Wednesday 26 March 2014

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

I sit down with my mother. My smile is shaky as I tell her about my day.
‘I think I did okay on my history test,’ I say. ‘Oh, and Olivia wore her new pair of false eyelashes, the ones I told you about. She was batting them around so much that a teacher stopped and asked if she had something caught in her eyes.’
Published by Mira Ink in April 2014
Pages – 368
Does life go on when your heart is broken?
Since her mother’s sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward--because her mother is, in a way, still there. She’s being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her.
Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important--grades, crushes, college plans--Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her--Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma’s own. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has greyed her existence. Is there hope for life after death—and maybe, for love?
This book is the type to play with your emotions and definitely one that will leave you questioning what is right and wrong. Emma has a lot of anger inside her, and for the majority of the book, you can only see the situation from her side. You can’t help but feel her step father is being selfish, even though he comes across as so caring and kind. You are just so wrapped up with what Emma sees and feels to even consider his point of view.  For Emma,  to sit and talk to her dead mother every day, who is only being kept alive as an incubator for her brother, must be unbearable to live with, and the author captures Emma’s thoughts and feelings really well. Emma transforms from a studious child, into one that no longer cares. Even though she is dropping out on life and school, it doesn’t necessarily feel that way – her viewpoint has changed and she can see the bigger picture of life surrounding it.
As the book progresses, you watch Emma learn to cope with the situation better, as she comes to terms with the situation. She realises that she didn’t know her mother as well as she thought she did.
Emma has a strong friendship with Olivia, which stays strong throughout the book, even though situations develop to change the foundations they have set their friendship on. When Caleb enters Emma’s life, Emma begins to open up more. I’m not sure whether their relationship would have stood the test of time, had they not been brought together by the grief of the death of a loved one.
The book  follows Emma through the seven stages of grief and you watch as she deals with each stage before learning to accept the situation and moving on.
This is a powerful story which would be an ideal read for any teenager struggling to deal with personal grief. I really enjoyed the book, even though it did upset me at times. A heart wrenching page turner. I definitely want to read more books by Elizabeth Scott.


  1. I enjoyed this but I also thought Scott missed a great opportunity to discuss the ethical and moral implications of Dan's decision. I felt like something was missing because that
    IDE of the issue wasn't explored.

    1. Do you know, I was so wrapped up in how Emma was feeling, I never even thought about that, but you are so right, Sophie. It would've really changed the dimensions of the story.

  2. I feel like I love the premise and loved the book intellectually, but it kind of fell a little flat for me. I loved how it made me think and question my own views on the subject because I can't imagine what it would be like to be in that situation. I just wish there was more developed characterization because I wasn't connecting as much as I would've liked.


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