Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Published: January 28th
Thanks Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for the eARC. In exchange, I've written this unbiased review.
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?
Rating: ALL THE STARS. All of them.
Review: Not only do I love sad books, I thrive on them in this weird, creative way (because, really, the reason I read is to FEEL something shake me down at my core). Not only was this an incredibly heartfelt book, but Elizabeth Scott writes grief in this really raw, honest way. Not just in how she describes it, but in how her characters live in it and around it and wade their way through it.
There were so many things I loved about this book: the conflict between Emma and her stepfather Dan over the decision to keep Emma's dead mother's body alive until her brother is born. It's not just about their conflicting views, but their conflicting relationships with Emma's mother--and ultimately, their relationship with each other at stake. It was such a unique way to present a blended family. What do you do when that one person who glued everyone together falls through?
Also, the common ground Emma could find with bad boy Caleb. It's so interesting to me as a reader to see how ultimately tragedy and grief is present in all of our lives. Sometimes we just bury it deeper than people know.
Oh! And also, there's this scene where Emma gets drunk and it's basically the greatest scene ever written, not because it was hilariously honest, but because I'm pretty sure that's been teen me a time or two.
I'm not putting together an annual Favorite Books of 2013 list this year, but this is one of them (even though, technically, Heartbeat isn't out until January 2014).
Recommended For: everyone and anyone. In fact, if you don't read this one, I might threaten to hurt you (or just come over to your house and read it out loud to you).