All tagged Katie McGarry

Podcast #15: Great (Reading) Expectations

We're excited to bring you another episode of the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast! We have such a good time recording the show and love that the podcast lets us dig into issues with more nuance than the blog format allows. 

In episode #15, Laura and I dig into the subject of reader expectations, the role of marketing in informing those expectations and the way consumers of creative works become intensely invested in those works. Please note, this episode was recorded prior to my writing this blog post; if it had been, we likely would have elaborated more regarding the notion of how we read, and if readers "owe" authors anything in that respect. 

As always, you can listen to the podcast by streaming on this page, downloading the MP3 below or by subscribing in iTunes. If you're an iTuner, we very much appreciate your rating and reviewing the podcast, as it helps us to show up in iTunes searches. We're also now on Stitcher Radio, so if you prefer that app, you can subscribe here. 

It's Not You, It's Me - Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Note: You’ll be amused that this started out as part of a group of mini-reviews. Whoops.

While I wasn't enamored with Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits as seemingly everyone else was, the character who intrigued me the most in that novel was Beth. Beth’s surly personality piqued my interest as a side character in that book, and her unusual dynamic with Isaac, another secondary character in that novel, made me curious about her story.

So, despite that Pushing the Limits wasn’t a hit for me, when I learned that Beth would be one of the two points of view in the companion novel, Dare You To, I was tentatively excited.

Unfortunately, I am starting to suspect that with McGarry's novels, it comes down to the fact that these simply aren't the kind of stories I enjoy. They are very dramatic. The characters consistently make poor choices that don't make a lot of sense, which nearly always escalates the drama. There are big mistakes and equally big gestures. All of these elements are trends in contemporary, romance-focused fiction at the moment, encompassing young adult, adult and the enigmatic “new adult” categories. 

When it comes down to it, I prefer quieter, more introspective reading.

Not dry, mind you, but I often find the little missteps and subtle, internal conflicts more compelling than grievous misunderstandings.

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

I was terrified to move, breathe, exist in this moment. On TV, teenagers were portrayed as happy, carefree. Echo and I would never know such a life. My parents died. I got screwed by a system supposedly in place to protect me. Echo…Echo was betrayed by the person who should have laid down her life to protect her.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarryWell… at least the cover depicts an actual scene from the book and no one’s decapitated.

Every once in awhile, I read a book for which I’m simply not the right audience. Katie McGarry’s debut, Pushing the Limits, is one of those books.

If I were an Actual Teen, I probably would have adored this book. If I were an avid adult romance reader, I would probably love this as a fresh young adult take on a traditional contemporary romance. But, I’m neither of those, so Pushing the Limits sits solidly in the same place as Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry series—that is, equal parts engaging and frustrating. 

Echo Emerson doesn’t know what happened to her the night she almost died at the hand of her mother, but it changed her life forever. The physical scars and psychological trauma transformed her from popular cheerleader to social outlast. She meets another outcast, Noah, thanks to their shared therapist at school (the therapist assigns Echo as Noah’s tutor). Noah has a reputation as a bad boy/troublemaker type. He’s in the foster care system because both of his parent died in a fire—and he’s separated from his beloved younger brothers because he protected another foster child from an abuser and is labeled as dangerous as a result. Naturally, opposites attract and sparks fly, which we see from both Noah and Echo’s first person points-of-view.