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Heartbeat was a relatively good book for me, although I didn’t think it was exceptional. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t connect emotionally. For a book such as this, not connecting emotionally feels like a downfall because the whole concept of it is actually very heartbreaking. Instead, I felt rather detached. Maybe because the protagonist, Emma, was such a detestable character. The subject matter and plot however were original, which is why my interest in the book itself didn’t waver all too much.
Does life go on when your heart is broken?
Since her mother’s sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward—because her mother is, in a way, still there. She’s being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her.
Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important—grades, crushes, college plans–Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her—Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma’s own. 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?
Heartbeat is Elizabeth Scott’s heartbreaking, heartwarming and heart-healing new novel about the ties that bind—and the ties that free.
Emma was so self-absorbed and so filled with self-pity, I felt a strong urge to shake her for at least half of the book. But I did understand her to some degree. Through an inexplicable feat, she managed to make sense as the world’s most spoilt brat on earth. I could see why she was so upset but she was so self-involveded, I found it difficult to care much about her.
Still, the issue about life and death definitely got me thinking. While I disagreed completely with Emma’s assessment of the whole situation, seeing her brain-dead mother couldn’t have been easy in any sense of the word. It’s natural that she was overcome with such an exceeding grief. Yet taking her mother off life support wouldn’t have been any easier a decision. That’s the core of Heartbeat that made me read on—the moral dilemma of sustaining a life.
Moral ambiguity is always difficult to grapple with, especially when it causes such great emotional distress for everyone involved. Weighing the costs of particular choices can’t be measured in absolute terms, so the explorations of life and death, love and hate, were extremely difficult in this novel. It’s stories like these that make me appreciate fiction more because it allows us to think about our own lives and reflect on who we are and what we believe in.