Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: Pushing the Limits by Kaite McGarry

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
384 Pages

"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

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.



But sadly, I must start this review with a disclaimer: Once again, I must state that I do not like writing bad reviews. I hate it, most of the time… But this book really upset me. (I'm about to rant a bit, so look away if you must.)

Okay. So I'm not completely unbiased as I judge this book. I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar II Depression Disorder when I was eighteen and since then, I've done a lot of studying on it, had therapy over it, been to counselors and psychiatrists. I'd say I know the mental illness better than the back of my hand and this book made me livid. Bi-Polar Disorder does not make you a monster, that may not have been how the author tried to portray the illness, but that's what it read like to me. It does not mean you are crazy. It does not mean that you want to kill yourself and your children, or leave them and forget them. Even if the author is writing about Bi-Polar I, the disorder causes mania meaning you basically have no control of your emotions, but let them control you. Bi-Polar I usually goes through months at a time of a high or low. Mania can involve spending all of your money, or having copious amounts of sex, or trying to kill yourself (sometimes succeeding), but homicide is a very, very, very, very, very rarely linked to the disorder. As this story unfolded, I wanted to cry over the misconstruction of it.

I get what the author was trying to do, really, I do. I'm not saying that everyone with Bi-Polar disorder is a good person, but not everybody you see on the street is good either. What bothers me is not that the woman with Bi-Polar disorder was the bad guy, but the fact that everyone thought she was toxic. Echo linked the disease as being crazy, instead of placing the blame on her mother. I get that you are somewhat in denial, Echo, but your mother is not evil. She is mentally unstable. She needs medical treatment and an outlet for grief. 

This book felt unreal to me. The romance, Noah's crude point-of-view, the family situations, the counseling, the high school experience. Everything about this book was awkward.

This is how I read it: "Oh yeah, you've been going to my school for quite some time, we've even had classes together, but after I made fun of you one time and we met in the counselor's office, I think we are meant to be and I'll never sleep with anyone else. Luv u." This is not real life. I'm sorry, but I expected so much more from this book. This is one fat cliche. Seriously, bad boy, that secretly wants to be good, with the good, misunderstood girl. Somehow they fall in love, but it's forbidden and against all odds.They fight through barriers that are only there because of a lack of communication and try to find happiness.

It was like a train-wreck. I couldn't stop reading. I LOVED the idea of the story. I'm even okay with the fact that the "bad guy" is Bi-Polar, but nothing in this book adds up for me. Why did it take so long for Echo to remember something that took me seconds to clue into? I mean, she has all the pieces in front of her. She didn't seem like the smart girl she was said to be to me. How do poor foster kids afford tattoos? This has been a question of mine in every book with a situation like this. Why are you friends with jerks, Echo? Seriously. You have one good friend, yet you hang around the rest of these losers and practically hang on their coattails. Maybe I'm just tired of weak women, but really… This girl frustrated me beyond belief.

I didn't like the characters. At all. Echo was three different people at one time - that's not Bi-Polar Disorder, dear, that's Dissociative Identity Disorder, better known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Plus she has absolutely no backbone. Come on! Stand up for yourself. Your family has hurt you constantly, you are unhappy with your life, but you are doing nothing about it! The entire book, I waited for Echo to resolve her relationships with her family members. I was sorely disappointed when it just settled. Noah was disgusting. I'm all for bad boys. I love them… Most of them. But the cliche in his sexist, fake holier-than-thou attitude just annoyed me. As I reread through all of my notes, I'm laughing so hard, because honestly, I'm funny and I make some excellent points, if I do say so myself. I wish I could give you all of the excerpts of my hilarity, but there are too many to type. So I'll leave you with this:

"Come on, my little siren. Come to me." - 37%, Noah POV

My written response: "holy john travolta, this boy is terrifying. what a creepy little sh*t. who thinks like that besides pedophiles? really. this is real life. i feel the need to slap myself in the face with a desk and alert the cops in this story."

So, as much as I hate writing bad reviews, by the end of them, I've had fun. I've got a lot of unresolved anger and I take it out on unsuspecting books that I can't stand. But that's my opinion and...

I received and e-copy of this novel from the publisher through Netgalley for my honest opinion and review.
*And I hope Harlequin can forgive me for this review.*


  1. Oh! So far, I've only read great reviews about it. I'm glad to read your review, I like to read good and bad reviews as well, it gives me different perspective of a book. =)

  2. Wow this is the first "not five star" review I've read about this book :) Thank you for writing the review and sharing your honest opinion!

  3. I think maybe your experience with bi-polar made you think about this book in different ways than other people.

    It obviously hit a big nerve with you. I don't have this illness so I have no way to judge if the author did her homework or not. Hopefully they are some cases that are like the one in the book.

    I have to say I am obsessed with this book. I just loved it so much. IT was so raw. And so hard to read. And it made me want to cry. But I loved it. Thought it was brilliant writing.

  4. I really liked your review. I just read the book and I liked it, but didn't love it. I think that you made some great points. I had a friend who was bi-polar and she had some issues, but as you mentioned, nothing as extreme as what happened in the book. Great review!


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