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Sunday, February 9, 2014

ARC Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

It's always been difficult to read books about loss, any form of it. The loss of a loved one, especially, because the grief can be overwhelming.
It can be something that sweeps you, because who hasn't lost a loved one at some point in their lives?
But to be dropped in the story while everyone was trying to deal with the aftermath? You find yourself smack dab in a vortex of pain, hurt and regrets and it's not something that's easy to get out of.

Heartbeat had that tendency, and I still think it was worth the read.

Title: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


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 was first hit by the raw pain emanating from Emma, and it was easy to get swept by it. I started reading the book feeling angry like her, for her, completely blinded by her emotions. Because who wouldn't be angry knowing that your mother is dead and she was only kept "alive" by machines long enough so the baby inside her could survive? Anyone would. And as I dive deeper into the novel, I see the Emma before and the current Emma and I can't help but feel the disconnect, what a waste it was. She was a girl with a bright future, and then she was nothing but a big pile of pain and anger. And it was destroying her from the inside out, eating away at her until she was practically nothing. She was lost in it. It hurt, and it shouldn't be like that for her.

I should know this by now, but grief is slippery, a tangle of thorns that dig in so deep you don't know where they stop and you start. You don't know where you are.

And that was it. I went through half the book feeling angry and confused, and I was so surprised by how Elizabeth Scott's writing got a hold of my emotions that easily.

I was wary of Caleb at first, and I didn't care much for his character, but I should've known better. Elizabeth Scott's deceptive way of building his character from being that shallow looking druggie, problematic boy to one that is hurting just as much as Emma does took me in for a ride and all of a sudden my heart is aching for him. It wasn't enough that I was absorbing Emma's grief and pain, I had to deal with Caleb's as well. Regrets, the self-loathing, the blame. Where Emma was there, existing and suffering through the fact that she was and her mother isn't, Caleb was the opposite. It's like he wasn't there. There's only wrath and wishing that maybe he shouldn't be the one who's alive. He'd done things he wasn't proud of, and he knew that, acknowledges that and I recognize it for what it was: a cry for help, for someone to see him and realize that he's alone, that he's there and he was hurting and he needs someone to help him through it all.

It's lonely. He didn't just lose his sister. He lost everything. He's alone. He's been alone for years and he's still here. He carries ghosts and blame that shouldn't be. He got twisted all around but never broke.

They say that people who have been broken by life tend to live stronger and more determined than anyone else. And though the process was harrowing, Caleb and Emma healed each other. It was an unlikely romance, and through the haze of the depressing, heavy emotions, they found each other. In the most unlikely of times with the most unlikely circumstances. There were times when I think of what they could have accomplish together, these two people broken by the losses they have incurred in life, but then I think of how they understand each other in a way no one else could and I think that maybe, just maybe, it could work. That they can make each other stronger, and be the anchor for when they get lost again.

There's not much else that I can say in Elizabeth Scott's writing, except that this was the best book she has written so far. I've always been on the fence and more often than not lukewarm with her stories, but the stark portrayal of grief and loss in this novel is just, simply put, quite amazing. Her writing just sweeps over you, brings you deep in the story, and you take in all of it until every single chapter you read becomes memorable. It was very tiring, and by no means an easy read as there were tears involved on my side, but it's a heart breakingly beautiful story. Heartbeat is worth the read. Death, the loss of loved ones, grief and the aftermath, the sense of loss, regrets, all of these are part of life, and more often than not, what changes us. How do you deal? How do you let go? How do you accept the fact that the one you love isn't here anymore? Heartbeat doesn't have all the answers to those questions, but it's one that can show you how it's like, and how it will be after.

I sit next to Caleb, waiting and thinking about what life really is. About how it has its own will. How it shows you things that rip you open, tear your world apart. How it unfolds even when you think it' can't. How it takes you places you never thought you'd be. Shows you things you never knew you wanted to see. Brings you pain- and joy. Where will it take me now? I don't know. And that's what life is. You can plan all you want, but you will never know what will be. Life just is, and I am here in it. I am waiting for what comes next.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
The story went around in circles at some point, with everything going back to Emma and her misconception and misunderstanding of things. I felt like the blame was all given to her because she doesn't understand. What about Dan? It would have been so much easier if she and Dan talked, but a lot of time was wasted when things could have been fixed easily. Also, I have mixed feelings over Dan, and was not entirely convinced of his character throughout the story. And what about Caleb's family? Was that it? If Emma and Dan can gather the strength to face what lies ahead for them, what about Caleb? Wasn't he going through the same process of healing like Emma? Or was he just done with his family, and there was no hope for them at all?

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
Quite a deceptive cover, but I like how it looks nothing like what the content is.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful blog you have here. Also I loved this review, I'm definitely interested in picking this book up soon after reading your lovely review. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the great work on this blog Good Books To Read


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