Author: Elizabeth Scott
Synopsis: 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?
Huge thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for this advance reader copy.
I didn’t expect to like Heartbeat as much as I did. There’s a part of me just based on the synopsis that figured the romance was going to be the focus of this story and it was going to be cliche. What I love about this novel is how in a lot of ways it proved me wrong.
Emma is living in denial and frustration. She doesn’t have a proper relationship with her step-father Dan, because he refuses to let Emma’s mother go for the sake of the baby growing inside her. This is a unique situation and premise in itself, and I love the angle that Scott plays with these two particular characters. Dan believes by keeping Emma’s mother, he can have the baby growing inside of her and still have a piece of her when the baby is born. Emma thinks Dan is being delusional and selfish, and she urges him to let her mother die in piece and let the baby go with her.
This was an interesting dilemma and one I found so intriguing from start to finish. It’s a story of how people fight in times of crisis and either will find their way back to each other or leave them for good. Emma is wonderful as are lead because she’s someone who spoke her mind and wasn’t afraid to say what was on it. I found her voice so easy to gravitate towards, and it made this book a real page-turner simply because she made the reader feel a part of her world.
The romance actually surprised me as well. In a lot of ways I feel like Scott did a great job of making the romance and the drama feel as though they were on equal playing fields. One never came across more important than another, and what I enjoyed is the relationship that Emma and Caleb forge. It didn’t feel like an immediate connection, but rather they had an understanding of each other and similarities that made them gravitate towards each other. I actually found Caleb and Emma to be cute as a couple and their romance was really sweet.
Heartbeat impressed me in a lot of ways. Sure it had its melodrama, but Scott made it such a unique situation that it was so easy to keep turning pages because you wanted to know what was actually going to happen between all the characters. I also appreciated how well rounded these characters were and how easy it was to identify with them as well. I loved the sections when Emma would recall memories of her mother, and this book is just plain sad at times. Hopeful, but sad. Heartbeat is a book for those who are okay with a little angst and are not expecting a light contemporary read. This book can be blunt, it can be harsh, but it’s insanely honest.