Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pushing the Limits Trifecta

Books marketed as "Young Adult" make me feel a little guilty for loving them.... just saying:-)

I have to say that I do like this series a lot, so much so that I had to read them all as fast as I could. So this review will be on all 3 of them so it's rather long however it's in 3 parts so each section can be read as a stand along. Katie McGarry does an excellent job providing all the teen angst that is mixed in with the troubles and issues of being in the foster care system and dealing with the 'normal' kids who have 'normal' families.  Each book focuses on a couple amongst a core group of characters so that each book is linked in the series.

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)
Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

In Dare You To we have the story of Beth and Ryan and the one that I began with and got me hooked into having to read the other 2 out.

Beth Risk struggles between helping her mom & letting it be what could ultimately ruin her chance of a better life for herself. She's grown up with the role of being the mother for someone who should have been looking out for her in life. Time and time again she is let down but continues to be her mother's shield and then escapes to her aunt & uncle's house for refuge. Beth's aunt and uncle aren't the best role models either but they do provide a home to Isaiah and Noah, their foster children and Beth's best friends.  After a particularly bad entanglement with Beth, her mom & her mom's abusive boyfriend Beth ends up being arrested because she takes the blame for her mom to keep her out of trouble. In swoops her uncle Scott, the uncle that once promised to always take care of her but then left to try to make a better life for them... yet he didn't come back for her... until now.

Ryan Stone is the kid from the 'right' side of the tracks. He's the baseball all-star with dreams of going to the majors.... even if they aren't all his dreams. On the outside he appears to have the perfect life but the walls of one's house aren't made of windows for reasons, it's easier to keep things hidden. Ryan and his group of friends like to play games of dare but little did he know that one of those dares would be too hard to let go of. 

It's a story of 2 young people who struggle through the troubles of life and find in each other the strength that they each lack on their own to make it through. It may be a young adult book but there is a young adult in us all that can definitely appreciate it!

This is book 3 in a series but it's actually considered the 2nd. I had to read book 1 & 1.5 and turns out book 1 I liked the best.  I didn't read them in order but it really isn't necessary to. Here's a little on those:

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)
Read May 31st-June 5th 2013

This book is my favorite so far in the series. I loved it from start to finish! This book is about Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins. Katie had some great lines in this book. Right from the start I was loving Echo for her description of her parents;

"My father checked his watch from the chair to my right and, on my left, the Wicked Witch of the West shifted impatiently. I was missing first period calculus, my father was missing some very important meeting, and my stepmother from Oz? I'm sure she was missing her brain."

The tale of Echo is that she is dealing with the aftermath of losing her brother and an entanglement with her mom that scarred her pretty badly, leaving everyone talking of her taking a ride on the crazy train. Now she's dealing with some memory loss and some counseling sessions that are hoping to help bring back some of those memories.

Then there is Noah. He's a foster kid that is in the system due to losing his parents in a fire. He has 2 brothers that he is fighting to get back into his life. He's got his friendship with Beth & Isaiah that help him make it through his daily struggles but he's looking for more. If it weren't for the loss of his parents and being in the foster system he would have been on the path to becoming a baseball star or more. Now the anger of being in the system & torn away from his brothers is something he's got to fight through so that he can become something the system will see as a good home to get his brothers back.

Noah and Echo meet as they cross paths during seeing the counselor and they are then thrown together for more. It's starts out as tutoring, then to help each other uncover some secrets that the counselor's files hold, but ultimately to become each other's savior. They've both encountered loss of someone they loved dearly and struggle with the way their lives have gone since. In their pain they find the calm that each of them need to find their ways back to some sort of happiness. 

This was pretty emotional and enduring. My favorite passage, or the one that hit me on a personal level I guess, was;

"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."

There are definitely some little surprises here & there throughout this read and I was just too entrenched to even try to guess some of them but others you can figure are coming.  You'll want some tissues for this read but do read it, don't let that be something that stops you!

Crossing the Line (Pushing the Limits, #1.5)
Read May 28th, 2013

This is a quick read, coming in at under 100 pages but Katie McGarry packs a lot in those pages. This one is the story of Lila Mccormick and Lincoln Turner.

Lila is the best friend of Echo Emerson (from book 1) and Lincoln is the brother of Josh Turner. As we know from book 1, Echo's brother has died and along with him so did Lincoln's brother so the 2 here are brought together through that tragedy.

Lila and Lincoln meet during the funeral of Aries Emerson. Lila is there for her friend Echo & Lincoln is there because his family felt it would help get through their loss. The 2 of them bond during the quiet moments each of them take and then carry on a 2 year relationship through letter writing. The old tried and true art of letter writing that is... until things get out of hand and letter writing isn't quite fast enough.

Through their letters they have fallen for one another and make plans to go to college together. For Lila it's a big step out of her comfort zone to leave home and be on her own so she's looking to Lincoln to be her home away from home to help her. She soon finds out that he's been keeping some things from her that can change everything and that then threatens their blossoming relationship. Lincoln isn't willing to sit back and let that happen so he takes matters into his own hands and helps Lila see the light. 

I would have loved to read this in a fuller version. I guess with it being 1.5 it's got that little "stuck in the middle" sort of feel to it that the 1/2 books can sometimes have. It would have been great to have a little more of the back story around the funeral and such since book 1 takes up after all of that. Don't skip it though, it's a great read and sweet that they fall in love through their letters to one another.

Overall I say check the series out!  I can't wait for the next book, Crash Into You. This one will focus on Isaiah Walker, who will finally have his day. Isaiah we meet in book 1 and hear more about in book 2 but basically he is, or was, in love with Beth Risk.... or so he thought.... 

Gotta wait until Nov of this one....

Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)

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