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PUSHING THE LIMITS KATIE MCGARRY PDF ENGLISH

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Fill Pushing The Limits By Katie Mcgarry Free Pdf, download blank or editable online. Sign, fax and printable from PC, iPad, tablet or mobile with PDFfiller. Editorial Reviews. From School Library Journal. Gr 8 Up-High school seniors Echo and Noah Teen; Reprint edition (May 1, ); Publication Date: April 30, ; Language: English; ASIN: B00B0A5Y78; Text-to-Speech: Enabled. X-Ray. tvnovellas.info: Pushing the Limits (): Katie McGarry: Books. Teen; Original edition (April 30, ); Language: English; ISBN


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They say be a good girl, get good grades, be popular. They know nothing about me. I can't remember the night that changed my life. The night I went from. Pushing the Limits book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise. Noah tucked a curl be. Katie McGarry - Pushing the Limits - dokument [*.pdf] Praise for Katie McGarry's Dokument: pdf ( MB) . “But Echo's English scores are close to perfect.

Automatyczne logowanie. I promise. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. It was done to you? They stared.

I can't remember the night that changed my life. The night I went from popular to loner freak. And my family are determined to keep it that way. They said therapy was supposed to help. They didn't expect Noah. Noah is the dangerous boy my parents warned me about.

But the only one who'll listen. The only one who'll help me find the truth. Mar 13, "That's All" Ash rated it really liked it Shelves: And for creating a book that held me captive until the wee hours of the morning. Holy SHIT! With nothing but stained-glass memories, the only thing Echo knows is that her mother tried to kill her two years ago.

Her mother was beautiful, and had every talent known to a paintbrush. Just like Echo. Her dad knows what happened. Her step-mother knows what happened. Everyone wants Echo to remember on her own. So without those memories, Echo sticks to the facts: The Noah Hutchins that refused steady relationships or even dating. The Noah Hutchins that only wanted one-night stands. A stoner. My opposite.

And right now, everything I wanted. His past went up in flames. And it took his parents along with it, leaving him with nothing but once-a-month visitation rights to his younger brothers. And Noah would give anything to have his brothers back. Soon the pen she held in her hand drummed in time with her foot. I understood her rhythm. I craved to grant her peace. I wanted to blow her mind with every touch and every kiss so her very thought always came back to me.

I would never touch anyone else again without thinking about her. Mar 31, Stacia the club rated it liked it Shelves: She wanted normal and so did I.

If I could summarize this book with one okay, technically two sentence, that would be the one. Nothing else needs to be said. You can figure out from one simple sentence that this is a book about two people who have lost everything and are trying to figure out how to get normalcy back in their lives.

If I was judging Pushing the Limits solely based on the journey of the characters and how they struggled to reach their own personal victorie Normal.

If I was judging Pushing the Limits solely based on the journey of the characters and how they struggled to reach their own personal victories, I would have gone 4 stars on the book.

This was a great story. I like to see characters with depth and grit. It's always fascinating to watch people push past their inner demons and come out on the other side to start their healing process. Both Noah and Echo were inspirational characters who learned not only how to work on themselves, but also learned how to encourage each other to trust again.

What lost me just a little was the execution. There were several trigger words and generalizations which had me cringing: The over-use of nicknames, such as baby, siren, goddess, nymph, etc. As well, the mention of Echo smelling like cinnamon was excessive after about the third time. She smells like a bakery. I got it. Stating that foster kids and kids from bad homes lay low for a reason this is a stereotype that isn't always true - I've known kids from foster homes and bad homes who were popular and good students.

Statements like this always seem to make me want to cue the dramatic music in my head because these appear to be written for the purpose of trying to invoke a feeling which isn't always necessary. Assuming that someone is on a bad path because they smoke weed or drink socially, and therefore that person needs to expel this from their life immediately, otherwise their entire future is in danger.

Well crap They're all screwed. It's a wonder I have such a productive life today, being a former weed smoker and social drinker. Using the word "forever" to describe a fledgling relationship. Did Judy Blume teach us nothing? Yes, some people meet their spouses in high school Anything can happen after high school. We don't need to tie these kids down beyond possibly continuing the relationship into college.

Not unless you're going to do a Perfect Chemistry epilogue where it shows them married years down the line and believe me, I could live without those. What really did shine about this book: The characters. Both Echo and Noah were smart and cautious about many things. Echo was a great example of showing how it's okay not to have sex if you're not ready. Noah was a great example of how a teenage guy can be horny and hormonal and wanting to get laid, yet still respectful of a girl's wishes if he cares about her.

