Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review of Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

 HeartbeatLife. 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?

(Summary from GoodReads)

Heartbeat is a book that immediately intrigued me when I heard about its premise. It’s not something I’ve seen addressed in YA lit yet, but it’s a relevant topic, as evidenced by this article that showed up in my e-mail the day after I finished the book.  Scott’s novel drew me in and was hard to read with its frank discussion of a heavy topic, making it an enjoyable read.

Emma lives with her stepfather, who obviously played a big role in deciding what would happen to the baby.  Their relationship is filled with anger, grief, and loss.  The tone of it felt stagnant at the beginning of the novel, like I was watching Emma express the same emotions over and over again.  While this was mildly frustrating as a reader and may have slowed down the plot, I think it was necessary in order to fully flesh out Emma’s character and complete the story.  Perhaps my criticism sound a bit callous, but I've never experienced a loss the way Emma does here, so it was a little harder for me to connect with her.

I know some readers thought the romance detracted from this story, but I felt the opposite.  Caleb the kind of boy I wish was real, but the role he played in Emma’s life and healing process suited the story so well.  Since I’m discussing side characters, I thought Olivia made for a solid and entertaining BFF to Emma.

I liked the ending of Heartbeat for two reasons.  I thought it was a well-done ending.  However, it also made me respect Scott much more as an author, because of the few books I’ve read by her, it’s the one I enjoyed most.  Heartbeat is a great pick for readers who want a story that deals with loss and controversial topics.

Disclosure: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Other reviews:
Annette's Book Spot
As Told By Rachel 
The Eclectic Reader 


  1. I really enjoyed this book too-I have loved pretty much all of Scott's books but this one seems a little extra special to me and I hope many readers will give this one a shot!

  2. I'm glad you liked the romance, because I did, too. I wrote in my review that I liked how it wasn't one of those romances where they got together and all their problems were solved, but then I was talking to someone else literally the day I wrote my review and they were like I hated how Caleb solved all her problems. It's so interesting how everyone interprets things differently! I also liked Olivia, too, and I rarely like BFFs.

  3. Even though I didn't like the romance, I'm glad you felt it worked because I know that's what brought the story down a little for me. I think I would've liked that all better if Caleb had been in the picture before the story began, rather than this whole relationship forming during the story. It just felt so off for me. I loved everything else about this book, though.



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