I swear, my heartbeat dropped a good ten beats per minute just attempting to finish reading this book. And not because it was so beautiful that I calmed down. Because it was so boring that I started wanting to fall asleep and hibernate like a bear so I wouldn’t have to wake up until much later to finish this book! (Okay, epically long sentence just then…)
I’m not joking though. Heartbeat is definitely a boring book.
In Heartbeat, protagonist Emma must find a way to let go of the grief and pain inside her. Her mother’s died, but she’s still being kept alive by hospital machines until the baby inside of her is born. Her stepfather, although alive, is dead to Emma because of his controlling behavior (at least in her opinion). So what happens now? Well, enter Caleb Harrison, bad boy and fellow broken soul. Emma doesn’t know why she’s so attracted to him, but she doesn’t really care. Can she finally find a way to let it go, let it go…. (Okay, no more references from here on out! I promise!) and start living again?
I’ve read one of Elizabeth’s other novels, Stealing Heaven. While it wasn’t amazing by any means, I found Stealing Heaven to be cute, fun and really adorable. However, Heartbeat doesn’t even get good enough to be considered cute. I found it contrived. Just read the whole plot and you’ll understand what I mean.
As a teen myself, I understand what it’s like to avoid painful topics. I understand pinning anger on an undeserving person and blaming the wrong people. However, Emma just takes this to a new level. She just becomes selfish, whiny, and annoying instead.So of course she has to develop, but even the development turned out to be unnatural. I simply could not relate to Emma acting like, well, a teen! Either I’m really mature (probably not) or Emma seems kind of untouchable due to her never-ending complaining…
Let’s talk Caleb now, aka love interest, aka total bad boy, aka underdeveloped block of a character. While I don’t have a thing against bad boys, I have a thing about people falling in love just because they can bond over sadness. While it does happen, the author didn’t capture the relationship well enough to make me truly believe that Emma and Caleb love each other or care for each other. They don’t seem to realize the qualities the other person has; it’s simply grief, grief, grief, n0w can I please kiss you?
To wrap this spiel up, Heartbeat’s redeeming qualities fail to make up for the underwhelming vibes of the whole book. A combination of uninteresting writing, underdeveloped characters, and a cliche plot contributed to my dislike of the novel overall. Heartbeat literally made my heart frozen for a good five minutes; I won’t be able to let that fact go any time soon! (So I lied. But what can you do now?)
Rating: 4 out of 10
Publisher: Harlequin (1/28/2014)
ISBN #: 9780373210961
Genres: Romance, YA, Realistic Fiction (not exactly realistic though…)