JFC, THIS EFFING BOOK! I was all set to give it 2.5 stars--generous of me, even--but the resolution of Echo's story was the last straw. Blame and further demonize the already demonized mentally ill mother? Ok, a goddamn 1 star for this over dramatized and hollow book! Crucio to you! I am enraged right now and will try to refrain from being an a-hole with this review. The best thing about Pushing the Limits is that it had an interesting plot: Echo is dealing with the loss of her older brother, overbearing father, self-centered step-mom, bipolar mother and tenuous high school social status, while trying to remember a traumatic experience she's blacked out of her memory; and Noah, who is trying desperately to reunite what's left of his family--him and his two little brothers--after losing both parents in a house fire a few years ago, separating Noah and his two brothers, as they're placed in different foster homes. Sadly, the execution was a mess, the writing hollow and uninspiring, wrought with misguided metaphors and cheesy analogies, painted ludicrous images of Echo and Noah alike and everyone else related to them. Most of the characters were also one-note and unlikable. I didn't love ANYONE. I liked Noah most times, and merely tolerated Echo. Oh, and Echo's "friends", with the exception of Lila (once in a blue moon), were shit. And that bastard Luke needs a good thump in the face. There was also a whole lot of telling and not enough showing, at least not showing in a way that engaged me as a reader. For me, Pushing the Limits had no heart despite the material being there. The material surely pushed the limits, but unfortunately, McGarry's writing left a lot to be desired. I found reading this novel akin to watching one of those horribly good-bad Lifetime movies. Poor production, acting, soap opera-ry drama, and crap dialogue? It's all here in the book. I was also very much horrified with the way McGarry handled Echo's mom's type-I bipolar disorder. I don't know if she did any research at all about how it affects people, but I'm sure those diagnosed with either type who read this would be offended. After finishing the novel, and knowing where the author left Echo's relationship and opinion of her mother, I almost feel the mental illness was used as a cheap ploy to push the limits of this story all in the name of drama. I was very much hoping there would be a sliver of humanizing Echo's mother (her actions we really farfetched for her type of illness), who was an emotional prisoner to her disease for so long. Better writing, perhaps, could have made that not the case. And the resolution of her not only turning out to be anattempted murderer of her daughter--making Echo ingest a high dose of sleeping pills via iced tea she'd made herself to commit suicide the day of the incident, but also a selfish, grudge holding bitch who doesn't seem to care two shits for her daughter. It was inconceivable. Especially since McGarry spent a good portion of the book with Echo remembering the times her mother did in fact love her and cared. As a reader, you never get a sense for the difficulty Echo's mother had with living with her disease (a difficulty that's not always easy to just write-off the mentally ill person as being psycho and selfish). In that aspect, it made Echo's and everyone else opinion of her mother one-sided, making the whole plot-line, for me, insensitive and a bit contrived.I was all excited to read this because a dear Goodreads friend of mine, whose opinion I'm usually in agreement with, said it was close to a Marchetta book. After reading this, I can tell you that that is utter blasphemy, IMO. Melina Marchetta is a writing goddess (I know, over the top, but SO VERY TRUE!). And although Pushing the Limits deals with family dynamics and relationships, which is Marchetta's signature forte, it doesn't even hold the slightest of candles in resemblance of her work. Sorry to say, friend. But don't believe me. Read it for yourself (my opinion is more so in the minority); though, I'd say borrow it from a friend or the library and spend the money on an actual Marchetta book.