Aug 7, 2012

Guest Post: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (+Giveaway)

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
July 31st, 2012 from Harlequin Teen

I am thrilled to have Katie McGarry on the blog talking about a personal experience that . Welcome, Katie:

When I was in second grade, a friend of mine invited me to play at her house. After a few minutes of playing school, she asked if I would like to see her dog. Being a dog lover, my answer, of course, was yes.

My memory begins to get fuzzy after that and no, it’s not because I’m looking back at the event from my thirties. I repressed the memory of being attacked by her dog.

I had a couple of vague, hazy memories from after the attack: my sister staring at me as I rested on the couch in our living room, my parents calling the doctor, me lying on the hospital bed. My first clear memories are of standing in my room, lifting my dress and staring at the bandage on my right side. My mom told me I had been bitten by a dog, but I didn’t remember it.

How can I even begin to describe what it’s like? I’d go to school and this was the scene that played out:

A group of kids gathered around me as I took off my winter coat.

Kids: You were bit by a dog.

My mind: No, I wasn’t.

What I said: Yeah.

Kids: What happened?

My mind: Nothing, you’re fine.

What I said: I’m going to my seat.

I hated the bandage and loathed the wounds and the eventual scars they made underneath. I refused to look at my side, refused to touch the bandage. I hated going to school. I hated the looks from the other kids. I hated knowing that other people knew what happened to me even when I didn’t.

The experience did change me. I became terrified to leave home. In third grade, I had panic attacks at the thought of going to school. I once had been afraid of nothing and after the attack I became terrified of everything.

But I eventually outgrew the fear. When I was in college, I finally remembered the incident. It hit me like a bullet from a high-powered rifle. While I do have a memory of the event, I only see still-frame images and I never see blood in any of my mind’s pictures.

I always wondered, though, what if I never outgrew the fear and loneliness of memory loss? What if I had repressed a memory in high school, when what other people think of you means everything?

These are the questions I took with me when I wrote Pushing the Limits. I gave the book’s main character, Echo, a repressed memory. The emotions I felt in second grade are amplified in Echo, and since she’s a teenager, she’s facing complications I didn’t have at age seven…things like fitting in, boys, and falling in love. Plus, her scars are on her arms, which means they’re visible, unlike mine.

Echo, to say the least, is a very vulnerable, complicated, and emotional character. She forced me to push my limits as a writer.

Thank you, Katie, for sharing your childhood experience with us. I can imagine how that terrifying incident played a part in your adult life. I think it is extraordinary that you took that experience and incorporated into your book.


Add to Goodreads
You can find McGarry at her website
Today, I have an excerpt from Pushing the Limits! Echo and Noah both attend the same high school, but that’s where their similarities seem to end. Their paths cross however, when, on the first day of school after winter break they both meet their newly appointed school social worker. Katie McGarry wrote Pushing the Limits in alternating points of view, one chapter by Echo, the next by Noah. Check out the excerpts below, taken from the first chapters of Katie’s debut novel. Want to read from the beginning? Every stop on the blog tour features new excerpts – the complete tour schedule can be found HERE

Echo:

“Mr. Emerson,” Mrs. Collins continued once Ashley left the room, “Echo’s scores are well above the national average and, according to her file, she’s already applied to the colleges of her choice.”

“There are some business schools with extended deadlines I’d like her to apply to. Besides, this family does not accept ‘above average.’ My daughter will excel.” My father spoke with the air of a deity. He might as well have added the phrase so let it be written, so let it be done. I propped my elbow on the armrest and hid my face in my hands.

“I can see that this really bothers you, Mr. Emerson,” Mrs. Collins said in an annoyingly even tone. “But Echo’s English scores are close to perfect....”

And this was where I tuned them out. My father and the previous guidance counselor had this fight my sophomore year when I took the PSAT. Then again last year when I took the SAT and ACT for the first time. Eventually, the guidance counselor learned my father always won and started giving up after one round.

My test scores were the least of my concerns. Finding the money to fix Aires’ car was the worry that plagued my brain. Since Aires’ death, my father had remained stubborn on the subject, insisting we should sell it.

“Echo, are you happy with your scores?” asked Mrs. Collins.

I peeked at her through the red, curly hair hanging over my face. The last therapist understood the hierarchy of our family and talked to my father, not me. “Excuse me?”

Noah:

“Wonderful. So things are working out with your new foster family.” She said it as a statement, but meant it as a question.

“Yeah.” Compared to the last three families I had, they were the fucking Brady Bunch. This time around, the system had placed me with another kid. Either the people in charge were short on homes or they were finally starting to believe I wasn’t the menace they’d pegged me to be. People with my labels weren’t allowed to live with other minors.

“Look, I already have a social worker and she’s enough of a pain in my ass. Tell your bosses you don’t need to waste your time on me.”

Please visit Bethany Griffin's Blog for the next excerpt from Echo and Noah.
Check out the book trailer:

Lucky you, there is a finished copy of Pushing the Limits up for grabs! US/CAN only. Fill out the fancy doo-hickey below to be officially entered. Good luck! Katie is hosting a giveaway for a Kindle Fire. Check it out HERE

43 comments:

  1. Awww I love the guest post! makes me eager to read Pushing the Limits! Thank you for the chance!

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  2. The reviews have been absolutely stellar for this book. Sounds like a really powerful read. Definitely cannot wait to read it myself!