His honesty was refreshing. He didn't stop wanting sex, even though he let Echo have her space when she needed it. Her beautiful breasts were right there for me to see, but I wanted to do more than observe, I wanted to As mentioned earlier, the story.

Other than it being a little on the long side and having a few moments I could have lived without, I enjoyed the read. The story did have a few similarities to Perfect Chemistry but wasn't an exact mirror either, so I wasn't bothered by it. The problems of the main characters in Pushing were not gang related, yet the problems were still just as emotional and tough as what Alex and Brittany had to go through in PC.

Overall, I think this would be a good read for people who are huge fans of love conquering the greatest of problems.

Pushing the Limits

View all 54 comments. Apr 30, Emily May rated it liked it Shelves: When I rate a book three stars, it usually means indifference, that the book was neither especially good or bad. That I probably won't even remember it in a few days time. With Pushing the Limits that is not the case, it's more that I feel the positives and negatives equally balance each other out and the overall book falls somewhere in the middle of the rating scale because of it.

I will say, though, the issues that I felt sure I'd have with it were not the reason I gave it such an average rat When I rate a book three stars, it usually means indifference, that the book was neither especially good or bad. I will say, though, the issues that I felt sure I'd have with it were not the reason I gave it such an average rating.

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I approached this young adult romance with the caution I always approach young adult romance novels with. As far as these types of cliched stories go, I'd say Pushing the Limits is one of the best and is far better than those of Simone Elkeles.

I personally think McGarry has written a great debut and the novel would have fully achieved excellence had she not played in the safe zone and used the same old format and character types.

Everything was a little too predictable. However, I see enough promise here to want to try her next novel - Dare You To - and see if Beth's story can avoid the same mistakes based on her character, I think it might. Just a few years ago, I wouldn't have hesitated to say that I love a bad boy. The kind of man who promises a wild adventure with his smile, and exciting sexcapades with a raise of his eyebrow. But the definition of this sexy creature has changed, or perhaps it was always the same and I just didn't notice it as much Noah Hutchins is nothing like that.

Noah is what I mean when I say "bad boy", he is fun and likes to break a few rules, but he always respects Echo's wishes, he is kind to her and - you won't believe it - actually leaves her alone when she metaphorically gives him the finger. To get down to the real problem, it is quite simply: McGarry is a good enough author to realise that she needs to give her characters issues and imperfections especially if they're going to be of the cliche variety. But I didn't think the execution of either character dealing with their problems was done well, it felt a bit messy, a lot melodramatic, and it was all wrapped up in what I felt was a rather unsatisfactory way.

I also think the sizzling chemistry quickly gave way to the usual romantic natterings of the deeply forever in luuurrrve.

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Don't get me wrong, I wanted Echo and Noah to be together right up to the last minute, but I would have preferred a little less "I love you more than anything in the world, baby".

There's only so many times calling someone "baby" is cute. In the end, this book had two characters with amazing chemistry who I genuinely cared about. They were flawed and interesting, but there was too much doom, gloom and angsting going on. Some parts were sad until I passed through the sadness and into eye-rolling territory. I feel conflicted about the novel as a whole, but I do believe in the author's potential.

Let's see where she goes from here. View all 5 comments. Jun 24, Aestas Book Blog rated it it was amazing Shelves: No tears streamed down her face. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your 4.

A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life. Its stifling. And you can totally feel it. The story just grabs at your heart strings. Noah was an amazing character. A stoner, one-night-stand player, under achiever… thats how the world sees him. But no one sees what led him to become this way. To the depths of his pain and the tragedy of the events in his life.

The stubble on his face moved as he smiled. Noah had muscles, looks, and trouble stalking him. Somehow he made jeans and a t-shirt look dangerous. Not that I was into girl-using stoners.

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Yet, I took another peek at him while sipping my drink. His parents died in an accident a few years back and he and his little brothers were put into the foster system and separated and now he is fighting to get them out of the system and to put whats left of his family back together.

Every SINGLE one of his scenes with his little brothers made my cry a lot and just made my heart ache with wanting them to be happy. Both Noah and Echo are intensely angry and miserable in their lives, honestly it was hard to say which one made my heart break more at times. This book is so well written that you understand their frustrations and anger at the systems and rules which are screwing up their lives as though they were your own.

The book is told in alternating POVs with serves to show how different the worlds they come from are. The romantic relationship in this book builds slowly. Its not an undeniable- love-at-first-sight-instant-relationship kind of book.

