Book Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Life. Death. And...Love?

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.

Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?

Release Date: January 28, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli

After finishing Heartbeat (I devoured it in just a few hours), all I can say is "wow."  What an emotional journey!  I found myself tearing up a few times while reading this book, which is unusual for me.  

The summary drew me in and I knew that I simply had to read this book.  The idea of keeping a pregnant woman's body alive, so that the baby can grow and eventually be delivered, is something that crossed my mind more than once when I was pregnant.  In fact, I remember telling my husband that I would want him to save Kaitlyn (my two year old) if he could, if something were to happen to me.  So to read an entire book about this very subject really touched my heart.  

I really felt for Emma, the main character.  She was so consumed by her anger towards her stepfather, for keeping her mother's body alive.  I knew that Emma's anger was really misdirected grief over her mother's death.  She could not really mourn her mother when her mother's body was still technically alive.  Although there was no hope of recovery, since her mother was declared brain dead, I got the feeling a small part of Emma longed for a miracle.  

Emma's endless anger was the focus of the first quarter of the book.  Just when her actions towards her stepfather, and really everyone in her life, started to grate on me, she started to change.  Seeing Emma come to terms with the situation, and with Dan (her stepfather) was the best part of the book.  Emma's acceptance of the loss of her mother, and her forgiveness towards Dan, provided a great deal of character growth.  I liked getting to know the reasons (besides the obvious) behind Dan's decision.  I really felt for him, as well as Emma.

In the midst of all this heartache, Emma befriends a boy at school.  Caleb is known for being a trouble-maker, and in the past Emma wouldn't have given him a second thought.  However, their paths cross at the hospital, and they find that they have some things in common: namely grief over the loss of their family members.  The love story between Caleb and Emma was secondary to the main plot, but it was such a great addition to the book.  It was very tender and well-written, and added to the story without overshadowing the real issue.

Scott has a great writing style, with perfect pacing.  She depicts emotions flawlessly, which made the book have an even greater emotional impact.  I really can't say enough good things about Heartbeat.  It's a story that I won't ever forget, and I would recommend it to anyone.    


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