I just finished reading In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth for an Around The World tour.
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.
Growing up I always loved reading stories by Lurlene McDaniel about teens with terminal illnesses or health problems. They always pulled at my heartstrings and made me cry. So when I read the summary of In A Heartbeat and saw that it was about teens and organ donations, I jumped at the chance to read it.
While I enjoyed the characters, I didn't really connect with them. I feel that Eagan was a better written character. We get to know her through flashbacks in her memories. And her story is wrapped up at the end. But I don't feel like we really get to know Amelia except that she was sick and she loved to draw horses. And it feels like her story suddenly stops at the end. The book was relatively short--only 195 pages. I feel that there could have been more from Amelia's point of view to connect with her more.
That being said, the idea for the plot is original (to me at least). I loved the theme of organ donation and that the transplant recipients might have characteristics from the donor's personality after the surgery. It's such an interesting idea and it really makes you think!
I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
A to Z Challenge: E
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 13
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 12
TwentyTen Reading Challenge: Who Are You Again? #1
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 11
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.