Summary: 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?
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley
Heartbeat was fantastic. I enjoyed the unique premise, the mix of strong emotions going through Emma, and the way her relationship with Caleb blossomed through grief. I do want to warn people that the novel is extremely depressing throughout most of it. It’s a novel about dealing with grief and loss, along with the nasty rage and frustration that comes with it. It doesn’t try to be funny or quirky about it and the writing reflects Emma’s emotions quite well. It can be a real downer to read if you’re easily swept up by the emotions of a narrator. It was very good and worth the read, but I’d hate to see negative reviews of it due to not being in the right mindset for the book.
I loved the way Emma narrated. While her situation was unlike anything I could even pretend to relate to, I felt like maybe I understood her. I was a teenager when my mom and stepdad were having a baby and I remember the rage I felt about being replaced or swept to the side and Emma felt that way about her stepfather. I understand the way that anger, jealousy, misunderstanding, and stubbornness affects teenagers because I was one and I thought the author did a wonderful job with conveying Emma’s emotions.
I knew Emma’s view was probably warped by her own tunnel vision and perspective, but her view wasn’t farfetched. She wasn’t overreacting so much as forgetting about other perspectives, which I thought was pretty believable. I was captivated by her pain and rage. When she crossed paths with Caleb, they both shared understanding of loss and grief and anger and immediately connected. I loved watching them grow with each other and find solace with each other.
When you go through something that is hard for people to really understand, being understood becomes so important. Finding Caleb was exactly what Emma needed in order to finally put things in perspective. It’s like your brain just relaxes once you find someone who understands you and I think that’s what was so beautiful about the story. It was a kind of down and depressing narration, but it was hauntingly honest and beautiful.
“He looks at me like I am beautiful, and when he does, I am.”