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?
Publishes in US: January 28th 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Contemp
Source: Netgalley/Edelweiss via Harlequin Teen
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound
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Heartbeat is an emotional wild ride. Elizabeth Scott, the author, knows how to pack a powerful punch with the heartstrings, and I was misty eyed several times. The main character Emma is strong, determined and she had a strong bond with her mom. Unfortunately, she passed away, but she's being kept alive with machines for the baby. Emma is dealing with this halted, stilted grief because even though her mom is brain dead, her body is still there, and Emma has to see her every day. Emma has a lot of anger as well, and most of it is directed at her step-dad Dan. I understand where she is coming from because he is the one to make the decision about keeping her mom alive, and Emma sees it as making the decision completely about the baby with no regard for her mother. But as a parent myself, I totally feel for Dan. That had to be a heartwrenching decision, and he has to know deep down that that is what his wife would have wanted, to give this baby a chance. But then to have Emma questioning that and distancing herself, I totally can't even imagine how that feels. So, that all said, I really admire Dan for continuing to try to bond with Emma, and care for her, all the while attempting to respect her feelings and boundaries she's put up.
The relationship or deterioration was one thing that I kept my fingers crossed would be a place where Emma saw the truth of things. Luckily this was an area of the book where there was quite a bit of focus, and with it progress, and both sides admitting where they were wrong and the big c word: compromise. But above all, love and working through problems instead of just letting it simmer and one day explode under the pressure.
I am glad for Emma that she has her best friend Olivia there for her. Olivia is the kind of friend that we all want, quirky but loyal to the end. She provides rides, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on for Emma.
We all know that Emma and Caleb, the bad boy mentioned in the synopsis will have chemistry and a relationship, but I like how it came to be. Their first encounters were by chance and overall antagonistic since Emma was so emotional, and it seemed that Caleb was defensive. I loved getting to know what was underneath Caleb's mask. I figured it was due to pain or loss, esp how when he saw Emma's mom he had understanding, a deeper connection than the pity or sorry for your loss of someone who just doesn't get it. I liked their slower build to romance and that they had a connection, they had a spark, definite chemistry, but they also had deep, real, hard conversations.
I will say there were some of the medical aspects that I felt were stretching the lines of plausibility, but then again, my medical knowledge is pretty limited and I have never done research on this sort of case. However, this did not at all take away from my enjoyment of this book. In fact, I devoured it, finishing in one day.
I think that the ending was good, but I wanted to know more. It wrapped up with Emma in a good place for continued healing, and accepting that it is okay to grieve, to miss her mom, but it is also okay to be happy.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Would you want to be on a ventilator to allow your baby to survive?