Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Pushing the Limits (from Goodreads):
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
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Adult Series
Series: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
# of Books: 5 (Reading Order Here)
There are 3 novellas.
Book Order: Connected*
The exception is #1.5 Breaking the Rules which is a direct sequel to Pushing the Limits (#1)
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Drama, Mental Health, Dark
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
July 2012 – July 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook
I’m actually slightly embarrassed that it has taken me this long to write a review on this series. I totally thought I already had so I was shocked after I finished reading Crash Into You that I didn’t have to just update a previous blog post, rather I had to create one!
I read Pushing the Limits approximately one year ago. Although it had been out for a while it had just captured my attention one day at the library and I decided to pick it up. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be but after reading it I’m glad it wasn’t because I enjoyed it way more than I expected and it was so much better than I had hoped.
Young Adult or New Adult?
This series is one of those that straddles the New Adult — Young Adult line. Because they are in high school, I would tend to classify it as Young Adult but the subject mature is very mature and so are the characters so I don’t have a problem calling it New Adult (Katie McGarry classifies it as Young Adult however with Breaking the Rules as more New Adult). There is also a lot of mature subject matter that gives these books a dark edge to them — but it done extremely well and so beautifully.
Pushing the Limits was probably one of the darker Young Adult/New Adult reads I had read up until that point in time. It deals a lot more with mental illness than other books but does so in a mature and respectful way. Echo and Noah are a great pair (as are all the characters in the next few books) and I loved watching them fall in love. I also really liked their personal development throughout the story. The rest of the cast of characters was great as well and I was excited to see them in the next few installments.
If you are like me, you will think it is pretty obvious who the next book will be about so I was shocked when I read the synopsis for Dare You To. SO DON’T READ THE SYNOPSIS FOR DARE YOU TO UNTIL YOU FINISH PUSHING THE LIMITS! At first, I wasn’t a fan of the idea but as soon as I read the book, I changed my tune. The female lead was a hard character for me to like but I really grew to like her as I read her story and I loved her match. I enjoyed reading Dare You To way more than Pushing the Limits and I really liked Pushing the Limits so that says something. I think it was because Dare You To wasn’t as emotionally dark as Pushing the Limits was.
Don’t be intimidated by the longer page length. You will see that they are quite long–over 300 pages, but when you read them they don’t feel long enough 😛 No, I joke, they are the perfect length and I find that you get so into the story that the pages just fly by.
Case and point, Crash Into You. I simply devoured the book because it was so much fun to read. I absolutely loved Rachel–she is definitely my favourite heroine yet in the series. She had some great comments early on in the book that made me laugh out loud and I loved her story. Her match is perfect for her and I loved watching them connect. Her family is also an interesting cast of characters and I’m glad to see that the 4th book will feature one of her brothers (and is it so greedy of me that I want another one focused on her brothers before I even read it?). It’s a tough call if I like this book more than Dare You To so I am going to call it a tie.
The Novella–Crossing the Line:
I did read the novella, Crossing the Line before I read Dare You To. You can essentially read Crossing the Line anytime, but probably after Pushing the Limits is the best time. It will be published in print with the Take Me On book when it is released. I wish it was a full blown novel because I loved the story but I felt like I got enough out of the novella so I wasn’t disappointed.
–October 30, 2014– Book #4: Take Me On
Words cannot describe how excited I was to read Take Me On. I checked my hold at the library every week since it became available and impatiently waited for my cue. Of course it never fails that I had a butt load of books to read before I could read it; and then I had to read it in the middle of midterms (sorry midterms, but you had to wait). Take Me On was everything I wanted it to be and more. I had so much fun reading about these characters and I loved their stories. Frankly, I couldn’t get enough so fans of Crash into You will be super happy with this book.
–January 4, 2015– Book #1.5: Breaking the Rules
I originally thought Breaking the Rules was a novella so I was shocked when I got my copy and saw it was a full length novel. In the end, I’m glad it was a novel because I feel like I have more closure with Echo and Noah. Unlike Pushing the Limits, this one seemed a lot more realistic to me. I think a lot of people who had relationships in high school can understand the mindset of these characters as they struggle to define their relationship before they start college. I thought it was really well done and fans will be extremely satisfied, but I wish I had read it right after reading Pushing the Limits just for the sake of continuity.
–September 15, 2019– Book #3.5: Breaking the Rules
If anyone can pack some punch into an 84 page novella, Katie McGarry is the author to do it. This novella perfectly echoes the Pushing the Limits tone. I loved the romance, I loved the themes and I really loved how it highlights a real life charity and the impact it can have on a person.
–June 9, 2020– Book #5: Chasing Impossible
Sigh…this was such a disappointment for me. Ever since we met Abby I’ve wanted her own novel so I was STOKED to read this one. But boy did it fall flat! I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t really remember the male lead and I think that was the problem. Their connection assumed a little too much that you had read about their other encounters in the previous books so I failed to really see the chemistry between them. And while I normally love the angst this series brings, I just felt like we regurgitated the same stuff over and over so I was bored with the struggle. If I had binged this series in one go, I think this review would be much different.
Recommended Reading Order:
My recommended reading order for the series: Pushing the Limits, Breaking the Rules, Crossing the Line, Dare you To, Crash into Me, Take on Me, Chasing Impossible. You can read Red at Night at anytime.
Series Rating: 5/5
Pushing the Limits 4/5 | [Crossing the Line 4/5] | [Breaking the Rules 4/5] | Dare You To 5/5 | Crash Into You 5/5 | [Red at Night 5/5] | Take On Me 5/5 | Chasing Impossible 2/5
If you enjoy stories where the romance is about finding someone who understands you for who you are, you’ll love these books. The romance is blended perfectly with character growth and the plots move quickly despite the book lengths. It’s a mature albeit dark story line so half the time you forget you are reading about high school students.