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Heartbeat (Harlequin Teen) Hardcover – January 28, 2014


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On an unexpected trip home, Mim Malone learns to confront her own demons along the way. Learn more
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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 (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Customer Reviews

I knew that Emma's anger was really misdirected grief over her mother's death.
Kelli of I'd So Rather Be Reading
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.
Step Into Fiction
Although I liked Heartbeat and the characters a lot, there is one tiny thing that bothered me just a little.
Rosario

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BookGeek on January 28, 2014
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm on February 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Emma's pregnant mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by a machine.

Emma hates life, her step-father and her unborn baby brother.

I liked or loved this book so much more than I was expecting. It was raw, emotional and gritty.

Emma's step-father is good to her. She really has no reason to hate him at all. He takes good care of her and her mother. He wants to continue to keep her mother alive by the machines for the baby's sake and Emma does not. Emma wants it all to end.
She doesn't care about anything anymore, including herself.

What I really loved about this book: It really pulled me into it. Through-out the book, I just wanted to shake Emma and scream at her ..."Can't you see how much he loves you, and loves your mother?!?"...

Like I said...Raw, emotional and gritty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Book Vacation on March 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This novel completely blew my mind. It’s extremely well written and deals with a really tough topic; one I’d never even thought of before. Emma’s mother died while she was pregnant—legally brain dead, she can’t survive without machines. But without these machines, her unborn child doesn’t have a chance at survival. Faced with a difficult decision, Emma’s step-father, Dan, opts to keep his wife on life support in order to give his son a chance, but Emma doesn’t disagrees with his decisions wholeheartedly, believing his choice of a son over her mother means he’s more interested in having a legacy than doing what is right for her brain-dead mother, his wife.

The novel opens exactly 30 days after Emma’s mother died, and our first meeting with Emma takes place in the hospital as she speaks with her mother, a task she adheres to every day alongside Dan, a man she’s steadily grown to hate over the past month. From the start, Emma’s pain is palpable, and I immediately found myself on Emma’s side–why would her step-father, Dan, keep Emma’s mother on a ventilator like that, forcing Emma to go see her deceased mother every day, when all Emma really wants is to be able to put her mother to rest, to gain some closure? Because let’s face it, there’s no closure when you still see the dead day after day.

And then, Dan’s side came out, and while this really isn’t a story about sides at all, the idea that Dan wanted to keep a part of his wife, Emma’s mother, alive, to give his baby a fighting chance, makes sense too. So what do you do in a situation like this? This novel is raw and full of emotion, and I was cut in two as I read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hannah @ Paperback Treasures on March 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I love Elizabeth Scott. Her writing is so versatile - I will read her books no matter what genre, and they will always be good. It's impressive how Elizabeth Scott's writing can adapt to so many different styles, going from emotional to lighthearted and back again. And of course, the writing is what's best about Heartbeat, too - it is absorbing and reads quickly and gives so much heartfelt emotion to this story.

I'm not sure what to make of the characters in Heartbeat. I disagreed with Emma about 90 percent of the time, but I did understand her. The same goes for the secondary characters - there's no one I really identified with or even liked, but Elizabeth Scott always made me understand where they were coming from and even feel for them.

The idea for the family storyline is great. It's a fascinating concept, to think about what decision to make in a situation like this one. Like I said, I didn't agree with Emma, but I didn't agree with her stepdad either; it was hard to try to decide whose side I would be on in a situation like this.

The romance storyline is okay. I didn't love it as much as the family part of the novel, but I did enjoy it. I liked the concept, and I liked getting to know Caleb. But I think the relationship between Caleb and Emma could have used some more depth, more of a connection asides from the grief.

Heartbeat isn't my favorite of Elizabeth Scott's books, but I did really enjoy it. With evocative writing, dynamic characters, and a unique idea, Heartbeat is another solid read from Elizabeth Scott.
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More About the Author

Hey there, I'm Elizabeth. I write young adult novels. I've had a bunch of jobs over the years--I've sold pantyhose, hardware, and once spent three days burning cds during the dot.com boom (worst. job. ever.)--but hands down, writing is the best! You can read lots more about my books at my website, http://www.elizabethwrites.com


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