Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: January 28th 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?
Heartbeat was my second book by Elizabeth Scott, and just from these two books it’s easy to see that Scott knows how to deal with Heart breaking family issues in a meaningful way. The story that Scott gives us in Heartbeat was definitely different from the reads I have picked up lately. Emma’s mum was brain dead, one minute she was fine making toast and the next she had collapsed. On top of having to cope with the loss, Emma’s stepdad decides to take it upon himself to make a big decision without consulting Emma. Emma’s mum was expecting and Emma’s stepdad decides he wants to keep her machine keeping her alive on until they can safely get the baby out.
Emma was a strong willed individual, but also one that had a lot of feelings she was holding back; she hated her stepdad for not consulting her and thinking he knew best, she hated how she was always focused on her school work when her mum was around and she couldn’t spare a moment to relax and watch a film with her. How she knew her mum was worried about her pregnancy, but most of all how she didn’t have anyone who could understand what she was feeling. Emma did have her best friend in Olivia, but she didn’t want to burden her with her own problems; but rather would have listened to all the stuff that was happening in her life.
I did really feel for Emma, it was hard having to visit her mum every day, despite her not being there anymore and not having the chance to say goodbye. But at times I did think Emma was a bit too hard on her stepdad. Okay he decided to make a major life decision without consulting Emma first, but Emma’s mum was gone and there was still a life inside waiting to come out which could possibly bring happiness and life to two people who really needed it. And he could be the only last reminder of their mum that they had.
Scott explored the issue of grief extremely well in this story. We got to see just how grief could affect people differently; Emma dealt with her loss, by shutting down one of the most important relationships in her life. But she was able to find someone who had dealt with a lot of grief and who was still actually suffering from it who could understand her and be her pillar of support through this horrible time. And there was Dan Emma’s stepdad, both assumed they knew what Emma’s mum would have wanted, but he was trying to make the best out of the situation that they were left with. Things in Emma’s family were really tough. But in comparison to another family who was completely broken, I’m glad that Emma and Dan found a way to struggle through.
Overall Heartbeat was another flawless and beautifully written story by Scott; she really did a great job in getting beneath the surface with our characters, and brings their feelings to the forefront of the story. Despite Scott writing about such a tough subject, I like how she leaves her stories with the idea that there can always be light at the end of a tunnel.