ARC Book Review: Heartbeat

Heartbeat CoverBook: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Expected publication is January 28, 2013 by Harlequin Teen|Expected Number Of Pages: 240

*I did receive Heartbeat from netgalley.com, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way. Promise!

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Heartbeat on goodreads & Elizabeth Scott on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and her website

Goodreads Summary: 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?

My Review:

When I saw what Hearbeat was about, I knew it was something I had to read, because it’s not a topic covered in fiction.  Well, it’s not something that I’ve seen.  Still, I liked that it’s so different than a lot of other books I’ve read in terms of plot.  You have Emma, who believes her mom wouldn’t want to stay alive just because of her younger brother, and that her step-dad Dan is a total monster for putting her brother before her mom.  And Dan is on the complete opposite side, believing it is what Emma’s mom would want.

I can’t even BEGIN to imagine what it would be like for both Emma and Dan to deal with what they’re dealing with.  I get why Emma blamed Dan (and her brother, to a certain extent), and I might have done the same thing if I were in her situation.  Still, I found it to be irritating by the end of the book, and while I wanted to feel sympathy for her, I really couldn’t.  I get her grief and that Dan maybe forgot about her and didn’t ask her about what she thought about her mom being on life support, but…actually, I’m finding that I’m more sympathetic towards Dan, for having to make that decision.  It was just really hard for me to like her, as weird as it may seem.  Her thought process (and Dan’s too, come to think of it) do make a little more sense towards the end of the novel, when they actually talk to each other.

I did like that Emma gave Caleb a chance, and that there’s a reason for why he acts the way he does. And of all of the characters in the book, he’s also the one that understands what Emma is going through the most.  So it’s good that they have each other to work through everything that’s happened in their lives, you know?

Back to Dan wanting to keep Emma’s mom on life support in order to give his unborn son a chance at survival.  You can’t help but wonder what you’d do in that situation, and there’s definitely the ethics of it to think about.  It really does give you a lot to think about.  The difference in opinion Dan and Emma have does make for an interesting conflict, because you get both sides of the issue.  And even when they’re both being a little unfair to the other…they also make sense at the same time.  There are no easy answers for Dan and Emma.

Let’s Rate It:

I know it would seem like I didn’t like Heartbeat, but I actually did like it.  It’s definitely because of the decisions that Dan had to make, and it’s definitely something to think about, whether or not you agree with what he decided.  It was hard for me to care about Emma,  but I also understand why she acted the way she did.  Heartbeat gets 3 stars.

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