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Posted March 24, 2014
Rating: 4.5/5 Heartbeat is a definite must-read for anyone o
Rating: 4.5/5Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Heartbeat is a definite must-read for anyone out there that is looking for a heart warming story of forgiveness and acceptance. When I first looked at the cover and the title, I was immediately pulled in and had to read it. I have only read another book by Elizabeth Scott and it was great, so I didn't hesitate to read her latest book.
From the very start we meet Emma, a high school girl who has lost her mother and in a way her stepfather. It is evident right from the beginning that her relationship with her stepfather is not easy and she is angry at him for what he did (and is still doing) to her mother. Emma's mother is brain dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her. But having a mother kept alive by machines is difficult for Emma to handle and more so now that her stepfather decided to do that to her without asking Emma's opinion makes their relationship that much more difficult. Now she resents her stepfather for destroying her mother and not letting her go all because of the baby. Emma struggles to forgive her stepfather and turns to her best-friend Victoria to keep her from losing herself completely. Victoria represents the life that she could have outside her home, while her house represents unhappiness and anger. But it isn't until Caleb walks into her life that she feels safe and understood.
Both of them have struggled deeply in their lives and together they support one another and give each other the comfort that they need to keep going. As the story unfolds, they start to feel more for one other and that's what eventually saves them.
I really enjoyed reading Heartbeat, the book deals with difficult issues that you just don't see every day. The story wasn't overshadowed by the romance, although the romantic scenes between Emma and Caleb were really sweet. The overall book was more about what Emma goes through to accept her new life and to understand each relationship that she has. The writing was really good, it goes from present to past most of the time. Is is mainly Emma's character that is remembering what happened before with her mom and recalling memories. I would have liked to see more of Caleb's story, and perhaps some type of resolution to his problems, that would have made the story that much better. But overall, the story was great, the ending was satisfying and I highly recommend it.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Posted February 2, 2014
Posted January 28, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Heartbeat by
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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?
What I Liked:
Just a note (not that it really matters): I read this book back in early August, but I wanted to hold off on writing and publishing my review until closer to the release date. Granted, it's still not *that* close to the release date, but it's good enough. Better than August.
So! This book! What a book! You all do not understand how much this book touched me. I read it before it had a cover (the cover wasn't revealed until October tenth, anyway), so I wasn't dissuaded by the romance-based cover. Trust me, this book's romance plays a huge role in this book, but it's not what I would feature on the cover. I like the cover, but maybe not for this book.
This book deals with difficult issues. A girl is struggling to maintain a relationship with her stepfather - a relationship that she feels like she doesn't want. Emma wants to hate Dan for keeping her mother's body alive, in order to have a shot at keeping their son (Dan and Emma's mother's son).
You see, Emma's mother is over forty years old. Once women pass about thirty-five, pregnancies become high-risk. The baby could be born with conditions and disease, and the mother will most likely have a difficult pregnancy and difficult labor. So, Emma's mother technically dies, at fifteen weeks at pregnancy, but Dan makes the decision to maintain her bodily functions, so that the fetus can grow. Twenty-five weeks is the magic number.
I totally understand why Emma hated Dan's decision so much. He never asked Emma what she wanted. It seemed like everything he was doing, he was doing for the baby, and not thinking about Emma's mother, or Emma.
I can relate to this book as a whole, because my mother's sister (my aunt) went through basically the same thing last year. She was over forty, already had a daughter my age, but she got pregnant. About twenty-ish weeks into the pregnancy, things started to go downhill. She started bleeding, she was bedridden, the baby was under high stress... my aunt could have died, and the baby could have died. Around Christmas time, the baby was taken, and he died.
My aunt wanted to keep the baby inside of her for as long as possible. She would have done anything for that little boy - just like Emma's mother. The (big) difference is, Emma's mother died from being pregnant - my aunt survived (but her little boy didn't).
So, I feel like the issue with Emma's feelings about her mother's death, her future stepbrother, and her stepfather, is the forefront of the story. I'm saying that I don't like the cover, but I feel like the romance is secondary.
And I don't know how Ms. Scott did it, but Emma's voice is phenomenal. I mean, as a teen, I could totally relate to Emma. I could feel all of her feelings, think all of her thoughts, understand what she was going through... everything just seemed extremely realistic. Emma's anger with her stepfather is so well-written - I would have reacted similarly, I feel!
The romance is beautiful, though. I love Emma and Caleb together. Both of them are broken, splintered apart by awful, tragic events in their lives. Both of them need each other, want each other, and thankfully, they find each other. I seriously think that the romance in this book is PERFECT. Subtle, simple yet complex, tortured, beautiful.
