For my last author spotlight, I decided we desperately need to talk about Katie McGarry. For anyone who has read her books, you understand why I said “desperately.”
Most Popular Titles: Pushing the Limits, Dare You To, Crash Into You
Debut Novel: Pushing the Limits (2012)
Most Recent Release: Echoes Between Us (2020)
Katie McGarry writes some of the most interesting YA contemporary romance I’ve ever read. She focuses on characters who seem a bit…unconventional. Dangerous, even. But that means her stories have deeper, darker themes. And I kind of like that.
McGarry’s most popular series is the Pushing the Limits series, which is set in Kentucky and follows a variety of characters with dark backstories. Drugs, deadbeat parents, poverty, and even darker subjects are covered here–but it’s done in a way that makes you sympathize with the characters. You understand why they get into the kind of trouble they do. It doesn’t make it right, but at least you get it. And you see that they want a better life beyond it.
Despite it being the less well-known series, I personally prefer the Thunder Road series, about a biker gang (they call it “motorcycle club” but I feel biker gang is more accurate). Trust me, when I looked at it, I was like, “There’s no way I’m going to like this. This is the exact opposite of what my life is and I don’t think I’ll like it.” But I loved it. The first book, Nowhere But Here, is about Emily, a girl who has grown up not really having a relationship with her dad (he was in prison for a chunk of her life and then her mom moved them to Florida). When she returns to Kentucky reluctantly, she ends up caught in the middle of gang business. Seeing Emily and Oz–a club prospect tasked with keeping Emily safe–together, it was just magical. I swear.
My First McGarry Read: Pushing the Limits. I was really blown away by it at the time, but I would be willing to guess if I went back and reread it, I’d still prefer Thunder Road. I think McGarry’s writing has gotten better over time. Still, she’s a gutsy writer and she covers a wide variety of topics I couldn’t personally relate to but loved all the same.
Her Complete Collection:
- Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1) (2012)
- Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2) (2013)
- Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits, #3) (2013)
- Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, #4) (2014)
- Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1) (2015)
- Walk the Edge (Thunder Road, #2) (2016)
- Chasing Impossible (Pushing the Limits, #5) (2016)
- Long Way Home (Thunder Road, #3) (2017)
- Say You’ll Remember Me (2018)
- Only a Breath Apart (2019)
- Echoes Between Us (2020)
That’s it for today! If you’re just discovering Katie McGarry for the first time (or if you just haven’t read any of her books yet), I’d love to know which one(s) you’re adding to your TBR!