Throwback Thursday: Pushing the Limits Series by Katie McGarry

We’re back with another Throwback Thursday, but this time we’re focusing on the entire series by the author rather than just one book; this is because McGarry’s series is so diverse in each novel, that it would be a shame not to highlight them together. So buckle up and get ready for a ride.

The biggest thing I loved about the Pushing the Limits series was McGarry’s ability to make each character unique, giving them a chance to tell their story. For everyone who’s read any of the books in this series, you’ll know what I’m talking about. In Pushing the Limits, we have Noah and Echo. In Dare You To we follow Beth and Ryan, Beth being a character and close friend to Noah in the first book. This dynamic style continues throughout the proceeding novels. You could walk into a store, and pick up any of the books in this series, and just start reading (this happened with me before I knew Dare You To was part of a series).

“Luke used to give me butterflies. Noah spawned mutant pterodactyls.” — Echo

Fun Fact: Katie McGarry’s series was what turned me onto writing in multiple perspectives for novels.

Reading this series gives a reader satisfaction because, how often have you read a book where you absolutely fall in love with one of the side characters and want to know their story. I’m guilty as charged and reading McGarry’s books lets the reader do just that. Not to mention, we get to continue to see the characters from prior books interacting with one another after their story takes place. It’s a win-win situation if I’ve ever seen one.

On another matter, can we talk about how amazing the dialogue is in the story? I swooned after some of the things the characters said.

“A cold wind swept across the patio, causing me to shiver. Noah shrugged off his black leather jacket and tossed it around my shoulders. “How are you going to tutor me if you get fucking pneumonia?” I cocked an eyebrow. What an odd combination of romantic gesture and horribly crude wording.”–Echo, Pushing the Limits

I mean, come on, can we just appreciate the beauty that is this character interaction? I both wheezed and went “Awwww Noah!“because Echo couldn’t have been more right in her analysis.

“Fine,” I say. “Dare accepted.” Game on, Skater Girl. Game on. –Ryan

The second novel in the series Dare You To follows a favorite of mine, Beth. She makes multiple appearances in Noah and Echo’s story, and she always intrigued me. In fact, Dare You To is the first novel I read in this series, because, at the time I hadn’t known it was part of a series at all, which goes to show you, you don’t need prior knowledge of the other novels to just pick one up and start reading. Yes, some things may get spoiled to you, but in actuality, it’s the relationship aspect that would be spoiled, nothing concerning the plot line.

I loved the relationship between Ryan and Beth, and I especially loved Ryan’s character because of his internal struggle with whom he is vs. who others try to force him to be. Through the entire novel, he’s trying to discover this other person in himself who loves writing and telling stories, whereas everyone outside his world is pushing him towards being a pro baseball player while speaking negative things about writing. It became this struggle to figure out how to balance both, because he didn’t want to give up either. There were many parts that brought forth laughter, but a lot of this book was more heartfelt and the writing only thrived on it.

“How many more of us are faking the facade? How many more of us are pretending to be something we’re not? Even better, how many of us will have the courage to be ourselves regardless of what others think?”— Dare You To

Of course, it has its humor aspects too, like I said. It wasn’t all seriousness, but I’ll let you discover the funny dialogues through reading. Now, the third book Crash Into You was probably my least favorite in the series. There wasn’t one set reason for this, I just wasn’t as invested in Isaiah’s character, or Rachel’s. The story was cute, and the plot was good, but it just didn’t do it for me. I enjoyed being able to see Noah and Beth in the novel, though. Seeing as it takes place after the events of the first two books, it’s interesting getting to know how the characters are getting on afterwards.

