Change of Heart
  • Alternative view 1 of Change of Heart
  • Alternative view 2 of Change of Heart

Change of Heart

4.4 13
by Shari Maurer

See All Formats & Editions

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, popular varsity soccer star Emmi gets the worst possible news—she's had myocarditis that's destroyed her heart, putting her into congestive heart failure. Now she can barely walk across a room without stopping to rest. Without a heart transplant, she'll die in a matter of months. It's only her growing friendship with Abe,


Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, popular varsity soccer star Emmi gets the worst possible news—she's had myocarditis that's destroyed her heart, putting her into congestive heart failure. Now she can barely walk across a room without stopping to rest. Without a heart transplant, she'll die in a matter of months. It's only her growing friendship with Abe, the funny, smart teen she meets in the cardiac clinic, that cheers her up. But difficult questions race through her mind while she waits: Will she get a heart in time? Will she even survive the surgery? What if her body rejects the heart? When tragedy strikes close to home, Emmi must rely even more on her inner strength in order to carry on.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
Emmi is a valuable member of her soccer team, ready to make a big impression on the college scouts. When she starts feeling ill at a soccer tournament, she has no idea how serious it is or how much her life is about to change. Suddenly, she's suffering from congestive heart failure and waiting for a heart transplant that could save her life. While her close friends stand by her, she's unable to go to school or keep up much of a social life because of exhaustion and the risk of germs. At first, it doesn't seem to bother her new boyfriend, Sam, but the stress of the wait plus normal relationship complications take their toll. While the story revolves around a specific problem that not many have to deal with, Emmi faces challenges of school, sex, friends, and family that will feel familiar to many readers. At times, this reads as a problem novel instead of more generally appealing young adult literature, but the genuine characters and the rest of the storytelling will engage readers who have no connection to cardiac disease. Though Emmi's strained relationship with her mother at the beginning of the book is not clearly explained, the family dynamics are realistic and positive throughout her struggle. Maurer uses one girl's trial with an extraordinary circumstance to reflect on the important things in life for all of us. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
VOYA - Deborah Dubois
When you are sixteen, you think you will live forever. Emmi has the worries of a typical teen, about winning the next soccer game or what to wear to school, until she gets a virus that goes to her heart and puts her into congestive heart failure—without a heart transplant she will die. While she waits for a transplant, her worries are very different: Will a new heart come in time? Will she survive the surgery? Will she ever have a normal life again? Emmi becomes isolated and laments the unfairness of it all. The former star of the soccer team, she is now too tired and sick even to go to school. Sam is there for her and makes her feel special; her best friend, Becca, cheers her up and keeps her up-to-date on events at school; but Abe, who has had a transplant, seems to be the only one who truly understands what she is going through. Emmi's feelings are like a roller coaster, and she struggles to stay on track. Written in the first person, Change of Heart gives insight into what it's like going through such a scary experience. In addition, Emmi is dealing with new love, loss of a good friend, and her own mortality. Itis a gripping story that will make readers examine priorities and think about what really matters. Through it all, Emmi grows tremendously and emerges a stronger person, with the knowledge of what is really important in life. Reviewer: Deborah Dubois
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This unimaginative debut novel about a teen heart-transplant patient leaves much to be desired. There is entirely too much telling and not enough showing. Emmi, the somewhat unlikable protagonist, is a star soccer player who develops viral myocarditis and has only months to live. At the same time, she becomes involved in her first romance with classmate Sam. The denouement occurs after a hospital visit when Sam and Becca, Emmi's best friend, begin to act strangely. Come to find out, they slept together in a drunken moment of concern for Emmi. (Really?) In the meantime, Emmi has been falling for a fellow transplant patient, and she suddenly realizes that it is Abe whom she loves, not Sam. There is no development of her feelings aside from friendship; she just has a "moment" of realization. Unfortunately, Abe takes a turn for the worse and dies. The exposition of the facts about heart transplants is a little clumsy, and not that much is explained other than that there is a lot of waiting and medication, and that the steroids make one's face swell. Altogether uninspired, this book is unlikely to draw in even hard-core "dying girl romance" fans.—Robin Henry, Wakeland High School, Frisco, TX
Booklist - Shelle Rosenfeld
“...Emmi is an authentically drawn protagonist. Her intimate, lively, first-person narrative...details the physical and emotional effects of her heart disease...Readers will find Emmi and her experiences absorbing.”

