Friday 21 March 2014

Heartbeat, Elizabeth Scott

Pages: 257
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 28th January 2014
Edition: US e-proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Bloom, Perfect You, Stealing Heaven, Living Dead Girl, Love You Hate You Miss You, Miracle, The Unwritten Rule, Grace, Between Here and Forever, As I Wake

Life. Death.

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about 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 the 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 her the connection she and Caleb forge. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has greyed her existence. Is there hope for life after death – and maybe, for love?

Although Heartbeat made me feel a lot of things – anger, frustration, sadness, and sometimes, complete apathy – but I have no idea as to whether I enjoyed it a lot.

This book tackled a really tough subject; one that has to be approached with caution and sensitivity. But I don’t really think that Scott touched on it at all. It was more a vehicle for Emma’s anger at her stepdad Dan for making the decision to keep Emma’s mum alive for their unborn baby. It was a way to prolong her grief and give her a connection with Caleb in that way. None of the ethics or the protests or the emotional effects of that decision were discussed in any way and I think she really missed something there. Heartbeat is a really quick and easy read for a subject so controversial and touchy.

I found Emma to be an irritating heroine that I didn’t feel anything for. I understood her anger and her grief and her fear and the need to blame someone, but she was just so selfish. It’s ridiculous but I resent protagonists who have lost a parent and are able to act out, be selfish, through tantrums and just walk out; I have to be a responsible grown-up and put my feelings aside while these characters act like idiots. Her refusal to listen to anyone else or even consider their point of view was infuriating, though admittedly, a part of grief.

All of thatbeing said, it did make me cry. I couldn’t say that that was a result of the characters or the writing, but more my understanding of the situation and feelings on the topic. Dead parents are worryingly prevalent in YA at the moment (or maybe they always have been and I’ve only just noticed), and while Heartbeat had the opportunity to add more to the trope and develop it in ways I haven’t seen yet, I don’t think it did. For me it just perpetuated the idea that because you’re hurting, you’re allowed to be a jerk and I don’t like that at all.

I have thoroughly mixed feelings about Heartbeat and I can never make my mind up about Elizabeth Scott’s writing and novels, as I think is evident from this review! I would be very interested see what you guys think of this novel. Link me below!

Thanks to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for the review copy.


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