I really, really enjoyed this book. It broke my heart in many ways, because of what happened so recently with my aunt, but I loved this book regardless. This book will always be special to me, for that reason. The ending is imperfectly perfect. You'll have to read the book to know whether or not the baby survived, Emma and Caleb survived, Emma and Dan survived, and so on. But I love the ending. I love this book.
What I Did Not Like:
I have nothing to say in this section! I know that no book is perfect, but I really cannot think of anything for this section at the moment!
Would I Recommend It:
YES! I know that the cover will lead you to think that this book is a contemporary romance story - which it does feature - but that's not solely what this book is about! Give it a try, whether you like contemporary novels or not. It might change things for you! This is one of those books that if you can relate, then it sticks with you forever. I know it will, for me!
5 stars. I haven't read anything else by Ms. Scott, but I have to say, I am very impressed! This story has so much meaning to me, so I am honored to have had a chance to read it.
Posted January 28, 2014
¿My mother¿s name was Lisa Davis Harold, and she was strong and
“My mother’s name was Lisa Davis Harold, and she was strong and beautiful. She was a person, she had her own thoughts, and I remember that. I remember how she was. Who she was. I remember her. I’m the only one who does.”Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Heartbeat tackles an issue I’ve never really thought much (read: anything) about – keeping a dead person alive on machines so the unborn baby inside of them has a chance to live. Emma’s mom had a difficult time conceiving and had some health issues that led her to a very risky pregnancy. She suffered a brain aneurysm and died, but the decision was made to keep her alive on machines until the baby was further along and hopefully capable of surviving. I am grateful the bad things happened before the beginning of the book. As much of a mess as I was reading this book, I can only imagine it would have been that much worse had I been made to experience it all first-hand with Emma.
“Mom, I’m sorry,” I whisper now as I step into school, and I hope she hears me. That she forgives me. That she can help me find a way to untangle the knot of hate in my heart, because it’s there. It’s there, and I feel it. It’s there, and I can’t make it go away. I understand what she meant now about the edge and how hate can take over everything. I see it. I feel it. But I don’t know how to stop it. And the one person who could, the one person who’d be able to pull me back, is gone.
Through the course of this book, I found myself trying to put myself in Emma’s shoes. How would I feel if my mother’s new husband kept my mom hooked up to machines so that their son had a chance of surviving? Would I be angry? Sad? Grief-stricken? Filled with hate? When my relationship with him suffered because he seemed more concerned about the baby than me, how would that make me feel? Jealous? Heartbroken? Would it make me feel completely alone, like I lost two parents? Who would I turn to for support? What would happen when I met a new guy who seemed to understand everything I was going through? I concluded I would be a gigantic ball of messy feelings, much like Emma was in this book. I can’t fault her for any of her emotions or actions in this book. It’s an unfathomable situation she’s in and I think the fact that she was even upright said a lot.
“I see what grief does, how it strips you bare, shows you all the things you don’t want to know. That loss doesn’t end, that there isn’t a moment where you are done, when you can neatly put it away and move on.”
Heartbeat is about more than a controversial issue though. It’s about grief and anger, heartbreak and hope, first love, and most of all, relationships. Emma’s relationship with her mom, her mom’s relationship with Dan, Emma’s relationship with Dan, Emma’s friendship with Olivia, and Emma’s relationship with Caleb were all focused on in this book. Each of them was unique and filled me with a different emotion. I loved watching Caleb and Emma’s friendship grow and evolve into something else. They were two souls who needed someone to lean on and found the perfect person in each other. Emma and Dan’s relationship was downright painful at times. There was resentment and guilt and anger, but there was also love. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for a step-parent/step-child to continue a relationship when the person who brought them together in the first place is no longer there. It would be tough, I think, in any situation, but it was made that much worse given the situation they were in.
“He tastes like salt, like tears. He tastes like pizza and grief and love and fear. He tastes like Caleb and I want more and there is a noise and it isn’t me. I am not saying anything now, I know I’m not, and I pull away and it’s Caleb, he is making that noise, a broken, almost animal sound, his head thrown back and I can see a pulse beating in his neck. It’s his heart and it is beating and I can make it beat fast and I like that and I move in again.”
Heartbeat was angsty and emotional and, at times, downright uncomfortable to read. Not that I truly fault any of the characters for their actions or the things they said. I feel like the author navigated this tricky subject in a wonderful way. I sympathized with both Emma and Dan. My heart broke for both of them. As painful as the story was at time, it was also hopeful. It was beautifully-written and the characters were complex, and while not always necessarily likable, understandable. I only wanted good things for all of them, especially after all the pain they’d been through. Though I wouldn’t mind checking in on these characters from time, I felt like the story was complete at the end and I was very happy with how it all worked out. If you’re looking for a book to make you feel, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.
