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?” ~Goodreads
*Heartbeat will be released on January, 28, 2014*
This was a quick read, maybe a few hours but the emotional impact was huge.
I can’t even imagine what Emma or Caleb went through but I feel that the emotions and behaviors these two displayed were not over the top. Yes, at times I wanted to shake Emma and tell her to get a grip and be nicer to her stepfather Dan, but then I realized that this was all happening only a month after the tragic incident with her mother.
I have lost loved ones but not immediate family. Yes, my grandparents are no longer living but they all passed at an age where they had the opportunity to be a grandparent, were given the chance to have many experiences and lived long lives. But I can tell you that when you lose someone way before their “time”, it never goes away.
And back to the topic of how Emma and Caleb reacted to losing their loved ones. I saw some awful comments on review sites about the way they handled it like “get over it”, “Emma was such a (insert choice word here)”, “what a bunch of whiners”. Really? I found that Elizabeth Scott bravely wrote an honest depiction of people who don’t act perfect, get in touch with their feelings, go to therapy and put on a happy face. They are devastated and stuck in that devastation. So much so, that everything around them is just “stuff”. A distraction from their grief. But not enough to distract them especially in those quiet moments.
“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. It never leaves you.”
In the beginning of the year I posted somewhat of a resolution list and mentioned how I was going to try and “map out my life” (from The Theory of Opposites) instead of just letting things happen. But then I was quickly reminded to really appreciate every moment and stop making plans (or maybe find a balance) when I read this beautiful quote:
“Under the idea that we can all make our fates, that we have choices, is the reminder that sometimes we don’t. That sometimes life is bigger than our plans. Bigger than us…Sometimes you want things that can’t happen. That won’t happen. And it’s just how things are.”
and this one:
“That’s another thing about life I’ve learned. The people that need to see things clearly the most tend to miss life, believe they are living it when they are only letting it pass by.”
How profound. And that’s why I really liked this book. I have never read anything by Elizabeth Scott but have heard great things about her being a strong voice for YA novels. The entire book felt like teenagers talking. No big words that made them sound ahead of their time or better than everyone. This book could easily help someone during those teen years to get through something difficult or even be a place where they are understood. I’m not a teen and found poignant, memorable advice from this story. Elizabeth Scott is an author I will now add to my TBR pile. Not as a YA author, but as an author who writes honest, touching and heartfelt stories.
*Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for this advance reader’s copy. I was not required to review this book nor was I compensated.