Sunday, 13 January 2013

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb:

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. 

The story:

"...growing up means making tough choices, and doing the right thing doesn't necessarily mean doing the thing that feels good."

Echo is damaged, physically and mentally. She has terrible scars on her arms that she tries to hide under gloves and long sleeves and everyone speculates about how she got them, including Echo. She has no memory of the night she was injured. Two years and a procession of therapists haven't been able to help so she doesn't see what the new school social worker, Mrs Collins, thinks she'll be able to do.

Noah had a loving family, once. Now he has a major attitude problem thanks to the screwed up foster care system that took him away from his younger brothers. He will do anything to get them back.

Echo is given the job of tutoring Noah in order to increase his grades and give him a shot at College. Rather inevitably they fall for each other, but more importantly, they help each other to discover the truth and find a way to maybe, one day, be happy.

The verdict:
I loved this book. Really and truly loved it. It reminded me of books that broke my heart as a teenager, books by Judy Blume and Cynthia Voight and John Marsden. McGarry gives us both Echo and Noah's viewpoints. This allows us to sympathise with each character in a way we couldn't if it was just Echo's story. It also creates greater depth. Noah's pain is different to Echo's, but no less important. I'm told that the portrayal of the foster care system is quite accurate. To think that there are thousands of real children going through what Noah has is terribly sad.

This is a romantic coming of age story for two young people faced with gritty reality. I really recommend reading it.

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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A year of books

I entered the Goodreads reading challenge for the first time last year. I started low, aiming for 40 books and there were times when I was behind my goal. When I reached that I upped it to 60, and ended the year having read 84 books.

2013 involves a massive move across the world and a lot of changes, so I may not have as much time for reading. I'm aiming for 50 books initially, so around one a week.

My most anticipated book this year is A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I started reading the Wheel of Time series in 2000. It took me three goes to get past the prologue on the first book. In the end I ignored it and just started with Chapter 1 and went back and read the prologue afterwards. It made much more sense then. I read all of the subsequent books, and then Jordan died before he could finish the series. Sanderson was chosen to use Jordan's notes to finish the series, and that finally happens this month when A Memory of Light is published. It's been a long time coming. Will the folk from the Two Rivers overcome the powers of evil? I can't wait to find out!

I have a couple of story ideas banging around my head as well. It's unlikely that anything will come of them, but I'm going to try and get something down on paper this year as well.

What are you aiming to read this year? Is there a book you're particularly looking forward to?