In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 2nd 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3.95/5 stars)
Synopsis: A touching novel of last regrets and second chances in
the tradition of Lurlene McDaniel and Gabrielle Zevin.
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.
Told in alternating viewpoints, In a Heartbeat tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart.
Review: When I first saw the cover for In a Heartbeat, I was intrigued. I am very thankful to be able to get an advanced copy for this — and signed, making it even more awesome.
In a Heartbeat is a beautifully written book which reminds us that we should live life without any regrets. It is told in the POV of a dead girl and the POV of the girl who received the heart. I instantly liked Amelia, I felt her struggles and thoughts were well-done but there was a part of me that felt that there was too little we know about Amelia. I felt that there should have been more of her background presented. After the transplant, she started developing preferences for things and her character changes. Which was why I felt that we needed to more about the old Amelia. But since the old Amelia had difficultly walking, I suppose when you’ve a serious illness, it is hard for you to have a personality when you might go any moment.
Eagan was very much unlike Amelia, she had a snarky personality and was not afraid to speak her mind. But one thing both girls had in common was that they both had a great voice. They were realistic and touched my heart in many ways. It’s interesting to learn about the relationships between the characters, Amelia and her parents, Eagan and her mother, Eagan and her grandfather. Eagan’s scenes are most flashbacks where she goes back to specific moments in her life. This bit reminded me of The Everafter by Amy Huntley. However, why a certain memory flashes in front of her was never fully explain and I still do not know what Miki was supposed to be.
I felt the crush was too cliché for my taste. I wished that it could have been more realistic, maybe another 50 pages to give time for the characters to grow. The book was short, hence, I found the ending a little abrupt. Everything wrapped up nicely — too nicely for my liking. But apart from this faults, I really enjoyed this book.
In a Heartbeat is not the most exciting and suspenseful book but it will warm your heart, and make you appreciate life. This book deals with so many different emotions, yet at the same time it deals with them in a way that is life affirming and in it’s own way uplifiting. I will definitely recommend it in a heartbeat. You will love In a Heartbeat if you liked If I Stay, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, Everafter and The Lovely Bones.
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