The personal journeys of the characters are the main focus of the storyline although they do end up together Both of them have been betrayed by life, and watching them learn to trust each other was really sweet. If you want to see your mom, then tell me that too. The intensity of the bond between siblings. There is nothing lighthearted about this book. Its deeply, gut-wrenchingly emotional. Although its more 'tame'… very strongly YA. There were a few things that bugged me a little about the book.

And I also would have wished for an epilogue. The book has a happy-for-now ending and a sequel featuring some of the secondary characters on the way but after all the heart ache in the book, I still would have liked a glimpse maybe 5 years into the future so see how things had worked out for them.

All in all though, I really loved this read… if you are looking for a new YA book, this is it! How I see Noah and Echo: View all 32 comments. Jul 26, Kat Kennedy rated it it was amazing Shelves: When trying to find a way to describe this book — I settled on this: For anyone familiar with me or Machetta — that is the highest praise I give.

Very rarely does a book make me laugh and cry at all — let alone multiple times. I still cry when I think about those two parts of the book. She was one of my favourites. One of the absolute best books of !

View all 15 comments. Jun 24, Wendy Darling rated it it was ok Shelves: This is one of those times when I feel like I'm reading a totally different book than everyone else is. This just isn't my kind of realistic fiction, my kind of romance, or my kind of boy. View all 24 comments. May 16, Giselle rated it it was amazing Shelves: It's no secret that this book has been getting insane reviews. Being the persistent black sheep that I am, I was incredibly wary of the hype it was garnering, certain that it would fail to impress me.

Oh boy. Oh freaking boy!! Was I ever wrong. I loved this so hard! Echo and Noah… Echo. Echo has been through an extremely distressing, life altering ordeal because of which she's suffering post-traumatic stress, with the worst side effect being memory loss. She doesn't remember what hap It's no secret that this book has been getting insane reviews.

She doesn't remember what happened. All she has are the scars. From popular to outsider, Echo's troubled state-of-mind is harsh and unstable. One of the best character development I've read, she made me a part of her. With only the span of a few pages, she had me immersed in her world, in her heart and soul.

Every layer of her being is gradually being laid out for us to become equally mesmerized and perplexed by. Her scars, her babysitter-turned-stepmother, her dead brother, along with her PTSD, she has the world on her shoulders and I was right there alongside her, sharing the weight.

With an equally burdened soul, Noah only wants two things: Jacob, and Tyler. After his parents died in a fire, the three brothers have been in the foster system and Noah wants nothing more than his family back together.

The emotions in his perspective begin from our very first glance into his melancholy life. His relationship with his brothers brought tears to my eyes, pulling me in wholeheartedly.

He may be tortured and angry - the perfect bad boy image -, yet, underneath his tough exterior he's a loving, caring person who would move heaven and earth for those boys, and, eventually, for Echo. This is a wonderful example of a perfectly woven dual perspective.

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Both characters are highly vivid, evoking powerful emotions that truly connect the reader to each character. Sketching them one page at a time. Filled to the brink with chemistry. The love story in Pushing the Limits is raw. This is true love at its purest form, with sacrifices and compromises, incredible obstacles, and learning to trust without holding back. Like true love, it's not easy, and it's not always painless.

We're dealing with two damaged individuals who need to find themselves before they let themselves find each other. Covering a lot more ground than the love story itself, we get intense, emotional ups and downs that just about gave me heart palpitations.

While reading, I quickly lost myself in this incredibly enchanting story, experiencing a multitude of complex emotions. By the time I put this book down, I had a heavy heart and a set smile. Combining love and loss, friendship and family, the unfairnesses of life and the determination to overcome them, Pushing the Limits is a book that is not only to be read, but cherished.

This is one gem that shines! View all 30 comments. Aug 04, Reynje rated it it was ok Shelves: Am I gasp too old crotchety and cynical for this? Contemporary YA is probably my favourite genre. And I like books that challenge me emotionally.

It felt too overwrought, too obvious, too overwhelmingly angsty for me to really engage with the story. The treatment of several of the abundant issues fell flat for me — it read more like an grab for an emotional reaction than a really nuanced discussion of serious topics like mental illness and abuse.

For example: However if, like me, you just stifled a pterodactyl-like screech of hysteria, this book might not really set your loins on fire. Definitely recommended for fans of Perfect Chemistry. Just not really my thing, unfortunately. View all 33 comments.