Product Details

Westside Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
HL710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Shari Maurer did her undergraduate work at Duke University, studying English and Film and Video. In graduate school at NYU, she realized that while her Dramatic Writing classmates were all writing serious plays, movies or sitcoms, she kept drifting toward "After School Specials" and she decided to do her internship at the Children's Television Workshop. She wound up staying there for six years, working on Sesame Street productions around the world.
After her daughter was born with a heart defect, Shari got together with a friend to write The Parents' Guide to Children's Congenital Heart Defects which was published by Random House's Three River Press and named one of Booklist's "Top Health Books of 2001."
Shari segued into teen fiction with her novel, Change of Heart, about a 16 year old soccer player who needs a heart transplant. Both of these books were made easier to write because Shari's husband, Mat, who she met in summer camp when they were 17, is a cardiologist.
In addition to writing young adult novels, Shari spent two years as the "Moms Talk" columnist at the New City Patch, an on-line local newspaper. She got her inspiration for the column, as well as for her books, from her three teenagers, Lissie, Josh and Eric and started the newest chapter in her life when she became the mom of a college student.

Shari can be found on the web at

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Change of Heart 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
babycat More than 1 year ago
If your searching for a good "real life" drama then this book is for you. Shari Maurer captured the emotional turmoil of a teenager undergoing a health crisis beautifully. I've never gotten so emotionally invested with a character before, but that all change once I read Change of Heart. I found myself yelling at the characters in the story. Something I seldom find myself doing these days. One time I actually threw the book across the room. This might give you the wrong impression, but her rendering of Emmi's struggle felt so realistic that my own heart was breaking. Maurer created a touching story that will leave it's mark on your heart. I would definitely recommend this book in a heartbeat!
A_Good_Addiction More than 1 year ago
A refreshing and new premise for YA but a tragically real situation for some, Change of Heart throws into question the value of life as a teenager. The natural mindset is invincibility but what happens when a teen goes from running across a soccer field to being high on a heart transplant list less than a month later? Though there have been other heart transplant books, this one is unique both in premise and execution. Emmi is a well balanced character at the start, having some teenage moments but overall, motivated and determined. Her relationship with her parents is good more often than not and her love of soccer apparent. She is a strong athlete, a good friend, and has a bright future. But when she falls sick and the infection infiltrates her heart, things change. Her reactions, though irritating on the surface with her fits and tantrums, is understandable and heartbreaking. Her struggle to comprehend what is happening and her resistance to both the prospect of death and a long rather than short recovery lend reason to her responses. Each time she lashes out, it is clear she is lashing out at the situation more than the person. Throughout the entire book, she grows tremendously as a result of the dire situation she has faced. While some aspects take longer than others, Emmi comes to face things in her own time and manner. Even after her transplant, when her friends and boyfriend don't often come, Emmi is able to understand their side of it- no matter how much it hurts her. Sam is a loveable character to start, spending time with Emmi and distracting her from her current state. Though driven by hormones at times, the way he cares for Emmi is clear. He also adds an intriguing element to the story because although he does care for Emmi and fell for her after she became so ill, he is still a teenage boy who is now having to potentially face death on account of her. Maurer does a splendid job painting him across the pages, giving reason to his actions in the same way she does Emmi. Though it isn't necessarily the best, the reader can understand his motivations. Abe adds another element, a teenage boy who has already had a heart transplant. He offers something to Emmi no one else can and is a highly likable, swoon worthy character. He's easy going and laid back, and fully appreciative of his life. He understands Emmi's fears and pain and adds plenty of comedic relief once he makes his first appearance. Though Emmi had been dating Sam, after her transplant and his sudden distance, she finds herself paying more attention to Abe. The teenage love triangle aspect of this book makes it a steady read, still keeping a young spark in a rough situation with no promise of final mortality. As the plot progresses, it shifts between sickness and potential death and teenage love and feeling. Maurer blends and transitions amidst them seamlessly, keeping the pacing and flow smooth. Her writing is strong and compassionate, bringing Emmi to life. Some of the events and decisions are shocking and ones people could at first disagree with, the situation and personal realizations Emmi has come to help drive them. This book is a very perfect example of situational decisions, and the way her entire outlook and way of thinking changes comes across boldly.
BethFehlbaum More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I read it in one day, unable to put it down for very long. Emmi is imperfect, moody, and a very typical 16 year old girl--that's what I enjoyed about her the most. What's atypical about Emmi's life is the situation she finds herself in: a virus has damaged her heart to the extent that she needs a heart transplant. She goes through a spectrum of emotions that I would think are normal for an organ transplant patient to experience. It is clear that Shari Maurer has enough respect for her readers to allow for life's messiness to intrude-- and I found myself rooting for there to be a happier-ever-after ending. I won't tell you what happens; you'll have to read for yourself. I predict that you're going to love CHANGE OF HEART, too! Beth Fehlbaum, author Courage in Patience
EllzReadz More than 1 year ago