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

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  3. I am so excited to read this book! I read the first chapter and now I NEED to get it!!!

    Thanks for this awesome giveaway & good luck everyone!!!

    ^__^

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  4. Uggh! It makes me want to go get one now. But my book budget for this month is spent. This is torture!! I want to read it now!

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  5. I love that guest post and how her something that happened to her helped her write Echo's story!

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  6. Wow, that's so interesting that it was inspired by something that actually happened to her! I just finished reading this and enjoyed it quite a bit! Great post! :)

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

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  7. Wow! I can't wait to see how the author's personal experience influences the book. I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

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  8. oh wow that's cool that it relates so closely with the book! I'm reading this now and it has me completely hooked! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  9. Oh what an awesome interview & giveaway. Thank you for hosting it! :D

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  10. This looks so great, I've heard wonderful things about it! Super excited! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  11. I've seen this book on a lot of blogs--looks like it could be interesting. I like books with alternating POV's.

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  12. All the reviews of this are fantastic and I can't wait to read it! Thank you for the giveaway.

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  13. I am new to your blog, but the reviews you have written have helped me pick out some of the books I have read during the summer. Thank you so much for your helpful reviews and for this amazing giveaway!

    -Kassie

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  14. thanks for hosting Katie! Its always great to hear from the great people behind sch great books! I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book and thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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  15. I loved this book sooo much! Reading the excerpt makes me want to re-read it again!

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  16. Really want to read this book! I read all the excerpts, i'm dying over here!

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  17. What a great interview and great giveaway. I can't wait to read this book Thank you for the great giveaway!

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  18. Wow, to take an experience like that and build off of it. Thats an amazing way to face what happened to her. I've seen a TON of reviews about this book and how good it is and it made me want to read it. But now reading about her experience and how she was able to build off of it make me want to read it even more. Because I know the emotions in the book will be pure/raw. Its amazing when an author lets you see that part of them. Thank you!

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  19. I was also attacked by a dog and still have a real fear of big dogs. This story gave me chills.

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  20. I've been reading such great reviews and the characters sound so interesting. No wonder I'm trying so hard to win a copy. Thanks for putting one out there.

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  21. Katie's writing rocks! Love the excerpt and the guest post:)

    Thanks so much:) Noah sounds so hot:)

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  22. It's amazing how our mind/brain works to protect us from memories that we aren't yet ready to handle! Then when we can manage it, thr memory surfaces.

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  23. Sounds like a great read. Opposite's attract, forbidden love, the drama of high school: who could resist lol.

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  24. I'm a new-ish follower of your blog and I'm really enjoying it. I can't wait to read more. I'll be sharing your blog and my other favorite YA blogs with my students when school starts in two weeks.

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  25. This was honestly one of the BEST books I've read all year! Loved it!

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  26. My sister is reading this book right now and she says that it is amazing. I haven't read it yet but I am really looking forward to it!!

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  27. Gosh, I have to read this book!! I think I might have to cave and buy it... Actually I probably will!
    Thanks for the excerpt & giveaway!!

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  28. I've loved this blog tour! Katie has the most intriguing, even heartbreaking stories to share. It makes me even more excited for PUSHING THE LIMITS. It's going to be a great book!

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  29. I definitely read books for the characters, and from what I have read of the excerpts so far, and Katie's experience with being attacked by the dog, I cannot wait to get to know Echo in this story.

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  30. Aww thanks for the giveaway! I honestly need to get onto reading this book! All I heard was good reviews about it!

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  31. Thanks for the great interview and Giveaway!!! I also remember getting attacked by a dog as a kid not fun!!!

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  32. Thanks for the giveaway! Hearing lots of wonderful things about this book and cannot wait to get my hands on it.

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  33. Thank you for the great giveaway! I'm so excited to read this book after all of its good reviews:)

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  34. When I first began hearing of Pushing the Limits, I didn't really develop any sort of interest in it. Now though, by all the great things I've been hearing about it, I want it! Thanks for the giveaway, so anxious to read it:D

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  35. I've had this one on my wishlist since I first saw the cover and read the blurb. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  36. This book has been popping up in so many places I decided to give it a shot in Chapters the other day. I decided to sit and read for twenty minutes and see if I liked it. Imagine my surprise when three hours later I'm being kicked out because the store is closing lol
    Thanks for the giveaway ^_^

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  37. I am really interested to ssee the character development in this story. Characters are the thing for me in stories, and the vulnerability but guarded attitude is what really intrigues me about Echo. I'm really excited to see how such obviously intense problems are handled.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  38. Great giveaway! It's crazy that our brain can repress something from use in order to protect us. Pushing the limits is the best book of the year!I cried, I laughed, and I was sad when it was over. I borrowed the book from the library book would love to win a copy :D

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  40. Wow love the guest post and how what happen to Katie relates to the book.

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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