Sep 27, Christy rated it it was amazing. Loved it just as much the second time around! This was not your normal romance story In fact, normal is one of the last words you would use to describe Noah, Echo or their relationship. Echo was such a strong character. She has been through so much heartache. Not only has she lost her brother Aires, the one person who she felt loved her unconditionally, but she has had a major trauma that she has not even fully discovered. It has destroyed a lot of things importa 5 Stars!

It has destroyed a lot of things important to her; her reputation, friends, art etc. Noah hasn't had it easy either. After losing both parents in a fire, he is in foster care separated from his two little brothers. He may be a sexy, tough, bad boy but there is a side of him that you will fall for! He is loving, loyal, and obviously a family centered guy.

I adored him! Noah and Echo though both damaged, develop a beautiful but difficult relationship. Her eyes met mine again. Echo and Noah's journey was full of heartache, healing, and most importantly acceptance. Their counselor Mrs Collins was great. She truly cared about the both of them and went above and beyond to help them. I have to say I really hated Echo's mom view spoiler [ not just for the terrible thing she did to Echo- though that was part of it, but her attitude when Echo finally got to confront her.

She didn't even want to see her really or apologize? That woman was bat shit crazy! Now the whole Ashley situation was something else Another character I lothed was Grace. Just saying Worst friend ever! Lila on the other hand was a wonderful best friend. She was supportive of Echo and didn't turn her back on her. I also loved Isaiah, him fixing Aires car was great and he was like family to Noah.

Beth I didn't care for at first but she really grew on me! I especially loved the relationship between Noah and his brothers. I couldn't get through a scene with those three without crying. It was bittersweet what happens with them at the end but I think Noah realized it worked out for the best. There were many points in this book I ended up in tears.

I couldn't help myself. The story touched me. It also had funny parts too. I wanted to savor this book and make it last, but that seemed impossible because I couldn't put it down!

It was a truly beautiful story of pain, love, heartache, discovery, understanding and acceptance. If you haven't read this book you are missing out!!! View all 29 comments. Seventeen year-old Echo Emerson used to be part of the popular crowd.

Two years ago things changed. Her parents divorced, her babysitter became her step-mother, and her older brother Aires died in combat. But this is not the event that changed everything for Echo. Two years ago, an event she can't remember resulted in her waking up in the hospital two-days later, with injuries up and down both her arms.

Injuries that left her with ugly scars, and a restraining order in place against her mother. Because of the "event" Echo has been mandated by the State to attend therapy sessions.

She has just been assigned a new therapist, one that she shares with Noah Hutchins, resident bad-boy with a reputation of one-night-stands. Noah Hutchins has his own set of problems. Two and half years ago, he was on the honor-roll, competed in sports, and had the perfect family. Two loving parents and two-younger brothers. This was before his parents were killed in a house fire. Now Noah is separated from his little brothers.

He's in one foster home, while they are in another. Noah's dream is to get his brothers back and reunite what's left of his family. He's had a string of bad luck with the homes he's been placed in.

This is why he is now in court mandated therapy sessions, and on limited visitation with his younger brothers. Echo and Noah's worlds collide when Echo is assigned to tutor Noah. These two don't immediately hit it off. At first they really don't care for each other but a common goal presents itself, and they unite. Noah and Echo didn't realize they had so much in common.

What follows, is a common bond over their tragedies and a growing attraction! I was just gaga over this romance! There is heat and tension but also understanding and empathy. Noah and Echo start to truly care for one another. There were so many scenes of swoon! Weak-in-the-knees swoon! You know me, I have to share a little of at least one!

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Here you go: I'm all about foreplay. You think because girls swoon over you and let you into their pants on the first try that I'll follow suit. Think again. Besides, I have your number now.

Every time you try to look all dark and dangerous, I'll picture you wearing a pink striped polo, collar up, and a pair of pleated chinos. I stalked over to Echo, feeling like a tiger after its prey. She backed up against the wall, but I kept up my approach. I pressed against her, feeling each sensual curve. I wanted to touch every inch of her body. Her sweet smell intoxicated me.

Her eyes kept her laughter, but her smile faded as she bit her lower lip. Damn, did she have any idea what she was doing? For a girl hell-bent on keeping me away, she sure did everything to turn me on. There is a mystery behind Echo's injuries that is gradually revealed to her. The father constantly put Ashley before Echo, even when she desperately needed him! I was overjoyed when Echo started standing up to her father and told him things he needed to hear!

