Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Okay, confession time: I really despise McGarry's covers. I don't say this lightly, either. To me, they are not appealing in any way, just cheesy and overdone. I still researched her books because people were in love with them, but the hype...the covers...I was just turned off to them.

So when I picked up PUSHING THE LIMITS a few months ago, finally ready to give it a go, I was certain I was going to either love it or hate it. I even told my reading buddy Cassie this, and she just laughed at me. "Just watch, your opinions are going to be right in the middle," she said.

I swear she jinxed me.

It's hard, because most of the time, 3 star books are the ones I forget about.  I almost want to say I "dislike" them more than 2 star books because at least 2 star books made me feel something.  3 star books are usually the ones that lose me, make me feel literally no emotions at all, and that pisses me off.  I WANT TO FEEL SOMETHING, OKAY?!

So, while I did give this book a 3 star rating, I also did enjoy it, and it did make me feel emotions.  When I was caught up in the moment, I felt a lot for these characters and their situations.

But that's exactly the problem - I wasn't always caught up in the moment.  This book was sometimes very cheesy for me.  (ME?! THINKING SOMETHING'S CHEESY AND NOT LIKING IT?!  I know, it was weird, okay?  I love cheese for the most part, but this was too much.)  It was also choppy.  Very choppy.  The characters swung back and forth on a trapeze of development.  One second they were making progress, working toward a goal, and then suddenly they'd swing the other way and I was left, like, "Hey, wait, this goes against everything we just uncovered/talked about in the last chapter!"

It's one thing for a character to have a relapse, okay.  I get that.  I actually like that and think it's realistic.  But it's something else entirely for it to feel like the author forgot about the progress her characters were making and write the next chapter oblivious to it.  (Editors, why aren't you catching this stuff?!?!)  For those of us born in the 90's, who watched shows on VHS:  Imagine that you're rewatching your favorite TV episode (Buffy???!) that you taped on VHS, when suddenly - GASP!  Halfway through, at your favorite scene, you discover your dad taped over it with a news story he wanted to watch later.  RUDE! you think, and then you cry, and feel confused, and angry, and write your dad a 1,000 word letter about checking the VHS tapes before taping over them.

Hurts, doesn't it?  Well, this is what reading PUSHING THE LIMITS felt like to me.  One second I was in the groove and the next...wait, what?!

Now, I'm not sure how popular this opinion is, because I know these books are wildly loved and fangirled over and that's awesome.  I'm just not sure I completely understand?  Because if all of McGarry's books are like that, I will be sorely disappointed in the people who read and love this genre.  Come on, you guys.  We can do better than this.  Romance can be fulfilling and shmexy and lovely and angsty and have a reasonably smooth plot/development/etc.

Also, I was really disappointed that Noah wasn't really actually a bad boy.  Like, he had this persona....but again with the choppiness: one second he was trying to be all badass and smokin' hot and using and etc etc, but then the next he was a sweet little angel butterfly.  I just wish this had been presented differently?  I really don't mind the sweet little angel butterfly hiding behind a bad boy persona....but you need to make sure readers know this is what's happening, and not try to force the bad boy persona into eternity.

In the end, however, I did enjoy PTL.  It wasn't anything special to me, or shocking, or new, or amazing, or WOW HOLY MAMA.  But it was enjoyable, and I will hopefully get to DARE YOU TO and NOWHERE BUT HERE this year.  Maybe I'll have better luck then?

Anyway, what did my amazing fellow readers think of PTL??  Did anyone else have the same experience I did?  I want to hear all your thoughts in the comments!

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,

Kissing and touching, but Echo wants to wait to have sex, so it goes no further.  There's a decent of drinking/smoking/drugs.  Some brief cursing.

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