Pushing the Boundaries (Off Limits #1)
by Stacey Trombley
Publication Date: January 16, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush
Myra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.
Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.
The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.
If they get too close—it could ruin both their lives.
The roar of the planes overhead is just another reminder of how insignificant we are in this tiny forgotten country. Stuck. My little brother watches through the chain-link fence, eyes wide, mouth open as they soar over us, so close the air sends ripples through our clothing.
“Kouman rich ou panse yo ye?” he asks without taking his eyes from the huge white plane. How rich do you think they are? I mentally translate to English. I need all the practice I can get. My palms sweat just thinking about it, and my first test is just minutes away.
“Who?” I ask.
He turns to me and blinks his big eyes, his eyebrows high in question. Oh, right.
“Ki moun?” I repeat in Creole so he’ll understand me.
My stomach sinks. I can’t even get this right with my little brother. The whole double language thing is harder than I expected. I need it to be easy if I’m going to be any good at my job.
“Moun nan avyon yo.” The people in the planes!
I shake my head, but he doesn’t see. I explain that there are hundreds of people in those planes. Some are probably rich, and some are probably poor.
“Yo ap toujou pi rich pase nou, dwa?” he asks.
I sigh. If they can afford a plane ticket… “Chans.” Yes, they are likely wealthier than us.
Our world is tiny, a country that is only half an island. To people who can afford a plane, the world is limitless.
My pocket buzzes, making me jump. I fumble with the little plastic device and flip it open. “Hello!” I say, pressing the phone against my face.
“Elias! Pull the van around. They just landed.”
“Yes, Mr. Rowland.”
“Remember that line we talked about? Don’t step over it.”
My head swims. There’s so much for me to remember, but the most important? Don’t get too close to the Americans. Mr. Rowland made it very clear that I’m not one of them and I shouldn’t expect anything from them. If I make any of them uncomfortable I’ll be out of a job faster than one of their huge planes can take off.
There’s a click and then silence. I put the foreign technology back in my pocket and hope he doesn’t call again.
Luke grabs at my pocket, seeking out the phone, his eyes alight with envy. “Ki jan ou fè jwenn yon telefòn?”
I swat his hand away. The phone is not mine. It’s Mr. Rowland’s. “E si ou kraze li?” What if you break it?
Luke rolls his eyes but then shuffles his feet.
He may only be eight, but he knows what this job means for us. I’m only eighteen, with a chance for the kind of job that will keep his belly full, permanently. Not to mention our mother and sister.
I point across the parking lot and tell him to get to the van. It’s time to work.
Luke’s eyes get big again, and I smile. He runs to the parking lot, fast as a bullet, jumping up and down once he reaches the van. I unlock the door, and he climbs in, looking tiny in the massive vehicle.
We pull up to the front of the airport to wait for the Americans, and I try not to let myself get too worked up. The more nervous I am, the harder this will be.
“Ou jwenn yon telefon, yon ti bis, e al rankontre tou Ameriken yo. Pi bon travay pou lavi!” You get a phone, a van, and get to meet all the Americans. Best job ever.
I roll my eyes and tell him to keep working on his English and maybe he can have a job like this someday, too.
I take in a deep breath. To him, this is an adventure.
To me, it’s dangerous.
Pushing the Boundaries has a fairly unique premise–a Pakistani American girl goes (against her will) with her doctor mother on a service trip to Haiti to work in a medical clinic and becomes involved with their teenaged Haitian interpreter/driver, and problems ensue. Myra and Elias are from different worlds–literally–and it seems as if their relationship can’t realistically be more than a bittersweet memory of a first love experience…or can it?
I enjoyed a look into a different world–like Myra, I wanted to see what Haiti looked like beyond the clinic and rented home she was shuttled between, thought the way she chooses to get out nearly causes more problems than positive experiences. Her self-centeredness and tendency to think of herself first and of others (maybe) second made her difficult to like at times, though she does grow up more toward the end, garnering more sympathy for her character. Elias is much easier to like overall, though his chapters tended to be too short to really get to know him and his life as much as I’d like to.
There’s a touch of insta-love here (though it is their “first love” experience, so that’s not exactly out of character) and I’m still processing how I feel about the way things are left at the end–a too quick and easy solution? The rich Americans coming in and making everything all better?–the jury’s still out on that part. This is being billed as the first in a series, and if the other book(s) are going to continue Myra and Elias’s story, I am interested in seeing where it is going to go.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the Author:
Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.
Her debut novel Naked released from Entangled Teen in 2015. Find her online at www.StaceyTrombley.com and on twitter @trombolii.
Website – http://www.staceytrombley.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Trombolii
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/StaceyTrombleyAuthor
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Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/tromboli/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8475704.Stacey_Trombley
Pushing the Boundaries Prize Pack including:
* Signed copy of Naked by Stacey Trombley
* Signed copy of Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley
* Haitian Art as shown in the photo