My thoughts...Change Of Heart is an incredibly heart wrenching story that will entice readers of all ages. I think many of us are afraid of something, spiders, heights, deep water, the usual stuff. I think all of us, deep down are afraid of illness. Our body suddenly shutting down, failing us, leaving us helpless and weak. I am. The main character, Emmi, is a seemingly healthy teenager. She is smart, pretty, athletic, then the unthinkable happens and her heart gives out. Just thinking about the scenario weaves tendrils of fear through my mind. What would you do? Shari Maurer does a brilliant job of taking the reader through this emotional journey with Emmi, her friends, and family. I found my self laughing one minute and on the brink of tears the next. The story felt well researched and I could imagine the pain and frustration the characters dealt with daily. I also thought the story sent a message to readers about life. My interpretation left me with a reminder of how precious each day of our lives is and not to take anything, especially your health for granted.
JS53 More than 1 year ago
This is a very well-written and touching novel. I really enjoyed it!
Burg More than 1 year ago
Shari Maurer really knows how to draw the most dramatic feelings out of her readers. I was a mess while reading this book and was just so sad, I left feeling the same way. The main character Emmi really got to me (so did just about everything else) and I connected with her right away. I was instantly protective of her and each time she hit another obstacle I felt like it was a personal attack or something. I was way too invested in this story at times, like I said, this book had me super emotional. Readers will see Emmi's life turned upside down with her new heart condition and it's a terrible thing to even think about. She was dealing with so much and I felt like for a lot of it she was on her own. Maurer gives us a great character addition in Abe and I fell in love. He was able to understand Emmi when not many others could and he's hard to resist. Maurer also introduces us to Sam and Becca and honestly I'll let you make your own decisions about them. Apparently my dance card was all filled up because Emmi and Abe were all I cared about in this one. Now as much as I enjoyed Maurer's writing, her ending did not sit well with me. I can understand why she wrote it the way she wrote it, but come on! I was not happy, but that's the way it goes sometimes I guess. All in all I am really glad I got the chance to pick this one up and I can't wait to read more of Maurer's work. I've got my tissues on hand and I'm ready for more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kittydanza More than 1 year ago
CHANGE OF HEART, by Shari Maurer, is a story of one teenage girl fighting against a life-threatening virus and trying to hold onto some semblance of her life. Maurer created a strong, successful high school athlete and then stripped away everything that Emmi thought was important, giving her a critical eye of everything around her. In the face of death, Emmi got a second chance at life. I enjoyed this book right from the start. Emmi was a star soccer player with endless opportunities in front of her. In addition to bright college prospects, she was starting to date a dreamy baseball boy. But everything changed when the virus took over her body and heart. She was taken out of school and soon she was drifting away from everything she thought was important. She was out of the loop socially and this was a constant concern for her. While her friends tried to keep up with Emmi's problems, at that age most can't comprehend the struggle and soon Emmi found herself a new friend who previously had a heart transplant, Abe. Maurer created many fantastic relationships between her characters. She really captured life at that age and the stupid problems that high schoolers face, which they think make or break a person. I found myself being very protective of Emmi. I wanted to still see her succeed, but the people who were most important to her made the situation more about them than her. I suppose that is typical of teens her age, unable to deal with issues that really matter. She was a strong character to begin with so that did not change much, but her outlook on life opened her eyes to more than her original focus previous to the illness. Maurer did not make anything easy on Emmi, and I did find myself bleary-eyed and angry at some points because of the hardships she had to overcome. I liked the Sam-Emmi-Abe dynamic because I felt this was a triangle that had no right or wrong side. Sam is what Emmi always wanted, but Abe became the friend that Emmi needed after her life was flipped upside down. I had a difficult time (even after reading) deciding who she should be with, and I think Maurer ended that aspect of the book perfectly. Overall, this book had a some great messages. Live life to the fullest, do everything you can while you are healthy and young so there are no regrets. Learn what is important in life, and fall in love (as much as you can).
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Originally Posted at:*****Imagine being sixteen years old and having everything going for you - friends, school, sports - and then suddenly it all changes in the blink of an eye. This is what happened to Emmi when she discovered that she had a severe heart condition and would have to have a heart transplant. Growing up, I loved reading books by Lurlene McDaniel about teenagers who had terminal illnesses and this book reminded me so much of her books. I immediately fell right into the story and was engaged by it. The plot flowed nicely and kept my attention. I will say it was a little predictable, but that's not always bad. I really liked the characters - for the most part. I felt like Emmi was such a real character. She loved sports and had great close friends. The only thing that shocked me was the way that she talked to her mother (although I know I used to speak horribly to mine when I was a teenager too). I loved her best friend, Becca, and her boyfriend Sam for most of the story until close to the end when something scandalous happens. I wasn't fond of that part of the story and I feel like it got back to "happy" a little too quickly. And I really liked Abe, the teen guy that Emmi meets who had previously had a heart transplant. They all felt real and normal and like any teen you would see in life. This story definitely brings to life the importance of organ donation. It's heartwarming and sad and I would definitely recommend that you have tissues nearby while you read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago