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?
Expected publication date: January 28th 2014
Received as a free ARC from NetGalley.
Heartbeat left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the premise is incredibly interesting and opens up questions about ethics and family and all that. And the narration itself is great; it’s lyrical at times, although it does get to be a little much at times. I also really enjoyed the romance aspect of it; even though it sounds kind of stock from the summary, it’s actually much deeper than “girl is having trouble in her life and turns to a bad boy to make herself feel better and maybe takes some stupid risks.” Caleb is hurting, too, and we get to see into his mind a bit when Emma encounters him in the hospital parking lot, ready to steal a car after his mother visited and made him feel bad about himself.
On the other hand, this isn’t a really active story. Things happen, and the plot progresses, but what makes Emma change her mind about crucial things mostly involves her sitting there, thinking and having flashbacks. People don’t really seem to change because of events; for instance, the baby is in trouble because it has an irregular heartbeat, and Emma and her stepfather have a huge, long discussion. It’s supposed to change how they are, but it doesn’t. He goes right back to being dense about the fact that he’s being a terrible person, and Emma goes right back to treating him like crap.
I do have to question the logistics of keeping a body alive for a baby too, though. I’m sure it happens but… you’d think that giving your okay to do it wouldn’t be all that’s involved. I also have to question the lack of “next of kin” mentions, because even though Emma isn’t eighteen yet, if she were the next of kin for her mother instead of Dan, she would’ve had the choice to let her live or not. Just something that’s missing that would’ve made this story a bit deeper than it was, I think.
It’s a quick read, though, so I’d still recommend it for what it is. Happy reading!