Released: February 2010
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Around the World Tours
When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart.
When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different — dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy —her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life,meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on.
I remember seeing a show years ago on people who receive organs and start having different habits. To me, that's pretty fasnicating. It made me wonder what life would be like having an organ inside of you that wasn't really yours. In A Heartbeat, while fiction, fed my curiosity about this subject. Between the two protangist, you get a glimpse of what life is for the donor and the receiver.
I never expected for this type of story to hit so close to home to me, but it did. It's probably why I ended up loving it so much and wasn't able to put it down. Loretta Ellsworth created such wonderful characters and told their story in a beautiful way. I found it so bizarre how much I related to both of Amelia and Eagan. Amelia took me a bit longer to warm up to, but I know what it's like having something wrong with your heart. I know how scary it can be when you know something is wrong with you. Something you cannot stop from happening. The fact that she's never really got to experience life to the fullest until the moment of her transplant kind of snapped me into how my health could have been if I hadn't been cleared of my own condition when I was a kid.
Eagan was more of my favorite between the two and each time her chapter came along, it was like I was experiencing all of her memories. It made me so sad knowing she'd never get to experience anything ever again. I absolutely adored the close relationship she had with her grandfather. Everything about the two of them reminded me so much of my grandfather and I. I was in tears many times because of it too.
This is such an emotional read that makes you realize how precious a life is. How many of us don't even think about how in one second it could be gone. I'm recommending everyone go grab this one.