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?
2.5 Drink Me Potions
Heartbeat is pretty much what you would expect from just reading the synopsis. Emma’s mother is dead and she feels horrible about that. But it gets worse because her mother’s gone, yet her body is being preserved to keep the baby alive inside of her. Now, that kind of thing doesn’t happen very often where the mother dies but the fetus manages to survive until hospital care arrives. For the most part, I wasn’t sure who I was more annoyed with: Emma or her stepfather Dan.
Emma is torn with grief and anger. Particularly anger and hate. She’s mad at Dan, mad at the baby, and mad at herself. Nothing seems to matter anymore. I’m still not sure if I like her all that much. She was just so full of bitterness for most of the book. Then along comes some guy who seems to totally understand this sense of loss and bitterness at the world. A car stealing and former druggie is the only person in her life that seemingly gets it. I just wasn’t feeling the romance as much as I’d like.
As for Dan, I understood he cared for the baby a lot, yet I was pissed that he did seem to completely forget Emma needed him too at this time. I don’t know if I disliked him more because we also see him in Emma’s POV which wasn’t all that objective.
The storyline is predictable and so was the ending. If you go into this book not expecting anything grand or hugely touching, then it can be a somewhat pleasant read. As long as you don’t wanna punch one of the characters occasionally for what they say.
Elizabeth Scott herself said she wasn’t a huge fan of “message” books. For someone who doesn’t really care if you get a moral or lesson learned at the end of the story, this one sure seemed like the opposite of that. Ah well, either way, our protagonists learn something as predicted, and yada yada yada.
I don’t know what else to say about Heartbeat. If you’re bored and want a somewhat emotional story with grief-ridden characters, then this is an option. The biggest feeling I can sum up from this book is meh. There could’ve been more to the plot which would’ve boosted it a little for me as the story is rather short.
Heartbeat is nothing special, but one of those average stories of characters dealing with loss. It doesn’t stick out from the pack of similar storylines, but it still has its moments here and there that drew out an emotional pause from me. If you’re bored, well go for it and it may be enjoyable.