Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) by Katie McGarry
Blurb 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.
This was definitely one of my favorite books of 2012.
This is the story of Echo - a woman about to graduate high school - who is scarred (physically and mentally) but who can't remember why. She misses her brother who was killed in Afghanistan with a passion so fierce it compels almost every action in her life. She was once a popular girl, relinquished to eating lunch in the library because she is no longer an "easy" sort of friend.
Noah also has a painful past although it is not any less easy because he remembers all of the bad things. Although from the beginning of the book, his actions and behavior suggest that he is numb and uncaring about most things, it's an act to hide the pain of losing his parents, a secret he has kept since the night they died, and the fact that he is being kept from his two younger brothers.
I really liked both Echo and Noah. They were both complex characters and I think extremely spot-on and well written for the context of the book and their ages. Their relationship was heart-wrenching at times, and perfect at times. At first, it felt like they only both needed someone but as the book progressed, it was evident that they were meant to be. It broke my heart when they weren't together.
My favorite secondary characters were both Mrs. Collins and Lila -- they were on the right side and brought levity to all of the situations in the book, both serious and not.
I thought the ending was perfect-- even though it was difficult for Echo to let go of her Mom and for Noah to not fight for custody but to compromise regarding his brothers-- I wouldn't have changed a thing.