Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen; 304 pages
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?
Heartbeat was an emotional book. You can probably guess that by the books description but there was one chapter in particular that really got to me. When two people put their feelings out in the open there's something so vulnerable yet beautiful about it and that chapter was moving to me.
That being said, I had a hard time liking Emma. It took me over half the book to not want to hurt her. I understand she is grieving, she is angry, she is feeling lost and alone - I get that, believe me. Most of us have lost someone close to us and the pain is something you can't get over, ever. I lost my best friend almost 5 years ago and the pain and the emptiness are still there. You can't ever get rid of those feelings but you just need to take a deep breath and move on, push it aside. Getting over that grief is different for each person and I can understand how it's even harder for Emma because even though her mom is gone, she's still being 'kept alive' by machine's so it's not like she's gone. Being able to see her mom every day but never really talk to her mom, I can't imagine how much that would do to a person. So I get it, I do - but her anger and her bitterness is a hard pill to swallow for the reader. So many times I got frustrated with her and really just wanted to slap her and tell her she's looking at everything all wrong. I just really couldn't stand her for the first half but then things started turning around once she started getting close to her town's known bad boy, Caleb Harrison.
Caleb was and is the best thing for Emma and her grieving but do you know what? Emma is the best thing for Caleb, too. He lost his sister a few years ago and he still carries around the loss so heavily and while that's what draws him to her, it's what also helps heal them both. They both know great loss and they both know what it's like living with death so close to your heart. I think that's one of the most beautiful things about this book is their relationship. How he makes her stronger for facing her Step-Father, Dan, and telling him how she feels about what he's done without including her, for facing the fact that she's lost her mom but she's never really gone. She makes him stronger because she may just be the first person to take the time to find out who he is, underneath all his grief, guilt and anger. Their slow build up relationship was just perfect and the best part of this book.
I wanted to love this book, I really did but Emma made that impossible for me. I couldn't get over how much I really hated her for the first half of the book. Thinking about it still makes me want to hit her even though I know her growth, I know the outcome of this book but I can't get over my frustration from her, not for her. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely but just be aware of how frustrating she's going to be. It gets better - it gets much better, but push comes to shove, just throw your book to help release your frustration. It makes you feel much better, I promise.
Thank you so much to Harlequin Teen for allowing me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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