Friday, January 10, 2014
ARC 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?
I really loved this book except for one big thing: the main character, Emma. Aside from her, I loved the sweet message about family this book sends, as well as the flowing writing style and gripping storyline.
This book deals with a difficult subject: Emma's mother is brain-dead but still kept alive by machines since she's pregnant. Emma struggles with this fact throughout the book and is angry at her stepfather for not letting her mother die peacefully. I certainly felt sympathetic towards Emma's plight, and my heart broke for her multiple times, but at the same time I couldn't understand how Emma wouldn't want her baby brother to have a chance to live. Her stepdad sums it up perfectly when he say, "Your brother is fighting for his life, and you talk about him like he's not real." It would've been easier to like Emma if she was slightly more emotional. She's too selfish, and doesn't understand that her stepdad is grieving too. She was bitter and angry at him for far too long, but I did grow to like Emma eventually.
This book was a very fast read for me, and yet it still manages to be full of depth. This is not an ordinary contemporary - it's raw and gritty. The minor characters really make this book - such as Emma's best friend, who refuses to use most electronics because her parents work in the electronic industry and are so busy they spend much of their time ignoring her. And Caleb, the love interest, is very sweet and I love the way he helps Emma learn to be happy again. Like her, he's suffered, and he understands her pain in a way that no one else does. I didn't completely love the romance for some reason, but it was a nice touch and never overtook the storyline.
Although I had a hard time caring about Emma, I still enjoyed Heartbeat. It was a heartbreaking story that teaches the importance of family, and I liked Emma's journey from numbness and pain to slowly becoming part of the world again, or, as the summary says, "feeling her own heart beat again." Heartbeat is a thoughtful contemporary story you won't want to miss out on.
*I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars