seriously admire a person who works with teenagers labeled as "problem kids."  It takes a very special kind of person to do that job, and I hope and pray that there are lots of people like Mrs. Collins in our world because I know there are lots of Noahs, Isaiahs, and Echos.

Teresa Mary Rose

Yeah, it was way too little, too late. I'm not even gonna touch Crash Into You because we will never get back on topic haha. I adore Mrs. Collins, and I love that Noah and Echo found her. She is a wonderful person who truly had their best interests at heart and didn't let outside interests interfere. I think she would have worked wonders for Beth. I love how Mrs. Collins didn't let Echo's idiotic parents interfere because of how it looked, and I also loved that she worked with Carrie and Joe. Because while I liked that Carrie and Joe came to their senses, I thought they were incredibly selfish when it came to Noah's brothers. They were his brothers, and he had every right to see them! 

Michele

She is so amazing!  I love how she handled Echo's dad.  He would probably make me cower, but Mrs. Collins never batted an eye at his nonsense.  Her working with Carrie and Joe was one of my favorite aspects of the story. I think a lot of readers share your assessment of that situation, but I never had a bad feeling about those two.  I always thought there was more to it; and once we got to the bottom of what that was, my heart really hurt for what they'd been through.  I agree he had every right to see them, but at times Noah did not help his cause. As hard as they made it on Noah, those are exactly the kind of people you'd want to love your children.  I felt Noah's pain over his brothers in my soul.  I cried so hard over those pages.  My poor daughter just had to let me hold her and bawl over her. LOL. That was probably the hardest portion for me to read about.  Speaking of bawling... the fountain.  There are two pivotal scenes that take place at the fountain, and I have so much love for both.  I love that one scene is such a romantic moment, while the other is so incredibly endearing and such a turning point for Noah.  I want that fountain BRONZED.

Teresa Mary Rose

There aren't many people who could have handled Echo’s dad, and Mrs. Collins did it wonderfully! He made me so mad -- and ugh, his wife. She makes me want to punch things. Self-centered pain in the ass. See, I never had a bad feeling about Carrie and Joe, and I thought they really cared for his brothers-- I just didn't like that they fought him every step of the way instead of trying to work with him. Because even though he may have been a "bad case," he was still their brother and deserved a chance to see them. I cried so much over that situation. Oh, my. The fountain. Such pivotal moments for both aspects of the story, and both are so well done.

Michele

That was something else that came full circle, too.  I still think Ashley is a ditz and Echo’s dad handled everything wrong; but when it all came out, at least I could understand his thought pattern a bit better.  Still, Echo's parents were a piece of work. But her mom takes the CAKE. I want to get a hold of that lady.  I have no doubt you could put her dad in his place just as well as Mrs. Collins did – so you take him, and I'll handle the mother.  Lol.
Yes, but we knew Noah... they didn't.  I kept trying to put myself in Carrie's shoes and think about how I would handle this big-a$$, scary teenager who had been accused of all these things and was threatening to take away my chance of happiness... and yeah... I got it.  I'm just so happy they learned to see Noah for who he really was.  It was heart-wrenching to hear the horror stories of the system.  Noah went through things he never should have gone through. 

Teresa Mary Rose

Agreed. Ashley is a pain, and that situation was horrible; but I did understand it much better at the end. It still hurt, though, that after everything -- Echo was still second to her dad, and she shouldn't have been. Oh, gosh, her mom is the worst. Not only is she crazy, but she is just horrid. I just don't have the right words to explain her. Haha I'll take her dad, and you take her mom. I know, I know -- and I tried to look at it from Carrie's perspective. I really did. But it was hard because Noah loved his brothers so much. I'm so glad it worked out the way it did. And I also understood, though, why Noah worried about them in foster care because he had a horrible experience and he didn't want his brothers to deal with that. Personally I think the system separating them in the first place was just wrong. 

Michele

You're right -- even after everything was in the open, she was still second place and always will be to them.  It breaks my heart!  But Noah is healing her, and I wish we were flies on the walls of wherever they are right now.  Some of the things we read in CIY has me worried, though.
Hahaha! Deal. We got this.
But I love how we feel differently about this because it's exactly how we should feel given our own current situations.  You have siblings who you love and would go to the ends of the earth for.  I absolutely love your relationship with your sisters -- I completely get how that part of the story made you feel.  Meanwhile, I'm sibling-free but looking at my kiddo while I'm reading and seeing it from a totally different perspective.  I love that this book can span the ages and each reader gets a little something different out of it.  Katie is brilliant!
I definitely got his worry – it's what makes him such a wonderful brother and just a genuinely stand-up guy. I agree, they should not have been separated; but it happens so much with foster care.  I honestly can't imagine how horrific that would be for siblings.
Noah did one of the most unselfish things I've ever read about.  If a reader didn't get the depth of his love for his little brothers at the beginning, they were left with no doubts at the end.  It was painful to read, but it was beautiful.

