Author: Elizabeth Scott.
Publication Date: January 28th, 2014.
Publisher: Harlequin Teen.
Format: Paperback, 304 pages.
Source: ARC Provided By Publisher.
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?
I have to say that I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading Heartbeat. I’d read so many different reviews and heard so many different opinions about it; people seemed to either really love it or they hated it, so I was eager to find out what side of the fence I would fall on. Whilst reading Heartbeat I was teetering on the edge of really enjoying the book and wanting to flush it down the toilet – and by the end, I think I pretty much fell smack down in the middle of both emotions. Heartbeat was far from a fantastic novel, with confusing dialog at times and text that seemed to veer vastly away from the subject it was focused on. However, it was also a very emotional and quite heart-wrenching and beautiful story in its own weird and kind of quirky way.
Emma is our main protagonist, and although I didn’t hate her character – I wasn’t particularly fond of her either. For about 90% of Heartbeat, Emma was a complete and utter bitch to her step-father. I understand that the situation was a delicate and conflicting one, but some of the things she said to Dan were just plain spiteful. However, in the times that Emma acted like a regular human being, mostly when she was around Caleb, Emma turned out to be a really sweet and interesting character. My feelings for her are pretty conflicted, but she was going through a loss that has completely turned her world upside down. By the end of the novel though, Emma’s character turned into someone completely different, not the selfish cow she’d be acting like, nor the focused and grade-a-student she was before, but someone who’d been whole all that grief, but had came out the other end stronger. And I’m pretty sure that’s one of the morals of Heartbeat’s story.
Caleb is the love interest in Heartbeat, and I really loved his character. Everyone knows I love a good bad boy character, and Caleb fits the bill quite nicely. It’s always great to read about a guy trying to live with his choices and situations. Underneath the ex-drug user and grand-theft-auto, there is this amazing character – with a beautiful personality that Emma helps bring to the surface. Emma and Caleb were drawn to each other, like magnets, having so much pain, anger and loss in common that they just seemed to fit together and I loved their relationship. It wasn’t insta-love, they weren’t destined to be together from the start, something just happened in Emma’s life, and her whole being changed, she became a completely different person – and was drawn to someone she’d never considered an option beforehand. Caleb and Emma balanced each other out, saw beneath the lies and the pain and the tears and the anger, and found each other and I thought it was really beautiful.
Overall, I really did enjoy reading Heartbeat, but there were too many flaws for it to gain more than the 3.5 star rating I gave it. It seemed like it took me forever to finish reading this novel, and I just wasn’t as invested in the storyline as I hoped I would be. Heartbeat had the potential to be an incredible novel, but was let down by a writing style that was all over the place and the utter spitefulness of our main character, Emma. Writing this review has been pretty confusing, and to be perfectly honest, my opinions about this book vary from hating it, to crying at some of the scenes. Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Heartbeat, I still want to read more from Elizabeth Scott in the future. Who knows, maybe with a different storyline and different characters Elizabeth’s writing will thrive – I certainly hope so!
When someone you love...when they die, you want it undone. You'd do anything to have them back, and it's easy to believe that if only this had happened or that had happened, everything would be fine. And that's what makes you angry. What makes you hate. You don't want to believe that sometimes bad things happen just because they do.
I see what grief does, how it strips you bare, shows you all the things you don't want to know. That loss doesn't end, that there isn't a moment where you are done, when you can neatly put it away and move on.
We just look at each other, and I don't care that he's gorgeous and screwed up. I care that he really gets what's going on. Sees it. Sees me.