Review: Heartbeat


Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
My Rating: 3 Stars

  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?

  Okay, right from the start, I was immediately drawn into the book. Emma’s story definitely had a lot of very negative emotions, which primarily consisted of grief. This grief was over the loss of her mother at the age of seventeen, and I still cannot imagine how she was feeling. She sounded so overwhelmingly lost. In a strange way, though, I found myself being drawn to the negativity. I'd just been a few chapters in and I was already crying. I may not understand what it’s like to lose someone, but somehow I can relate with my loss of some intangible things. Honestly, I was nothing but a ball of negative emotions these past few weeks, and that’s probably why I really felt the connection with Emma. Some of her thoughts made me see a lot of things in another perspective.

  Even though I got annoyed most of the time because Emma was so whiney and she just shut everyone out, I still thought that it was pretty understandable. I mean, give her a break. Her mother just died, and she's being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.  I found myself sympathizing with her, but then things suddenly changed. I thought that she would decide to do something about her problems, but nope, not really. She was indecisive and just kept on complaining without end. She was also very selfish to the point that she didn't even want her baby brother. She kept on blaming Dan, her stepfather, for everything - whatever silly reason she could think of. As I continued to read on, my annoyance towards Emma grew, and by the end of the novel, I was already tired from reading about her thoughts.

  Bad-boy Caleb isn't who people think he isn't. He gets judged and everything, but he's someone totally different. I just love the connection between Emma and Caleb, and I’m glad that Emma was able to find someone she could relate with. Caleb was that someone who could always understand what Emma was going through. They helped each other grow and saw hope in each other again; it was truly beautiful.

  Among all the characters, I love Olivia, Emma’s best friend, and Dan, Emma’s stepfather, the most. Olivia was a very awesome best friend who was always there for Emma, despite not really understanding what Emma was going through. She became the support pillar that connected Emma back to a normal life. I really admire Olivia for staying with Emma even if there were a lot of times that she really felt helpless. Dan was also an amazing stepfather; he was very patient, loving, and understanding with Emma.

  Elizabeth Scott’s writing is truly remarkable. She was able to bring out a lot of emotions, and she just makes you feel like you’re in the novel with the characters. You get to experience the aching feeling of grief and loss even though you really haven’t experienced it before (such as in my case.) The sadness and hurt was really genuine, and it was just leaking out of every single word. Reading Heartbeat made me think, “This is what hurt is like.” However, I didn’t like the character development of Emma. Her change was too abrupt, and I wasn’t even expecting that change to happen at that time. I was suddenly in the state of, ohmygosh, what happened? Emma’s sudden change of attitude didn’t register to me, and I didn’t even know what caused it to happen. Everything happened so fast that it failed to be convincing. It would have been better had she changed gradually, as it would have made her development more genuine.

  Heartbeat is an emotion-filled, heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, beautiful story about death, grief, loss and pain that shows how even the most broken people can be mended once again.

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