Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley
Release Day: January 16, 2017
A Sascha Ramble: So last night I was reading a novel for an upcoming book tour and realized that my negative notations were growing exponentially. With what felt like hours put into it (bear with me, I read really quickly), I was only at 43%, but my forehead was showing bruising from the head-to-table action (hyperbole). I despise DNFs and will always push to finish a novel, hoping for something redeeming. This time it wasn’t happening. With the phrase, so many books, so little time echoing in my brain: I got back on the horse and started Pushing the Boundaries. Within no time at all it seemed like I had hit the 50% mark. This is one way I know that a book works—if I read a huge chunk without ever looking to see how much is remaining. End o’ ramble.
Myra is a Pakistani-American girl who is going with her mother, a doctor, to Haiti to do charity work in a clinic. Myra is looking forward to the experience, not so much for the medical side of it, but because she is hoping to take the picture that will be her ticket to art school.
Elias is 17 and has just started his new job as an interpreter. He drives the van that picks up the newly arrived American charity workers and overhears Myra call him “cute,” a term that he had only heard before to describe “children and dogs.” He feels that this beautiful girl is going to be trouble.
Pushing the Boundaries is told in alternating points-of-view of Myra and Elias. I found the prose to be a tad too simple for my taste, but wonder if the author, Stacey Trombley, wasn’t trying to put it more in the voices of the teenagers involved. There was some nice description, however, and the writing flowed, so simple wasn’t really a detriment.
I liked how the story unfolded, showing us Myra’s perspective. How she always feels like a foreigner in the States because of the color of her skin, but that in Haiti she feels even more foreign. Yet, despite how different she might be in America, she possesses all of the opportunities and advantages that are unknown in Haiti. Another nice juxtaposition is how Myra’s family, despite being privileged, does not possess the love and solidarity that Elias’ family has.
Myra is impetuous, not always understanding what the result might be for her actions. She leaves the safety of the clinic grounds to go on an adventure and gets herself into trouble, but is rescued by Elias. The ramifications of her action reach farther than she expected and she is forced to make some realizations about herself and tries to make amends for her selfish action. I felt that this was a pretty realistic depiction of some American teens.
The ending is almost kind of “fairytale,” but I thought it a sweet conclusion to a story that is intended to open the eyes of its reader to situations they may know little about.
“This country is like a whole new world. I feel as though it was a spaceship that brought me here instead of a plane. This country is only a few hundred miles from the Florida coast, and yet it seems like it’s hundreds of years behind.”
I would definitely recommend Pushing the Boundaries for the young adult audience. Older readers’ mileage will definitely vary.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: Pushing the Boundaries
rating: (4 out of 5 butterflies)