Series: Pushing the Limits #1.5
Published by Harlequin Teen
Published on December 8th, 2014
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Young Adult
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A summer road trip changes everything in this unforgettable new tale from acclaimed author Katie McGarry
For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so... different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything — except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.
But when the source of Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants — even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.
Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn... seriously epic.
Pushing the Limits is probably my favorite contemporary young adult book. If you haven’t read it, stop now and go read it immediately (you can see my 5 star gush-fest of a review here). I’ve read, listened, re-read, and re-listened literally countless times and it never fails to put a smile on my face, pull at my heartstrings, and swoon over the greatness that is Noah Hutchins. I think the story leaves off in such a great place, but there’s no denying I was counting down the hours to get my hands on Breaking the Rules, the continuation of Noah and Echo’s love story.
“I want things to be simple…and for us to be okay…and…and to know that after all this, you still love me.”
After graduating high school at the end of PTL, Noah and Echo mention that they plan on going for a road trip so Echo can pursue her art by visiting galleries across the country. This book picks up at the end of their summer together, about a week before they plan to head back home to Kentucky. From the sounds of it, Noah and Echo have had a great time so far and it’s been smooth sailing. The closer they get to home though, the more they have to face their pasts and think about what the future is going to bring. There is no question that they are madly in love, but their impending return to reality brings back old doubts.
“…is it enough to help us last beyond a few months of living in a bubble?”
Echo is still struggling to deal with her past. The loss of her brother, the traumatizing event with her mother, her father’s new family, its a lot to come to terms with. Moving forward with her art, college, Noah, and getting past the insecurities of her scars proves to be harder than she thought. Meanwhile, Noah is still trying to be more for her. He’s constantly trying to better himself and prove that he’s more than the troubled foster kid the system screwed over.
Echo’s my solid, my base, my foundation. She has no idea that the single fear that keeps me up at night is knowing one day she’ll discover she doesn’t need me like I need her.
Noah and Echo really balance eachother out and you can really feel how much they love eachother. They make eachother better and stronger, but they still have a long way to go. The problems outside their relationship make cracks in their foundation and leads one or both of them to question whether they should take that next step. View Spoiler »Having sex for the first time is a pretty big issue in the book. It happens fairly early, before ½ way, but it continues to something they worry about. Noah desperately doesn’t want Echo to regret it or him and Echo is extremely shy/insecure. I thought it was realistic, but it did get on my nerves a little bit after awhile. « Hide Spoiler
“I love you.” So much that sometimes it hurts. Noah tilts his head down, and his nose skims against mine.
“You’re my whole world, Echo. Someday, when you’re ready, I’ll show you how much.”
Even though Echo and Noah are away from home duringBreaking the Rules, I am so happy that we still got plenty of time with old favorites. Isaiah and Beth both play a part in this story and I loved how they tied into everything that was going on. Beth surprised me on more than one occasion (I might have to try her book out now) and Isaiah was phenomenal. Not only does he have Noah’s back and support him 100%, but he does the same for Echo and he’s not afraid to kick Noah’s ass a little when he needs it.
“..So why are you calling?”
“I fucked up with Echo.”
“When don’t you fuck up with Echo?”
This quote sums up a lot of the book for me and that was part of the problem. It felt like fight after fight, argument after argument, over the same things. They were mostly very small incidents that triggered another round of conflict, groveling, or Noah internally beating himself up. That’s not to say that they don’t have very valid issues to work through, its just that I could have done with fewer rounds of battle. It’s realistic that they’d be working through things and it wouldn’t all be perfect, but it just seemed like one fight rolled into another and it got tiresome, especially being a full length novel. If the story had picked up earlier in their trip when things were more lighthearted then progressed to the point where it actually begins, I think it would have felt more balanced and I wouldn’t have struggled so much to get through it.
This is all we’ve done for days now—fight. We’re at odds with each other, and I hate it. I want us to go back to one week ago, two weeks ago, any time after graduation and before this—free from the world, free from arguing.
Ultimately, I wanted more happy. I needed more happy. After everything they’ve been through, I was craving that time for them. Because of that, this book didn’t fulfill my want for more Noah and Echo time. Truthfully, it pains me to write a single negative thing about this book because I love these two so much. They are one of my absolute favorite couples ever, but I didn’t really get what I was looking for, so for that reason I feel like I need yet another book or novella to satisfy me. There were moments that I felt that same spark I felt in PTL and it definitely hit me with an emotional punch a time or two, but not enough to hit that same level of awesomeness.
I’m having a hard time deciding on a rating. On one hand it felt like a 3 star at best, but because of my already present love for Noah and Echo a 4 star, but honestly that feels too generous for how conflicted I am. I sincerely hope that this isn’t the last we get of their story, if so I would have probably felt more content just stopping after Pushing the Limits and not reading this book at all.
“I’m going to spend my whole life making you happy.”
Book #1 – Pushing the Limits