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Heart to Heart (Lurlene McDaniel) Hardcover – June 8, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-10–After her best friend, Elowyn, is in a fatal car accident, Kassey finds out that Elowyn registered to be a donor while receiving her new driver's license. Her death brings new life to Arabeth, who has been on the heart-transplant list for years. As Kassey attempts to come to terms with her grief, Arabeth begins to realize that Elowyn may not be completely gone. She finds herself suddenly sharing the same intense passions as the deceased, right down to the same boyfriend and best friend. As she tries to reclaim her life, Kassey and Elowyn's family cling to the hope that she still exists in the heart of this new girl. The concept of cellular memory, where organ recipients retain knowledge, skills, or feelings of the organ's original owner, is fascinating. Unfortunately, McDaniel doesn't fully delve into the details of the concept. Instead, the book focuses on the drama and angst created by the situation, which is still enough to keep some readers interested. Kassey and Arabeth are realistic teens, and even secondary characters are rounded out and interesting. The story, although a bit melodramatic, moves quickly and makes for a satisfying read. Give this to fans of McDaniel's work or anyone who enjoys a good cry.Jessie Spalding, Tempe Public Library, AZ
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Best friends forever, Kassey and Elowyn met in seventh grade, and not even high-school boyfriend relationships can shake their bond. When Elowyn is killed in a senseless car accident, her loved ones are left with their grief. But Elowyn’s transplanted heart renews the life of Arabeth, whose newfound health also brings some sudden and uncanny parallels in behavior and expressions with her donor. Is part of Elowyn’s personality now embedded in Arabeth? The prospect of the “cellular memory” phenomenon crops up, and the eerie connections between Elowyn and Arabeth tantalize Elowyn’s parents, Kassey, and others. As Arabeth struggles with identity and healing, the role she now plays in the lives of the bereaved—especially Elowyn’s mother—threatens to overwhelm her. Reason eventually triumphs, and life takes a hopeful turn in McDaniel’s wrenching page-turner that is sure to please fans. Grades 7-10. --Anne OMalley

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Series: Lurlene McDaniel
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385734603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385734608
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 1 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am...floored. Strange way to begin a review, I suppose, but I've always prided myself on honesty and that's the most truthful statement I can think of. This is one of the most tragic, and hopeful, stories I've ever read. In fact, the book, itself, is tiny - like a book of poetry written years ago that's been unearthed to share its' poignancy with the masses. This work of "art" certainly proves that enormously wonderful things come in extremely small packages.

We begin with Kassey. Kassey is a teenage girl who is doing fairly well in the world. She has a great mom who works extremely hard to provide for their small family; her dad disappeared when she was only three, choosing a life of drugs instead of fatherhood. But even with his departure, Kassey and her mom have a good life. In the summer right before starting seventh grade, Kassey is hospitalized for a sports injury. In the bed beside her is a young girl named Elowyn - who's also in for some bone "repairs." They strike up a friendship in that hospital room. Kassey loves Elowyn almost immediately. She's funny, a little brash, and has just moved to Georgia and lives down the road from Kassey's house.

Elowyn's parents are what you'd find in a "perfect" family television show. Mom is artsy and loves to bake and decorate; Dad is the perfect father who loves his little Sugar Plum. And Elowyn loves everything French. Her bedroom is decorated in French landscapes; her room smells like lavender, which is her favorite scent; and, her life is great...now that she has a best friend in Kassey. These two girls do almost everything together; Kassey even goes on family vacations with Elowyn and her folks. When Elowyn finds her "perfect boyfriend," however, things go a little south.
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Format: Hardcover
Elowyn and Kassey become best friends when they are both in the hospital recovering from broken bones. Soon they are inseparable, with Kassey even going on family vacations with Elowyn; Kassey becomes like a second daughter for Elowyn's parents. It's been ages since Kassey has experienced a father figure, as her dad left when she was a baby. Even when Elowyn starts dating Wyatt, and Kassey feels a bit forgotten and left out, their friendship continues. Kassey even becomes the peacekeeper when Elowyn and Wyatt argue. And when Elowyn turns 16 and gets a car for her birthday, she gives the spare key to Kassey. But then comes the accident.

No one will ever know exactly what happened that night. Elowyn storms out to her car on a rainy night after an argument with Wyatt. The car swerves off the road and hits a tree. Kassey rushes to the hospital to find that Elowyn is in a coma and attached to life support machines. After days of aching worry and devastating news from the doctors that Elowyn is brain dead, her parents make the impossible decision to take her off life support and say goodbye. And since Elowyn had marked the donor box on her driver's license, they follow her wishes and donate her organs so that others may live.

Arabeth receives the call that she and her mom have been waiting for --- she's getting a donor heart. She has had a hard life, having been sick for most of it, and then losing her father in the war. But getting the new heart gives her the chance at life. And after a year with the new heart, she finally decides to meet her donor's parents and best friend. Kassey feels strange meeting Arabeth, especially after noticing some unexplainable similarities between Arabeth and Elowyn. Could a part of Elowyn, a part other than her heart, still be alive in Arabeth?
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Format: Hardcover
Lurlene McDaniel's newest novel explores the idea of cellular memory as experienced by some transplant patients.

Kassey and Elowyn are best friends. They have grown up together playing on the same teams, having sleepovers, and even vacationing together. They can finish each others' thoughts and sentences. They are almost inseparable - until the night Elowyn runs off the road and hits a tree.

A traumatic brain injury puts Elowyn in a coma and leaves her parents with the difficult decision of honoring her request to be an organ donor. Her family and friends are devastated, but their tragedy is the answer to Arabeth's prayers.

Arabeth has suffered with a crippling heart condition for years. She and her mother have supported each other through the death of Arabeth's father in Afghanistan, and now Arabeth is struggling to hang on as she waits for a heart transplant. Elowyn's accident provides that heart, and Arabeth and her mother will be eternally grateful.

Almost immediately after the transplant, Arabeth begins having unexplainable experiences. She suspects it might be associated with receiving the heart of another young teen, but she is hesitant to share her thoughts until she meets two of Elowyn's good friends, Kassey and Wyatt. The feelings and sensations are rather unsettling, and cause emotional stress that could threaten Arabeth's peace of mind about surviving with the heart of another.

Lurlene McDaniel fans will be thrilled with HEART TO HEART. It examines life, love, and loss from several perspectives. It's a sure success for those looking for an emotionally stirring read.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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