Heartbeat — Book Review

early book review

Today’s book review is for Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott.


The Deets

author: Elizabeth Scott

release date: January 28, 2014

format: e-book, hardcover

pages: 304 pages

publisher: Harlequin Teen

Read: August 1, 2013

Acquired: Edelweiss

Book Pages: Amazon.com • Goodreads.com •  Author’s Website  

Book Type: YA, contemporary romance, realistic fiction, tough issues

The Down-low

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?(From Goodreads.com)

Why You Should Buy It

Heartbeat is a poignant view of a young girl coming to terms with issues beyond her control, a mother who is only alive on a machine, a baby’s life that hangs in the balance, a damaged relationship with a stepfather, and first love.  The book deals with tough issues beyond grief: morality, ethics, and learning to look at a person and truly see who they are.

My Thoughts

*I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.*

A beautiful look at life and death.

There are some books that take time to reach out and grab you. They are slow to start and require you to fully commit before they give you that rush of feelings and emotions. And then there are books that leap off the page, grabbing a hold of your mind, heart, and soul from the very first page.

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott is definitely of the latter. This book was so complex and intricate. We have a girl who is devastated by the loss of her mother, and yet feels she can’t fully grieve for a woman who is kept as an incubator for what will (hopefully) be her baby brother. This obviously isn’t just your average teenager coping with death story. There are so many tangles, with her relationship with the friend from ‘before’, to the ‘troubled’ boy she bonds with, to her stepfather.

I think reading this book as an adult, and being a mom, I obviously saw beyond our young narrator. I was able to see the book from dual perspectives: hers and as a parent. I think this alone made me appreciate the book so much more than I would have as a teenager.

The ethical dilemma faced in this book was also something that was of interest to me. I am kind of obsessed with Law and Order: SVU, and I’m pretty sure there has been an episode or two dealing with this subject matter. While it obviously isn’t something that happens everyday, I do feel like it is a conundrum that will allow a teenage reader to work through in a critical way. A teen romance that can also be used as a critical thinking exercise is something I definitely will advocate for!

The pain, grief, and romance between Emma and Caleb was amazing. The two were such battered souls who found each other at the very right moment. And the lesson Elizabeth Scott teaches by their relationship is something all teenagers need to hear: you are so much more than the things that happen to you and the labels you are given.


I do think that Emma’s grief throughout was cyclical. Some may say that it was too repetitive, but I really think it was realistic — a person in that much pain and grief is going to dwell and go over and over the same things.

Overall, this book is something I will highly recommend to mature teenagers and adults who enjoy tough issues and don’t mind a tear or two on their book.




heart jess new

4 thoughts on “Heartbeat — Book Review

  1. I loved this book! I’ve read lots of reviews that weren’t as kind, and weren’t too fond of Emma or her behavior, so it’s nice to read a review that I can agree with. It always seems like Elizabeth Scott’s books hit me harder than I expected, just from reading the blurb or reviews. Thanks for sharing your review! 🙂

  2. Pingback: New Reads Monday — Week of January 28 | Such A Novel Idea

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