Wonderful young-adult, contemporary-romance novella
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 67 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
This novella is #1.5 in the Pushing the Limits series by talented young-adult author, Katie McGarry.
Echo, the heroine of Pushing the Limits (PTL), #1 in this series, describes her best friend Lila McCormick this way in PTL: “With her nonstop mouth and tight clothes, Lila was Eastwick High’s own version of Glinda the Good Witch.” Lila has been best friends with Echo since preschool. It is currently the summer following the events of PTL. Lila and Echo have graduated high school, and they are both 18. Lila is no longer with her boyfriend of PTL, Stephen. She had been in a long-term relationship with him, thought she loved him, and gave him her virginity, but stopped wanting to have sex with him a while ago. Stephen didn’t understand, and she hasn’t told him that she has fallen for someone else. Someone, she reluctantly admits to herself, who may not actually exist except in her imagination. She only knows him through a long-term correspondence conducted via the slow, old-fashioned method of snail-mail letters.
Lila met Lincoln two and a half years ago at the funeral of Aires, Echo’s older brother who died in Afghanistan. Lincoln is Lila’s age. His brother Josh was part of the same Marine unit as Aires, and they were both killed in the same roadside bombing, which is why Lincoln’s family attended Aires’s funeral. Lila and Lincoln became penpals soon after the funeral as a way to help each other deal with their mutual loss, and over time they have come to be very close friends. In particular, they made a pact that they would attend the University of Florida together, which is the only thing giving Lila the courage to leave behind her familiar home town, family and friends–especially Echo–and move far away. Then two things happen to put at risk this daring plan that means the world to Lila. First, she finds out Lincoln has failed to do something crucial to his being accepted to any university and, worse, he has lied to her about it for some time. Second, her ex-boyfriend Stephen is urging her to avoid the scary uncertainty of moving to Florida and instead stay behind and attend a nearby university with her friends to support her–including him.
Like PTL and its sequel, Dare You To (DYT), this novella is told in alternating points of view of the hero and heroine, which gives the reader a great opportunity to view their romance from both sides and experience each protagonist with equal depth. I really liked both of these characters, and I enjoyed their sensitively told romance. Though this is not a full novel, there is a sense of completeness and positive resolution to the story that is very emotionally satisfying.
Like PTL and DYT, there are subplots of family dysfunction for both protagonists, though not as dark as in the full novels. We are given a well-rounded peek into both Lila’s and Lincoln’s families which helps to characterize who they are and motivate the difficult life choices they have made.
I read this book as a Kindle edition, which is well formatted and edited.
I rate this book as follows:
Romance Plot: 5
Family Drama Plots: 5