Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Emma's mother reached for her toast, and fell down dead.  Now, her body is being kept alive with machines so that Emma's half-brother (her mother was pregnant when she died) has a chance to finish growing inside of her and life.

Before, Emma was super focused on grades and had a happy family with her mother and step-father.  Now, Emma is grieving and angry.  Her mother is dead, she and her step-father are estranged, and the only person Emma still has is her best friend Olivia.  Then Emma meets Caleb, the car stealing bad-boy of her high school.  Caleb understands Emma in a way no one else can, because he lost a family member too. Can Caleb and Emma help each other learn how to go on living with those they love have died?

I really love Elizabeth Scott's writing.  This story sounds like it could be very melodramatic, but Scott writes Emma so that she is amazingly sympathetic for as self-absorbed (by grief) that she is.  Emma's mother (who is dead the entire book) is very well described and without ever being present is actually a fleshed out character.  Emma's lamentations about ignoring her mother in favor of studying and pursuing her future are very touching.  There are times when Emma seems to be a bit exaggerated, and Caleb's home life is very convenient to the story, but those are some minor issues.  All in all, I think that Scott has written another touching book with a main character dealing with grief and redefining her life.

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