Teresa Mary Rose

It's so heartbreaking that she always comes second. And even though her Dad did a lot to help her and her brother, he still doesn't treat her the way she deserves to be treated. And that fact that he helped hide her memories because he didn't want her to know his part in it appalled me. I'm so glad she found Noah, but you are right. Some of the events in CIY made me nervous.
You know, I didn't realize that until you just pointed it out, and you are so right. Of course we would think differently about this just because of where we are. I don't have kids, but I have my sisters -- and God forbid, but if something happened and I had to take care of them, I would and I wouldn't want anyone to take them away from me. And of course, you would see it from the mom perspective 'cause you are one. 
I know it happens, but it still makes me mad. And really no way to deny that Noah loves his brothers because he puts their needs before his own.

Michele

I can't imagine a parent doing that -- the whole thing was handled so poorly.  I wasn't sure if it was his part he was so afraid for her to know or just the overwhelming fear of her mind breaking for good once she knew the truth.  Still, no excuse for her to be second place.  I did enjoy his interactions with Noah -- those were awesome!
Yeah, a little something for everybody in this one.  Definitely one of those YA books that will appeal to all ages.  I love when we can bring different perspectives to the table, too.
He does -- a truly selfless act and one that gives me so much hope for a future family for him, too.
I've got quotes burning a hole in my quote book.  Are we ready to share our faves or is there a character we missed... Oh wait...  Yeah, there is.  How could we not mention Luke!!!!  I HATE LUKE!!

Teresa Mary Rose

I don't care what his reasons were because they were all wrong haha. I have no sympathy for him. But I did like his interactions with Noah. The scar-touching and the shaking of hands. Perfect. And I have so much hope for Noah and his brothers now. I think they will all be truly happy now.
I have quotes, too -- but OMG how could I forget to rant about Luke? Gosh, I hate him so much. He is such an ass and treats Echo like dirt. He is really just with her because it "makes sense" and just -- really, ugh, I dislike him so much. 

Michele

Bahaha!  And you are entitled to those feelings, Wifey!  Oh, the scar touching... that was one of those le sigh moments.
Right?  He's such a prick!  There's just no other word for him!!  Arggggggg!!  I think one of the worst things he did was taking her to see that particular movie.  What. An. Idiot.  How self-absorbed are you that you don't see how hurtful that would be?  Oh, I get mad just thinking about it!!  Of course, it was while he was enjoying his stupid movie that a lot of progress was made in the Noah and Echo department... soooo I guess I'm glad he's a self-absorbed prick.

Teresa Mary Rose

That movie was so stupid of him! I mean how, just how could you be so dumb! But you are once again right -- him being dumb allowed Noah and Echo to get closer, and I am a-okay with that. But still so stupid... just so, so stupid. Self-centered pain in the ass!
Okay, now I think we have fully ranted about everyone... I'm ready... hit me with those quotes!

Michele

Okay, here we go!  So many to choose from.  Have I mentioned how much I love Noah and Echo?

“What an odd combination of romantic gesture and horribly crude wording.” <--soooo Noah! 


“She took a deep breath after finishing her explanation of a derivative.  I’d understood a derivative five minutes ago, but I loved the sound of her sweet voice.  Part angel, part music.” 


“Touching Echo felt like home.” 


“‘I wrote about the person I love the most, my older brother, Noah.  We don’t live together so I wrote what I imagine he does when we’re not together…

He’s a superhero who saves people in danger… Noah is better than Batman.’
‘I love you, too, lil' bro.’” 

“My siren had sung to me for way too long, capturing my heart, tempting me with her body, driving me slowly insane.” 


“‘I love you enough to never make you choose.’” 


“The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see—the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes.  No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it.  A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived.  For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.” 


“'I want my mom and dad... I just want my family back.'” 


“'I may not always understand, but damn, baby, I’ll try.'” 


*sobs my face off*


Teresa Mary Rose

Ohh, Wifey... those quotes make my heart hurt... the brother one is just too perfect. Okay, here we go:

"We'd read about sirens in English this fall; Greek mythology bullsh*t about women so beautiful, their voices so enchanting, that men did anything for them. Turned out that mythology crap was real because every time I saw her, I lost my mind." 


"Luke used to give me butterflies. Noah spawned mutant pterodactyls." 


"'Echo, I can't tell you what's going to happen because I don't know. I don't hold hands in the hallway or sit at anyone else's lunch table. But I swear... on my brothers that you'll never be a joke to me and you'll be much more than a girl in the backseat of my car.'" 


"I added a f*cked-up thought to another f*cked-up thought and I created a pile of sh*t." 


Michele

Those are SO good!  The last one... I just had to laugh out loud... again.  
This was such a great buddy-read.  I enjoyed sharing our thoughts and feels so much!!

Teresa Mary Rose

Haha that last one just speaks to me...
Yes, this was fantastic! Let's start the next one ASAP, lol. 


Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1) Crossing the Line (Pushing the Limits, #1.5) Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2) Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3) Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, #4)

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