Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Published by Harlequin Teen
Review copy provided by the publisher
Elizabeth Scott has a talent for writing YA books that deal with tough subjects in a delicate way, personalizing tragedies and showing them to the reader through the lens of a teenager.
Heartbeat is no different – in this novel we meet Emma, who is suffering from the recent loss of her mother. But her mother is not deceased, rather she’s being kept alive by machines after a tragic accident as she’s pregnant with Emma’s half-brother. Emma’s stepfather doesn’t care that her mother would never have wanted to be kept alive while brain-dead, he only cares about his son growing inside Emma’s mom. When she is at her most desperate and has no one to talk to, Emma meets bad-boy Caleb – a guy she never would have looked twice at before, but now that her life has been completely turned upside down, he might just be the person who can help her see through her grief and open her heart to the possibilities of life and love.
This book is full of heart-wrenching, grief-drenched moments that will take your breath away, but also soft and tender moments that will show you the meaning of true love and reconciliation between people at odds over the most fundamental of ideas. This is what Elizabeth Scott does so brilliantly and what I love so much about her books – this awful tragedy, this devastating situation that Emma is in, is something that’s been in the news and that real people have gone through, and she makes it so personal, so realistic. I felt that Emma was a real teenager, her struggles felt so true to me. Her stepfather, too, broke my heart – he was just trying to do the best he could for his family and truly was doing what he felt his wife would have wanted.
Of course we don’t know what Emma’s mother would have wanted – she’s not around to tell her side of the story. So we have to look at it from Emma’s point of view, and from her stepfather’s, and come to a conclusion that they are both right. They both want what’s best for this woman they love so much, this baby they hope might be born alive, and for their fledgling family they are struggling to hold onto.
And the relationship between Emma and Caleb was a perfect addition to this already beautiful novel. He made her see another side of things, another way of life and another way of looking at the world around her. He was exactly what she needed at a crucial time in her life, when everything else was falling apart, he was able to be a rock for her. It was sweet and melted my heart.
I loved this book! Elizabeth Scott is so talented, truly, if you aren’t reading her YA fiction you really should be. Highly recommended.