“Words can lie but hugs can’t. You know when they are real and this is real and Dan is here and that means he didn’t leave me, that he’s not going to send me away to Mom’s parents or to some boarding school or just kick me out. It means the Dan I knew is here. That I still matter to him.”
This was my first Elizabeth Scott read. It absolutely won’t be my last. I love the honesty and realness of her characters and her writing. I felt like I was part of the story, not just an observer.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley (and Edelweiss!), in exchange for an honest review. All quotes come from the review copy and may differ from the final version.
Posted December 31, 2013
Gut Wrenching Pain, Teen Angst
One teen, one horrific tragedy, a seemingly endless nightmare for her to live every single day. Was Emma’s emotional response, her need to lash out with hatred, her closing in and focusing solely on her own pain, believing that she knew best what her mother’s wishes would have been a realistic view of reality? Yes and no, everyone reacts to their own grief in their own way. Emma’s pregnant mother has been declared brain dead and her step-father has made the decision to keep her mother alive via life support until the baby has reached a viable stage in its development to have a chance at survival. She resents not having a say, she resents having to see the shell of her mother day in and day out, she resents her step father’s “selfishness,” Emma pretty much resents everything, especially the cruel trick life has played on her. Can she grow within and learn to truly see the pain others carry? Will the damaged boy she meets and falls in love with give her the perspective to look beyond herself?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott is not a beautiful tale of love, loss, growth and personal redemption filled with light and love. Ms. Scott has written a dark and gritty story of overwhelming grief in a teen ill-equipped to handle it and unwilling to see the pain others felt around her. This tale has jagged edges, and is not a warm and cozy read, but Ms. Scott does pull the reader in, and spares nothing in building this shattered vision of life, coping or not coping with death and takes the scenario over the top with its intense emotional anguish. If you are looking for a bright and shiny silver lining, a massive transformation at the end for Emma, you will be disappointed, but as far as being a realistic view of the dark side of grief, life and the turmoil of being almost an adult, but not quite, Ms. Scott has nailed an extreme version of it here and in that, there is much to take away from this sobering read.
Did I like Emma? I wanted to like her more than I did, but I could feel her pain and saw the guilt she also felt. Was her wake up call a life-changing epiphany? No, but probably more realistic than I would like to think. Did the author do her job? Definitely, this story has been etched into my mind.
I received an ARC edition from Harlequin Teen in exchange for my honest review.
Posted December 8, 2013
One moment, Emma had the perfect family — her stepfather Dan who doted on her, a mother who understood her like no one else, and a little brother on the way. And then it was gone. The bright high school student who once fretted only over whether her grades would get her into her top-pick of colleges now spends every afternoon talking to the once lively woman who once meant everything to her, now being kept alive only by machines and only long enough to serve as an incubator to her yet-to-be-born brother — a decision Dan made without even consulting her.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Caleb is part troublemaker and part mystery. He’s dabbled in drugs, stolen cars, and been sent to — as he calls it — suck camp. But that’s really all anyone knows about him. He’s not your typical thrill seeker, so the question is, why? Why would a boy who seems to have everything harbor so much anger?
Aside from her best friend Olivia, Emma has no one. Her mother is gone, her stepfather is obsessed only with his unborn son, and any other friends she had before her mother was pronounced brain dead have long since faded into the background. So when she sees a familiar sense profound loss in the face of the resident bad boy, she can’t help but be intrigued.
Heartbeat is not a book you sit down and read. It’s a book you actually feel, each word arranged not just to perfectly describe a situation or emotion, but to absolutely envelope you in it. The simplicity with which the author describes the acute grief of losing someone and the life-altering absence of them is hauntingly accurate.
There’s a loneliness in loss that no one can understand unless they’ve been through it, too, and for a girl still in high school, there aren’t many around her who can relate. Olivia may be Emma’s anchor to both the past and the present, but Caleb is different. While he has no words of wisdom that will lessen the pain she may not ever escape, he sees what others can’t because he’s right there in that forever-changed world with her. The relationship between Caleb and Emma grows out of shared loss and an understanding that only they have, though it’s not immune to the awkwardness and self-conscious second-guessing that teenagers know all too well.
Despite its grim premise, Heartbeat isn’t an angst-filled read; it’s a story of love amongst one of life’s inescapable certainties, with an unlikely savior who is just as in need of saving as Emma is. Their simple understanding and undeniable attraction to each other is so beautifully told that I couldn’t put it down until I’d read it twice over. If ever there was a book that spoke not just to but also from the heart of a teenage girl, this one is it.