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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Heartbeat (Harlequin Teen) Hardcover – January 28, 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—Seventeen-year-old Emma nearly had it all. Her grades were fantastic. She got along well with her mother, and she loved her stepdad, Dan. She was even excited about her mom's pregnancy. All that changed in the amount of time it took to toast a piece of bread. Now Emma's mom lies in a hospital, brain-dead and being kept physically alive until the baby is able to be born. Dan insists this is what his wife would want, but Emma is sure her mother would never want to be hooked up to machines. Her grades plummet and grief threatens to consume her when she suddenly finds herself drawn to bad boy, Caleb, whose parents still blame him for his little sister's death years before. Scott delivers an intriguing novel with a "straight from the headlines" feel. Unfortunately, a few problems detract from the overall success of the story. Caleb's parents are one-dimensional and seem to exist solely as a backdrop for his bad-boy persona while Emma's change of heart comes so quickly and completely that it lacks emotional punch. Still, the deeper themes explored in this novel offer good fodder for discussion.—Heather Webb, Worthington Libraries, OH

From Booklist

Scott’s newest offering demonstrates once again her ability to weave a poignant and thought-provoking tale that expertly blends its dark subject matter with the lighter tones of an optimistic romance story. Seventeen-year-old Emma is seized by paralyzing grief after her pregnant mother suffers a fatal embolism. As if that wasn’t enough, she must bear witness to her stepfather’s unusual and controversial decision to keep Emma’s brain-dead mother alive on machines in order to save the baby. Emma steadfastly opposes her stepfather’s decision and is alone in her conflicted sorrow until she meets troubled and misunderstood Caleb. The plot veers into contrivance in a few places, but Emma’s voice is consistently strong, and Scott’s gripping story provides an authentic representation of the painful path toward acceptance and healing. A haunting, hopeful novel that will leave readers pondering the unusual and complex issues it raises. Grades 9-12. --Kathryn Schleff

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Product Details

  • Series: Harlequin Teen
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen (January 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210961
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Emma’s life was destroyed when her pregnant mother reached for toast and fell into a coma. More than a coma, Emma’s mom is brain dead. Gone and absent from a body that no longer has a soul, but still has a functioning heartbeat. Why is Emma’s mom kept alive by tubes, machines and nurses that turn her body over to prevent bed sores? The baby growing inside her.

This is an extremely tense and controversial subject. Especially, to Emma. She hates seeing her mother’s empty body and hates that she had no say in the matter. She is unable to imagine a life with a baby brother who will never know their mother and who forced Emma to see their mom’s body empty for at least 30 more days. It’s intense, because what Emma’s stepfather, Dan, decides is probably the most obvious thing. The mother may be basically dead, but if keeping her heart beating will keep their son alive, shouldn’t he do it? I think so, but that doesn’t make the choice anymore heart wrenching for the people who have to live with the aftermath of the choice.

Emma spends a lot of this book torn between rage and soul crushing grief. Grief, because her mother is dead and rage, because seeing her in a hospital everyday makes moving on and letting go impossible.

Truth time, I cried constantly during this book. I couldn’t help myself. I just cried so much, because the writing is so beautiful and the emotions so authentic. It was almost like reading a teenage girl’s diary. I couldn’t imagine having to live with the loss and anger that this character deals with every day. She is torn up inside and cannot even look at her stepfather and has nowhere to focus her feelings. She gives up on school even though she was on track to be valedictorian. She gives up on friends, except for her loyal bff Olivia.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A heartbeat is the only thing keeping Emma's mom alive. She's brain dead with no chance of recovery. She's only being kept "alive" to support the life of the infant growing within her. This was Dan, Emma's stepdad's decision, and Emma is beyond angry at him and the rest of the world for this. She just wants to talk to her mother. She knows her mom could help her sort out her emotions, but that's never going to happen. Then she notices Caleb Harrison. He's the town bad boy and the old Emma never would have cared. The new Emma notices something familiar in his eyes, a grief that no one else seems to understand. And being with Caleb makes her feel alive again, finally. She doesn't spend every second with him consumed by the longing to discuss her issues with her mom again. As they days tick by and the countdown to her dead mother's c-section continues, Emma has some hard decisions to make and some terrible realities to come to terms with. Can she make the best of it or will she continue on her downward spiral?

I don't know that I could handle Emma's situation as well as she does. She is incredibly close to her mom and her step-dad and then her mom dies and suddenly all Dan (her step-dad) cares about is his unborn child. Emma is no longer a consideration where her baby brother is concerned and her opinion is unwanted and unnecessary. And she's forced to go and see her dead mother every single day. Every day she has to look at her dead mother's corpse as she incubates a tiny life inside her. A life that Emma can't help but resent. This little thing is responsible for her mother's death. Her mother was a high risk pregnancy because of her age. Her mother only got pregnant again because Dan wanted a baby and it killed her. So how is she taking it? Not well, as you can imagine.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
“I feel special. I feel like there is the world, and then there is Caleb and me. Just us, a broken little party of two but it isn’t so bad, being broken. Not with someone who understands. Not with him.”


Elizabeth Scott has once again written a beautiful story. Without saying too much, without spoiling a thing, I will simply say this about “Heartbeat”:

If you have ever lost someone you loved, you should read this book. If you have ever been scared and alone, you should read this book. If you have ever felt as though your life was suddenly meaningless, your heart permanently broken, that nothing could ever be normal again, you should read this book. If you have never felt any of these things, you NEED to read this book. Because by the time you finish it, you’ll have experienced a glimpse of all of these things – enough to make you familiar with them, even if you’ll never fully understand them. But you won’t be left with sadness. You’ll be filled with hope. Because you’ll learn, right alongside main character Emma, that life is worth living – worth getting through all the bad stuff and learning how to cherish the good stuff. That life goes on.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Grade: D

Emma's mother, Lisa, just died, but thanks to her stepfather, Dan, her Mom's body is being kept alive by machines as an incubator for the fetus she's carrying. Emma's mad. More than mad she's full of rage at her Dan, but beneath all that anger she's drowning in a sadness not even her best friend can understand. During a daily visit to her mother, Emma encounters Caleb, a classmate with a troubled reputation, who understands her feelings like no one else.

Emma was a character easy to understand but hard to like. She directed her anger toward Dan with abusive words and a myopic lack of empathy that felt more like the reactions of a twelve, not a seventeen-year-old. HEARTBEAT made me angry, because Lisa was treated like an incubator and I would never want to see anyone I love used in that way, unless she specified in writing those were her wishes. I would be so angry I'd want to pull the plug and set my mother free, so I rooted for Emma, even when she was difficult to like. I truly empathized with Caleb, especially after seeing how they treated him. A lot of the characters and complex situations in the book were black and white and handled with a simplicity not found in real life.

Elizabeth Scott chose to tell the story of HEARTBEAT without delving into the debate of the morals and ethics of using a woman as an incubator, then withdrawing life support once the fetus is delivered. She also never touched on the debate of bringing a 25 week fetus into the world with all the costs and likely life-long complications if that baby lives. She never mentioned what "group" was paying for Lisa's hospital bills, but I can bet it was a group filled with controversy. I can't help but to wonder if Scott had an agenda in portraying much of the story and the very predictable ending. I know that my review is biased, so I gave an extra star for good writing.
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