In A Heartbeat

Book: In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

Published February 2010|Published by Walker Children’s|Pages: 224

Purchased for my Nook

Genre: YA/Contemporary

Check it out at: Goodreads|Barnes And Noble|Amazon|Loretta Ellsworth Summary: When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart.When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different-dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy-her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life, meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on.Told in alternating viewpoints, “In a Heartbeat “tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart.

In A Heartbeat was an interesting read.  You see organ donation in a different way, and it’s because of the two (very different) narrators.  I really liked that you saw the girl who got the heart, but also the one who donated her heart.  It really added to the book, because you actually see the donor and what they were like.  It really shows that donated organs come from very real people who aren’t just made up of body parts.

I thought the idea of transplant recipients taking on characters of their donors really interesting.  You see Eagan and Amelia, and how Amelia takes on some of Eagan’s characteristics.  Of the two, I felt like Eagan was more developed as a character.  She was an ice-skater, she had friends, a boyfriend…all we know about Amelia is that she was sick and liked to draw horses- it was hard to connect with her because she spent so much time recovering.  I just felt like we didn’t get to know her as much.

I did like the alternating perspectives and seeing how two very different girls are now connected.  I thought the alternating perspective worked really well.

While I liked the book, I also have a few issues with it.  Other than 2 different personalities and different interestes, the two girls weren’t distinct nearly enough.  The only way I knew who was narrating was by where they were and what was going on- it just didn’t feel like two different girls were narrating.  There were also a lot of things that were mentioned and never explored.  Like, Eagan’s mom used to be an ice-skater.  It would have been interesting to explore their rocky relationship through ice-skating.  Or Eagan having a baby sister, and no one telling her.  Why was that kept a secret?  And how did she die?

There was just something off…I think it might be Amelia, who’s all about her heart issues.

Final thoughts: I liked In A Heartbeat, and thought it was an interesting concept, especially the idea of cellular memory.  It makes you think about organ donation, and how there are two different sides to it.  I give it a 3 out of 5.

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