“Fuck me. God does exist and he sent an angel in a white Mustang to prove it.” — Isaiah

I will say that Rachel’s character is pretty kick ass with her vast knowledge of cars and love for street racing. This connection she develops with Isaiah is one I lived for while reading the book, and one I’m sure most, if not all, readers will fall for. It also gives readers that sometimes satisfying guy is always protecting the girl type of atmosphere, and while I know this can be a turnoff to some, I enjoy reading books like that from time to time. It gives me butterflies in my stomach at times like this:

“She fastens her other hand securely on my wrist, and moves so that she’s behind me. Good job, angel. Let him know I’m your man. At least your a fast learner.
I rub my thumb over her smooth skin in approval, then stop. She doesn’t need my approval. I’m not her man, but, for now, I am her protector.”
— Isaiah, Crash Into You

I mean, yes, okay, no Rachel does not need your approval, she’s strong, independent, intelligent, all that jazz, but I’d be lying if I said his perspective in this instance didn’t send a thrill through me because, honestly I’m a sucker for people showing their strength and taking on that protective role. Isaiah could have just as easily been a female, I still would have swooned just as hard. I guess in that respect, it doesn’t have to be a “guy protecting girl” setting, but that’s what we’re given in Crash Into You, and I loved it.

“Don’t think of it as falling. Think of it as jumping- with me.”
“How is jumping better?”
“Falling happens. Jumping you choose.”

The fourth book is centered on Rachel’s brother, West, and a girl named Haley. Let me tell you, if you thought Rachel could be kick ass with her knowledge of cars, Haley is 10 times that with her knowledge in fighting, not to mention the awards she holds. I don’t know how many times I cheered in my head when she had her chance to shine, though I know it was an internal struggle for her character concerning plot lines revolving around her past. This knowledge that we have of her strength, and her past trauma, puts the reader in this spot of struggle we find Haley stuck in, leaving us to struggle just as much as she does; this is genius, as it makes the character, and the story, all the more intriguing to read. Also, I think it has one of the best confessions of love in a novel I’ve ever read:

“I’m in love with you”
Finally, the girl looks at me. “What?”
I don’t know.” I gesture to the house, the yard, the dirt surrounding us. “I’m not sure what suggested romance. Maybe it was the screaming match or the way my girlfriend kicked my ass to the ground, but I love you.”
Her mouth gapes. “I…I…”
“I don’t want you to say it back now. One of us should have some class.”
— West, Take Me On

Thank you, West, for that stunning declaration of love. Honestly, if it weren’t for the story in Dare You To and the characters, Take Me On would be my favorite book in the series. It’s a close second; I will say, though, that my favorite character will always be Abby from the Chasing Impossible novel, which takes place after Take Me On. Her character makes appearances throughout the prior novels, which is why I was ecstatic when I discovered her story.

“Isaiah’s initial response was to let you bleed out in the street, but then he got sentimental and thought Rachel would be sad if you died, so he called and asked me to take care of you. I told him Rachel would’ve gotten over you and that we could make her happy if we bought her a bunny, but he was so damned insistent. See, Isaiah and I have this past. I’ve known him forever because we met each other in a Dumpster—” — Abby, Take Me On

I’m tearing up from laughter at this simple dialogue from her character, and it’s seriously making me want to re-read both books again. She’s such a unique character, and if you’re interested in her, and her story line with Ryan’s best friend Logan, a character we haven’t seen since book two, I’d recommend giving it a read. I will say that, while the book was interesting, and I loved the characters, the plot felt a little too surreal for me to get behind. The dialogue was by far my favorite aspect, along with seeing key characters like West, Rachel, and Ryan again.

“It’s the people who smile at you during the day while plunging a knife in your back that are the monsters.”

“Have you thought of doing it? Being a cattle farmer? If that’s what it’s called? I think we should do that, but replace cattle with bunnies and then we don’t milk or eat the bunnies. We just let them multiply. Then we’ll take over the world. Me the queen. You the king. Our bunnies the army nobody can defeat.”— Abby, Chasing Impossible

I really love Abby’s character. The humor aside, the story does ask a lot of thought provoking questions regarding humanity and the morals of people, which is something I found to be really intriguing in the text. If that’s something that interests you, I’d say definitely check it out.

With that, I believe this wraps up Throwback Thursday. I hope you enjoyed reading, and if you’re interested in checking out the first book Pushing the Limits you can find it on Amazon. Likewise, if you’re interested in learning more about Katie McGarry, you can find her author page here. Until next time.

All the best.

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