Monday, December 30, 2013

ARC Review: Heartbeat

by Elizabeth Scott
5/5 stars
Harlequin Teen, 2014
233 pages
YA Contemporary
Scheduled to release January 28, 2014

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have read and loved every Elizabeth Scott novel that has been released so far so it was hard for me that this book was pushed back from an earlier 2013 release. Luckily I managed to score an early copy and sneak it in to my reading schedule before the official release.

Going in, I didn't really know what to expect other than that it is a contemporary. I had decided to treat myself by reading just a few pages as a teaser but soon myself through 20% of the book. I had to charge my e-reader then but quickly returned to finish this book. It was a struggle because despite this book's brevity, it packs quite an emotional punch.

Main character Emma visits her mother every day in the hospital accompanying her stepfather Dan in these tragic circumstances. These are made more so by the fact that her mother is essentially dead and is being kept alive in order to preserve the life of the baby inside her, a decision that Emma believes Dan made solely to beget his progeny and in complete defiance of what Emma's mother would have wanted. The loss of her mother has sent Emma deep into herself; the girl formerly on track for valedictorian is now failing all of her classes, speaks just to her best friend Olivia, and cannot fathom forgiving Dan for his egregious betrayal. However bad boy Caleb starts to catch her eye as she realizes that he is also sinking in grief. Together these two broken people may be able to continue to face the day.

Sadly I don't really have the words to sum up the experience of reading this other than to start with "intense." Emma is so sad and so angry and it is painful to read much of the time. I've been very blessed in this arena and don't have any experiences to compare but just reading about her pain was emotionally difficult. I thought Scott did an excellent job of varying the descriptors and bringing out all the facets of Emma's emotions-she's never just sad or angry or regretful but all of these and so much more over the course of the book.

One element that made me especially happy was Emma's commitment to being a good friend to Olivia and to celebrate her normality like when the boy Olivia likes likes her back! This is explicitly represented in the book and it made me happy as I've read in the blogosphere and observed myself in books how sometimes the main character just completely shuts out her best friend or doesn't even have them before being brought into a supernatural world by the hero. This book defies that stereotype.

Though there is a dreamy boy (Caleb is definitely a ten!), his emotional presence plays the biggest role for Emma here. He has also experienced death and the pall grief casts over a family so he is able to fully empathize with Emma here and be a suitable partner. Though I prefer Will in Perfect You, Caleb is a perfect match for Emma.

Overall: A heartwrenching novel about an incredibly difficult period in one's life; beautifully written.

Be sure to come back in January as I will be hosting a giveaway to coincide with the release date!


  1. Ah…you and I usually agree on books but … not this time. Somehow all the elements of this -- the wrenching situation with her mom, the equally wrenching situation with her stepfather, plus the romance -- just didn't quite work for me. I read this last summer so probably not going to review because I am now hazy on some details but I can email you with my general thoughts.
    Glad you enjoyed it, though!

    1. Well I am a total Scott fangirl so it doesn't necessarily take much (she even mentioned me in the acknowledgements page!) I don't normally go for such emotional books (I tend to feel manipulated) but this is an exception.

  2. I've requested this on Netgalley after reading your review. Sounds like a book I'd really like. I'm glad that Emma is a good friend even with all the stuff she has to deal with in her own life.

  3. I'm reading this this week, haven't started yet but I just squealed when I saw you gave it 5 stars. Can't wait to start, Living Dead Girl although it broke my heart is my all time favourite Elizabeth Scott

  4. Sounds like I would enjoy the book based on your review. Emma is dealing with a lot and Caleb is just what she needs to deal with the difficult time in her life.

  5. I definitely think I need to read this one. Wonderful review.

  6. Ever since I read the synopsis, I was hooked. I've read countless reviews of Heartbeat, helping me decide whether or not I should purchase it or not. But after reading your review, I might just give it a go. I've heard that the romance takes a back seat in this one so I can't wait to have my hands on this one.

  7. The last emotionally intense book I read was 'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes. And since then I have stayed away from heart wrenching novels. But this looks like one I wouldn't want to miss. Would u recommend this book to Sarah Dessen fans? (Because I am huge Sarah Dessen fan and 85% of contemporary novels I read are by her )

  8. I had an eARC of this one but I missed the chance to read it (silly free time!).
    I wish I have read your review before, I don't know how I missed it! I'm moving this to the top of my TBR pile.
    Great review! It makes me want to read the book now!
    Lis @ The reader lines

  9. This book is on my TBR :)
    I plan(I hope so) to start with reading very soon :)
    Great review!


Thank you for commenting-I love to read your thoughts! Feel free to leave a link to your latest post so I can stop by!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...