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Friday, January 24, 2014

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Release Date - January 28, 2014

Elizabeth Scott
Harlequin Teen

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Heartbeat seems like a story ripped from the headlines. It's powerful, emotional, and, even though I'm looking at the situation from an adult point of view, made me sympathize with each character.

Emma had it all. She was a straight A student with dreams of college. She loved her mom and new stepfather, and she also was looking excitedly to the arrival of her baby brother. When her mom suffers a stroke and dies, Emma's world shatters. It's worsened when her stepfather decides to keep her mother "alive" on machines until the fetus is developed enough to survive.

Now, Emma is at odds with her stepfather. She hates him for thinking only of his son and not Emma's mother's feelings. It's during one of her routine trips to the hospital to sit with her mother's body that Emma meets Caleb, a classmate who is always in trouble for stealing cars. Caleb is performing his community service at the hospital, and he and Emma click. They have a bond that no one can match, and both Emma and Caleb may be exactly what they need to heal from the grief and anger they face.

Every year, I create an author's to watch list and Elizabeth Scott kicks off this year's list. This story had me teary eyed from the start. I could feel every piece of Emma's pain, though I also understood exactly where her stepfather was coming from, so that made it hard to find fault with either of them. Caleb, I can't get into how painfully sorry I was for that boy. Elizabeth Scott did such a great job creating his family dynamics that I wanted to climb into the book to give him a hug.

As stated earlier, I said this story had the feeling of being ripped from the headlines. For any reader who hasn't been following this story, there is currently a case in Texas where machines are keeping a brain-dead woman alive until her fetus is old enough for delivery. It's another really sad case that you might want to read.

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