Mar 11, 2014

Book Review: Heartbeat - Elizabeth Scott

Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
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 genuinely feel like a black sheep when it comes to this book because all of my blogger friends loved it, and it's sad because I really thought I would too. I wanted this book to get to me, I tried so hard, but neither Emma's grief nor her understanding with Caleb touched me in any way. In the end, Heartbeat was a huge confusion. It took its time making sense, and by then it was too late to salvage it for me.

Emma, the main character, is not easy to love. I couldn't even like her. She was so blinded by grief that it made her selfish and I really, whole-heartedly hated her. I was like, what do you want your stepdad to do, let your infant brother die in your mother's womb when there was a chance he could live? When you know it took two years for her to get pregnant? 
"I - look, I do get that it didn't choose for Mom to die. But she did, you know? And the doctors say the embolism didn't happen because she was pregnant but it's just..."
Her constant argument with her stepdad was "Oh, how do you know she wants to be kept alive by machines so she can have the baby? Did you get to ask her that before she went into a coma, huh?" WTF? Although I do get where she's coming from - I would have wanted a say in my mother's well-being, too - the whole time I wished someone would smack some sense into her, that part of her grief was the guilt of being so focused on her grades, on herself, and thought a good future mattered most, until life took away what really did.
"But me... you've said you won't get rid of me, but that's all. And I get it, I do. You've got a baby coming, and I was just part of the deal with Mom. You can forget me, and you did because when she died, you didn't talk to me about anything. You never even looked at me."
Is she jealous of the baby? Does she feel like she lost her stepdad too when her mother died? Do you see now why this book confused me?!

I also didn't appreciate Emma's relationship with Caleb because it just didn't seem believable to me. What, because she found someone who shares the same kind of grief as hers, there's suddenly a ray of sunshine in her life? Is that what she really wanted but didn't get so she pushed her stepdad away: sympathy? Emma and Caleb's being together could have easily gone down the wrong road where they self-destruct whilst holding hands - good thing this is fiction. But even though they weren't realistic enough for me, there's no denying that they are sweet and good for each other.
He made me see all of him, everything, and I want to keep looking.

Now, maybe you think this book is all bad, but it's not actually. I really liked Emma's best friend Olivia who was there for her through it all, the good and the bad. Olivia knew when she needed to get Emma talking and when she needed to distract her and take her mind off of things, and I think if not for her, Emma probably would have gone insane. I also liked Emma's stepdad who seriously deserves a trophy for being the most patient and understanding stepdad ever. He never hated her even when she kept pushing him away and taking even more out of him. I'd commend the writing but seeing as I didn't get any feels from this book... maybe not.

So. There you go. Very early on, I knew Heartbeat was not for me, and it's good that this book is short or I wouldn't have finished it altogether. This could have worked for me even without making me like Emma, but it didn't, so I really can't recommend it to anyone.

MY FAVORITE PART was drunk!Emma. That was fun. 



  1. To bad this didn't work out for you. I have read negative reviews for this book before, so I had hoped to read some positive reviews too, but I haven't found them. I hope your next read it better :)

  2. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one! I haven't really heard much about this one but I don't think I'll be picking it up. I'm just not good with books that are slow about making sense. If I'm feeling all WTF is going on, then I would probably wouldn't finish it. So, I'm thinking I should probably skip this one.

  3. I think I liked this more than you did, but I had the same problem with Emma. And I even had some problems with the step dad. Good drama, though, so appealing to many teens. Great review!


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