Monday, December 2, 2013

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

"So wrong for each other...and yet so right."

Echo Emerson has been a social outcast at her school since her abrupt departure a month before the end of her sophomore year. Her Marine brother Aries was killed in Afghanistan two years ago, she has a restraining order against her mother and her overbearing father has a new wife with a baby on the way. Her father is pushing her hard to go to business school when she would rather pursue her artistic side. Her dream is to finish restoring the 1965 Corvette that belonged to her brother. With the start of the new term at school, the new clinical social worker at her school, Mrs. Collins, brings in her family for a session before she goes to her first class. Her father is pushing her to retake her college entrance exams to raise her math scores. After discussing the possibility of a job that wouldn't interfere with her studies to provide money for the restoration of the Corvette, Echo leaves the adults behind and goes to sit outside the social worker's office.

Noah Hutcheson has bounced between foster homes since the death of his parents. Formerly an honor student and star athlete, he is just trying to fly under the radar until graduation. He is seen by his peers as a stoner. Tardy to school after a late night at work, Mrs. Collins has him take a seat and wait on her to finish something up. He observes that Echo is sitting near him. Having a few classes together, he only knew that she was smart, had a nice body and always wears long-sleeved shirts to cover up her arms. Noticing that she smells nice and Noah covers by making fun of her name. She shoots back a comment about getting high and leaves. Having read his file and digging into his past life, Mrs. Collins is only interested in helping Noah build himself a better future than the one he will have if he continues down his current path. He must attend tutoring sessions and continue seeing her if he would like to see more of his brothers. Mrs. Collins knows exactly where to strike to get Noah to comply.

Echo is going to be tutoring a hot guy at school. What she wasn't expecting was to see that her student is Noah at the library that afternoon and he isn't happy either. Mrs. Collins has pushed the two of them together. They begin to spar immediately and Noah is surprised to find out that she actually knows that they are in several classes together. Trying to get started, Noah announces that he needs to leave or be late for work. She can make up whatever lies for Mrs. Collins that she wants to and he will agree with her. He leaves the library and heads to his beat up car. Echo hurriedly follows him outside. He snaps at her to put on a coat. Echo tries to schedule another time with him. He tells her that she can tell Mrs. Collins that they are meeting however many volunteer hours she needs and he will readily agree. Noah tells Echo he will continue with his screwed up life and she can run home to her perfect life and be with her friends. With Noah's words hitting a sore spot, Echo backs up. She hits a patch of ice and starts to fall. Noah catches her wrist and her shirt sleeve rides up to her elbow. He notices the scar mutilation that is her arm. Noah asks her what happened. Nothing, Echo says but Noah isn't buying it. She wrenches free from his grasp and tells him to leave her alone. She runs away.

Turns out that Echo has no memory of the night her crazy mother tried to kill her. Only her mother, father and stepmother Ashley know the truth. Her father and the therapist believe that Echo should recall the memories of that night on her own rather them telling her the truth. She lies awake at night trying to remember. Her friends believe she should tell everyone at school the truth about what happened with her crazy mother instead of everyone believing that she is a cutter or tried to commit suicide. Echo is worried that Noah will spill her secret. Noah's visitation with his little brothers doesn't go well. The youngest had a bike accident after Christmas and had to have staples in his head. No one had bothered to inform Noah. He also realizes that their foster parents are looking to adopt both of them. Noah knows that he needs to straighten out his life if he hopes to have any chance of gaining custody after he graduates from high school.

Lila talks Echo into attending a party the night of her eighteenth birthday. Lila is drinking the boys up underneath the table and goes for a bathroom visit, leaving Echo waiting in the hallway. A rough looking biker chick bumps into Echo and begins to have words with her. Echo is not one for confrontation and stays quiet. Noah has seen what happens and defends Echo. The girl leaves and Echo is mad that Noah seems to be everywhere. She rushes out of the house for some air and Noah follows her asking if she ever wears a jacket. Shivering, he gives her his leather jacket and leans in close to tell her that he heard a rumor. Looking up at him, Echo realizes that he is close enough to kiss her. He wishes her a happy birthday and leaves. He will get his jacket back from her when they meet up on Monday to discuss tutoring.

On Monday morning, her friends tell Echo that her former jock boyfriend, Luke, was looking to dance with her at the party. They notice that she has Noah's coat. Being seen with the stoner isn't good for her reputation and Luke is looking for her. They stuff his coat into Echo's locker before Luke can see it. By Tuesday, Noah is cold. He waits her Echo after school by her locker. He is frustrated since it is his only day off for the week and she is locked away in a therapy session. When he finally sees her walking down the hall, she ignores him. He gets angry and says that he is sorry to soil her reputation. She finally looks at him and apologizes that she didn't see him. Noah sees that she is crying and he feels terrible that he has put his foot in his mouth a second time. He is mesmerized by her and gets her to start helping him with calculus. Soon they are bonding over their respective losses.

Before too long, neither Echo nor Noah can keep their thoughts from straying to one another. They come up with a plan to see their respective files in Mrs. Collins' office. Will they get caught? What happens when seemingly little miss perfect begins to hang around the school's stoner bad boy? Will Echo finally remember the events that took place the night her mother tried to kill her? Can she handle the truth? Will Noah be able to graduate from high school and get his little brothers back? And what will happen when two people that seem so wrong for one another turn out to be just right?

 Crossing the Line - book 1.5

Lila McCormick met Lincoln Turner at Aries Emerson's funeral. Lincoln's older brother Joshua was killed in the same IED explosion in Afghanistan as Aries. His family traveled to Kentucky to pay their respects. Siting with Lila was the only time he broke down over his brother's death. For the next two years, Lila and Lincoln wrote letters to one another. They both kept every one they received from the other. With high school graduation upon them, Lila is horrified and heartbroken to learn that Lincoln lied to her. Determined to make things right with the girl he fell in love with through her letters to him. He travels to Louisville in an attempt to make things right.

What happens when Lincoln arrives unexpectedly on Lila's door step? What did he lie to her about? Can Lila forgive him? And is it possible for two people to fall in love with one another through written letters? 

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