Katie McGarry’s debut novel has everything a summer romance for teens should: compelling characters, an intriguing plot, sparkling dialogue and plenty of suspense.

Pushing the Limits is told by two high school seniors who could not be more different. Echo is trying to emerge into “normalcy” after a series of traumas: Her brother died in Afghanistan; she is repressing a terrible incident with her mother; and her new stepmother (and former babysitter) is pregnant. Furthermore, Echo’s father has pushed her away from the art classes she loves. 

At least Echo has a stable home. When her new counselor assigns her to tutor Noah, she’s unsure about getting involved with a reputed stoner. Noah, for his part, is also struggling to overcome the death of his parents, which separated him from his younger brothers and changed their lives forever.

Echo and Noah may be facing intense life situations, but their story is full of insightful humor and a cast of engaging characters. Pushing the Limits is an accomplished debut, a perfect choice for readers who thrive on edgy, riveting storytelling.

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