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?
Can you say angst?
Because this is the total essence of this book. Heartbreak and lust and melodrama and teenage corruption at its ultimate best.
Emma’s life is over – or so it seems that way. Her pregnant mother dropped dead reaching for a piece of toast (I feel the need to mention it considering how many times it was actually brought up in the novel), and now her step-dad is set on keeping her plugged into IV’s all for the sake of keeping Em’s baby brother alive. Convinced that Dan – said stepfather – never really loved her or her mother and only cares for her soon-to-be-born sibling, she falls into the arms of Caleb Harrison, local bad boy and professional automobile thief.
Death, one of the most common elements of YA, one way or another, is something Elizabeth Scott managed to handle smoothly and realistically. Most passings in books are always made out to be either over dramatic or under-dramatic, and Elizabeth was able to keep a fair balance between the two, making the experience out to be much truer to it’s actuality. It also really helped in capturing the emotional authenticity of the plot and it’s always great to feel like you’re living out the real thing(sometimes; not really, in this case).
While Emma’s harrowing relationship with Dan had me pulling my hair out half the time, her motives were justifiable and it pained me to read her feeling the way she did about her mother’s situation. Caleb was an amazing book boyfriend and I loved that even though he was terribly, and I mean terribly flawed, there was a part of him that didn’t want to be all bad and was willing to change his ways for the sake of love. Among all the characters present, his realness was the most outstanding. And, anyways, can we ever really resist loving a literary bad boy with a soft spot for pretty girls? I think not. The only thing that irked me more than Emma and Dan, though, was Olivia’s relationship with Emma. The girls had been best friends for years and as much as I liked Caleb, it was completely out of play that Emma would rather talk about the death of her mother with a boy she’s just met over her soul sister. No matter how strong the connection may be, and as okay as it is to let him in, I’m all about honesty and keeping Olivia out of the loop for so long had me feeling extra antsy. While characters are people and people make mistakes, this was the one thing I just couldn’t let slip.
Unfortunately, Heartbeat isn’t as long as I wish it would have been, and while there was time for character and plot development, I feel like things would have flown much more smoothly had Scott lengthened the novel one hundred pages or so just to allow for Emma and Caleb’s relationship to really build before it became anything more than platonic. Either way, the novel worked for me and I was content enough with the story as a whole to not really give a damn about those pages because Caleb steals cars and once hit a dude in one but he’s still gorgeous and damaged and everything you could ever want in a beautifully broken boy.
All in all, Heartbeat is the story of a girl who meets a boy who shows her what it’s like to feel again after the unexpected death of her mother. And, well, there’s kissing, too.
Thanks to Harlequin Teen, we are giving away a copy of our Read of the Week! Enter to win an ARC of Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott using the Rafflecopter widget below. The more tasks you complete, the more entries you will receive. The contest ends on February 1st at 12:01am EST. Winners will be notified via email. Good luck!