HEARTBEAT by Elizabeth Scott


Age Range: 12 - 18
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This first-person examination of a girl mourning her mother’s sudden death explores the anger survivors often feel when confronting grief.

Seventeen-year old Emma hates her stepfather, Dan, because he’s decided to keep her pregnant, brain-dead mother alive on machines until the baby becomes viable. Although she realizes that she’s allowing her rage to consume her, she continues to indulge her hatred for her stepfather, whom she formerly loved and whom she knows her mother loved, and she finds herself unable to see the baby as her brother. Emma and Dan visit her mom every day, and there, she meets Caleb, a boy who’s been in trouble ever since his little sister died accidentally while under his supervision. Although her fellow high school students view Caleb as a pariah, Emma finds herself drawn to him: In Caleb, she discovers the only person who can understand her. As events progress, however, Emma will have to make her own decision about her mother’s plight, and the true reason for her rage, aside from her obvious grief, emerges. Scott wraps the first-person narration in Emma’s swirling emotions, but she allows readers to see through that fog to watch the reality of the events. The author does not judge Emma or Dan despite the deliberately skewed viewpoint.

An intense examination of a family coping with grief, this absorbing character study easily keeps pages turning. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-373-21096-1
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2013


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