Don't even get me started on the mother. Still, I think the parents got off way too easy in my opinion! Trust me, you are going to shake a fist or two while reading this story because of them! McGarry did an excellent job writing these awful people.

Noah and his little brothers touched my heart! What they lost and its consequences was heart-wrenching. Noah loves his brothers. He yearns to give them the security his family once had. This is so difficult for someone his age. You can't help but empathize with his feelings of helplessness.

I must congratulate Katie McGarry on her wonderful ability to make me care so much for these characters. It's so important to me that I connect with the main characters in a story, and she really made that happen.

I highly recommend this story! I thought it was an amazing debut for Ms. McGarry, and I'll be reading anything else she decides to write! Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for allowing me to read this amazing story!

View all 64 comments. YA Romance lovers!!! Which is what i waited for the whole book. That wall Echo's wall was her memory Noah's enemy was the system "So Echo's sophomore year, she's the star of the school, right?

She's on the dance team, advanced classes, honor roll, art guru, Miss popularity, and she's got Luke Manning feeling her up between classes. One month before school lets out- she disappears. This was not where i thought this story would go. Isaiah watched my reaction and nodded. After her sudden absence at the end of her sophomore year Echo was never the same. Of course the rumor mill takes over and becomes out of control by the time she starts Junior year. However the truth is only known by a few.

And unfortunately Echo is not one of them. Her memory of what happened to alter her life and leave her arms badly scarred is suppressed. Bummer right? The doctors all say it will come back when she is ready to handle it. Now Echo is forced to see her school shrink Mrs.

Things change for Echo after she cross paths with Noah Hutchins. Noah is the school loner who has a rep for one night stands and getting high off weed. After butting heads the two realize they share a common need. And that is to read their case files for information.

Information they both are not allowed to have yet crave more than their next breath. Of course they soon start to crave each other as well. Reading about these two made me feel like i was coming in to contact with static electricity. Check it out 'She pushed off her toes toward me, guiding my head down, and gently kissed my lips.

This wouldn't be goodbye. I'd fill her up and make her realize she'd always be empty without me. Check this out 'Her shoulders never shook. The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see-the wailing on the street corners, the tearing at clothes. No the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. Read this book! Fave lines "Stop sulking already.

If you would have screwed her when you first met her, like i told you to, you wouldn't be twisted like a damn pretzel. I'd move heaven and earth.

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I'd willingly walk into hell and stay there. I'd give up anything and everything for him. I loved it! The writing is superb and the characters are captivating.

Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Trademarks marked with an are registered in Australia and in other countries. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Books S. All rights reserved. Printed and bound in Australia by Griffin Press My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother haswellissues.

How do you think Im doing? Thats how I would have loved to respond to Mrs. Collinss question, but my father placed too much importance on appearance for me to answer honestly. Instead, I blinked three times and said, Fine. Collins, Eastwick Highs new clinical social worker, acted as if I hadnt spoken. She shoved a stack of files to the side of her already cluttered desk and flipped through various papers.

My new therapist hummed when she found my three-inch-thick file and rewarded herself with a sip of coffee, leaving bright red lipstick on the curve of the mug. The stench of cheap coffee and freshly sharpened pencils hung in the air. My father checked his watch from the chair to my right and, on my left, the Wicked Witch of the West shifted impatiently.

I was missing first period calculus, my father was missing some very important meeting, and my stepmother from Oz? Im sure she was missing her brain. Katie McGarry Dont you just love January? Collins asked as she opened my file.

New year, new month, new slate to start over on. Not even waiting for a reply, she continued, Do you like the curtains? I made them myself. In one synchronized movement, my father, my stepmother and I turned our attention to the pink polka-dotted curtains hanging on the windows overlooking the student parking lot.

The curtains were too Little House on the Prairie with the color scheme of a bad rave for my taste. Not a single one of us answered and our silence created a heavy awkwardness. My fathers BlackBerry vibrated. With exaggerated effort, he pulled it out of his pocket and scrolled down the screen. Ashley drummed her fingers over her bloated belly and I read the various handpainted plaques hanging on the wall so I could focus on anything that wasnt her. Failure is your only enemy.

The only way up is to never look down. We succeed because we believe. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Okayso that last one didnt make the wall of sayings, but I would have found it amusing. Collins reminded me of an overgrown Labrador retriever with her blond hair and much too friendly attitude. You should be very proud of your daughter. She gave me a sincere smile, exposing all of her teeth.

