Review: Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry

Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry

Series: Pushing the Limits #1.5

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Release Date: December 8, 2014

Format: Kindle

Source: Purchased

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon


For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so... different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything — except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.

But when the source of Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants — even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.

Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn... seriously epic.

My Thoughts

I adore Katie McGarry. I think I say this every time I review one of her books but it bears repeating. She is one of those rarified authors that has never once let me down, writes stories and characters that have me completely invested every single time, and is on my super-short auto-buy list. With Breaking the Rules, a revisit with one of my favorite couples from the Pushing the Limits series, Katie McGarry delivered an emotional story that saw so much growth for Echo and Noah.

While Pushing the Limits ended on a hopeful note, it's not as if all their issues were magically resolved. Echo and Noah are still struggling - both individually and within their relationship. These are characters that I came to love in Pushing the Limits so it was impossible not to feel their pain and hurt for their struggles.

A summer road trip meant as a getaway before starting college becomes a landmine filled with insecurities, triggers and fears. They're at a turning point and they both feel it. Noah learns of relatives he never knew about and must decide whether to seek them out or accept that there was a reason his mother kept him from them. And a face from his past wreaks havoc with his own insecurities and has him making decisions that could have lasting consequences.

Echo. My brothers. The entire damned life I've attempted to create - all 
of it gone with one bad choice. By chasing the wrong person. - Noah

Echo continues to battle her insecurities and tries to come to terms with her troubled relationship with her mother. Determined to stand on her own as an artist, she is inevitably faced with gossip, rumors and comparisons as she visits art galleries on the trip. When a gallery owner takes interest in her work and wants to show it at an event where her mother will be in attendance, Echo is forced to make tough decisions. Echo wonders, "Is having bad family better than having no family?" Through it all, Noah is by her side - loving her unconditionally, providing support, and being the one sure thing she can count on.

There are moments when your heart breaks and melts at the same time. 
When there's so much love flooding your soul that you're drowning in the tide.
This is that moment with Noah. - Echo  

Katie McGarry has an amazing gift of writing male protagonists that I love. Noah has always been an incredible example of that. All through Pushing the Limits, and now here, Noah fights hard to be the man Echo deserves. This is a young man who has known incredible loss, who has fought for the family he has and was strong enough to do what was right for them even as it broke his heart. Noah adores Echo and I'm always moved by his devotion to her.

Hands down, this girl owns me. I gave up caring 
how fucked I am because of it. - Noah 

Katie's writing is simply irresistible and I love the dual POV she employs. Breaking the Rules was incredibly emotional and it had me tearful more times than any book I've read in quite a while. I loved these characters and having them struggle so much for a sense of peace was hurting my heart. I even turned to Twitter and received a little encouragement from Katie:

Echo and Noah make some difficult discoveries over the course of the summer. There is so much growth for both of them over the course of the novel. They remain one of my favorite fictional characters and I can only hope this isn't the last I'll see of them. 

4.5/5 Stars 
Which book/series/characters do you love so much 
that you would keep reading as long as the author kept writing?


  1. So I haven't read this yet and I'm not sure why not despite reading and loving the first book! Glad this one is also awesome and I definitely need more Echo/Noah!!

    1. Oh Eva, you should! Especially since you loved Pushing the Limits. I just love Echo and Noah so hard. I think you would really enjoy this one.

  2. LOVE that she responded to you on twitter! Great review Tanya!

    1. Thanks Em! And Katie McGarry is just the sweetest. I met her at ApollyCon and she is so down to earth and genuine. Love her.

  3. I need to jump on the McGarry train. I really want to give her a try. I do have Pushing The Limits. Great review, totally touched on what I would love in a book.

    1. I hope you do, Jazmen. I have a very small handful of favorites and McGarry is in it. Definitely my favorite at YA contemporary and just a great story teller. Pushing the Limits remains one of my favorites.

  4. I still haven't read this. D: I'm actually so behind on Katie's books. I haven't started the Thunder Road series. I have this and Abbey's book. Oh nossssss.....
    But great review! It made me want to re-read Pushing the Limits and than jump into this one.

    1. Thanks Brittany. I am just in awe of Katie McGarry. Love her so much. Meeting her at ApollyCon made me want to pull up a chair and just spend the day talking to her. Having just finished Chasing Impossible last night (Abby's story) I think I've officially read everything Katie has published. So now I wait... I guess the third Thunder Road book is next. Don't care what it is, really - if she writes it I'll read it. :)

  5. I shamefully haven't read anything by Katie McGarry! I believe I have Pushing The Limits, but for some reason I always just skip over her work to read something else. Your review just makes me feel like I need to be reading her series NOW. * pumps it up on my TBR * great review Tanya, I love coming to your blog girl!

    1. Aw, thanks Tika! I love me some Katie McGarry. She is everything I want in YA contemporary. I gotta tell ya, though, I am so hesitant to hard sell anything to you. LOL If I recommended one I loved and then saw it get a DNF or one of your hilarious ranty reviews... my fragile little heart would break. :)