The Low Down: Echo Emerson is damaged goods. She used to be in the popular crowd dating an athletic, popular boy until something happened. Now she’s got lots of scars that she tried to keep covered with sleeves and gloves, but no one will help her remember what happened that night. Her memory won’t give it up until her brain can handle the information. At least that’s what her new high school clinical social worker, Mrs. Collins, says. Echo just knows that there’s a hole in her memory and she’ll do just about anything to recover it. She’s already devastated by the loss of her brother, Aires, in Afghanistan and her father leaving her mother for the girl who used to be the nanny.
Noah Hutchins is the school’s resident hunky boy with an attitude. He’s a foster kid who got put in the system when his parents died in a house fire. Noah barely had enough time to get in and save his two young brothers. He is assigned to meet with Mrs. Collins as he needs to get his act together if he wants to ever see his brothers again. To pull up his grades, he needs to work with the tutor that Mrs. Collins has hired to help him: Echo Emerson.
Echo and Noah make an agreement: they will try to get each other’s files from Mrs. Collins’ office so Echo can find out what happened to her and Noah can find the address where his brothers are living. Slowly, as they spend time together, Echo and Noah open up to each other about their lives. Then they decide to trust each other with their futures. But is there a future for a boy who wants to be Dad to his kid brothers and a girl who wants to escape? And what if Echo can’t escape her family history?
Best Thang ‘Bout It: There’s that good tension, will they/won’t they. Also, the reader will be dying to find out what happened during that missing period that Echo has lost. There’s a palpable separation between Echo’s old life and new existence; her old friends just want her to get back to normal, get back with her old boyfriend, move on. She has to learn to be strong and stand up for herself.
Sometimes changing the first person perspective back and forth between characters is confusing and annoying. I liked it here. It saved a lot of time to reveal information from both sides that way.
I’m Cranky Because: I found the step-mother to be a little two-dimensional. This is someone who Echo loved when she was younger, and now she seems vapid and self-centered with no imagination. What did Echo see in her before?
Should You?: It’s a mystery wrapped in a romance wrapped in a mystery and tied up with romance. I say yes.
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry was published on July 31, 2012 by Harlequin Teen.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 14 and up