Start the timer. My therapy session had officially begun. Close to two years ago, after the incident, Child Protective Services had strongly encouraged therapyand Dad quickly learned that it was better to say yes to anything strongly encouraged. I used to go to therapy like normal people, at an office separate from school. Thanks to an influx in funding from the state of Kentucky and an overenthusiastic social worker, Id become part of this pilot program.

Collinss sole job was to deal with a few kids from my high school. Lucky me. My father sat up taller in his seat. Her math scores were low. I want her to retake the tests. Is there a bathroom nearby? Ashley interrupted. The baby loves to sit on my bladder. More like Ashley loved to make everything about her. Collins gave her a strained smile and pointed to the door.

Pushing the Limits Series

Go out to the main hallway and take a right. The way she maneuvered out of her chair, Ashley acted as if she carried a thousand-pound ball of lead instead of a tiny baby. I shook my head in disgust, which only drew my fathers ice-cold stare.

Emerson, Mrs. Collins continued once Ashley left the room, Echos scores are well above the national average and, according to her file, shes already applied to the colleges of her choice. There are some business schools with extended deadlines Id 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. Collins said in an annoyingly even tone. But Echos English scores are close to perfect. And this was where I tuned them out. 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 10 Katie McGarry 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? 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? Do you want to retake the tests? She folded her hands and placed them on top of my file. Do you want to apply to more schools? I met my fathers tired gray eyes. Lets see. Retaking the tests would mean my father hounding me every second to study, which in turn would mean me getting up early on a Saturday, blowing the whole morning frying my brain and then worrying for weeks over the results.

As for applying to more schools? Id rather retake the tests. Not really. The worry lines forever etched around his eyes and mouth deepened with disapproval. I changed my tune. My dad is right. I should retake the tests. Collins scratched away in my file with a pen. My last therapist had been highly aware of my authority issues. No need to rewrite what was already there. Ashley waddled back into the room and dropped into the seat next to me. What did I miss?

Id honestly forgotten she existed. Oh, if only Dad would, too. Nothing, my father replied. Collins finally lifted her pen from the page. Ask Mrs. Marcos for the next testing dates before you go to class. And while Im playing the role of guidance counselor, Id like to discuss your schedule for the winter term.

I was wondering why. The real answer, because my father told me to, would probably irritate multiple people in the room so I ad-libbed, Theyll help prepare me for college. Id said that with all the enthusiasm of a six-year-old waiting for a flu shot. Bad choice on my part.

My father shifted in his seat again and sighed. I considered giving a different answer, but figured that reply would also come off flat. Collins perused my file. Youve shown an incredible talent in the arts, specifically painting. Im not suggesting you drop all of your business courses, but you could drop one and take an art class instead. No, my father barked.

He leaned forward in his seat, steepling his fingers. Echo wont be taking any art classes, is that clear? My father was a strange combination of drill instructor and Alices white rabbit: he always had someplace important to go and enjoyed bossing everyone else around. I had to give Mrs. Collins credit; she never once flinched before she caved. Well, now that weve settled that Ashley and her baby bump perched on the edge of the chair, preparing to stand. I accidentally overbooked today and I have an OB appointment.

We may find out the babys gender. Emerson, Echos academics arent the reason for this meeting, but I understand if you need to leave. She withdrew an official letter from her top drawer as a red-faced Ashley sat back in her seat.

Id seen that letterhead several times over the past two years. Child Protective Services enjoyed killing rainforests.

Collins read the letter to herself while I secretly wished I would spontaneously combust. Both my father and I slouched in our seats. Oh, the freaking joy of group therapy.

Pushing the limits

The fancy kind people received when they won a competition. Something strange stirred inside me. Collins hole-punched the letter and then placed it in my already overwhelmed file.

Im officially your therapist. When she said nothing else, I drew my gaze away from the ribbon to her. She was watching me.

Its a nice ribbon, isnt it, Echo? My father cleared his throat and sent Mrs. Collins a death glare. Okay, that was an odd reaction, but then again, he was irritated just to be here. My eyes flickered to the ribbon again. Why did it feel familiar? I guess. Her eyes drifted to the dog tags I absently fingered around my neck. Im very sorry for your familys loss. What branch of the armed forces? My father was going to have a stinking coronary. Hed only made it clear seventy-five times that Aires dog tags were to stay in the box under my bed, but I needed them todaynew therapist, the two-year anniversary of Aires death still fresh, and the first day of my last semester of high school.

Nausea skipped and played in my intestines. Avoiding my fathers disappointed frown, I took great pains to search my hair for split ends.