Heartbeat – Elizabeth Scott

“I sit down with my mother. My smile is shaky as I tell her about my day.
‘I think I did okay on my history test,’ I say. ‘Oh, and Olivia wore her new pair of false eyelashes, the ones I told you about. She was batting them around so much that a teacher stopped and asked if she had something caught in her eyes.’
I laugh at the memory, and the sound is shaky too. ‘Olivia wasn’t super happy about that.’
There’s a slight movement, but its not on Mom’s face. Her face never changes. But under the skin of Mom’s stomach… I don’t want to look but I can’t help it, because there my mother’s skin is moving. 
Because the baby is moving.”

Emma’s mum is dead and Emma goes to see her every day. Not at the cemetery though, no, Emma’s mum is being made to carry on breathing in the hospital. The baby she was carrying when she died is still alive and needs her body to carry on living and Emma hates it because of that. She also hates her stepdad and the fact that she can talk to her mum but can’t get an answer. When Emma bumps into bad boy Caleb for the first time in the hospital she is overcome by anger and grief and he mistakes it for anger towards him. The two of them hit off on a bad note but as they become used to each other and Emma finds out that Caleb understands her grief, they soon develop a friendship. As Emma falls off the rails, could drug dealer, car stealer Caleb really be the one to save her?

***
Well this one was, erm…. interesting. I have severe mixed feelings for this book and to be honest I really wanted to enjoy it as I’ve heard so many good things about the author but I couldn’t, it was brutal and it was honest but it also came with a very self-centred protagonist and something I just couldn’t be comfortable with. 
The story was good, the story got me thinking about what I would want in that situation, as a mother though not as a teenager. I think as a teenager I probably would have wanted my mother to stay alive because the baby really would be a part other after she’s gone and if I couldn’t have her, at least I would have the baby… but at the same time I understood Emma’s anger at not being brought in on Dan’s decision in the first place – especially at 17 as she is almost an adult herself. The story was good in that sense and I also liked the thing with Caleb as even though his actions cant be justified you did get to know them a bit more. 
There was a definite ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ thing with Caleb and I liked that about him a lot. The other characters were great Olivia was kind and loving towards Emma, always being there when Emma needed her and trying her hardest not to fall apart when she could see that Emma was breaking. Even Dan, poor Dan, he was amazing. He had been put into this situation where he was looking after a child that he loved like his own but who knew he wasn’t her father and tried to keep things normal but couldn’t. I know the stepparent relationship quite well from my own experiences and can only image how awful it must be to go through what he was going through. I knew how much he was hurting but only because of being an adult myself – I would have probably sympathised more with Emma back when I was a teen!
Emma deserves her own paragraph because she was everything I hated about this book. I understood the drop in her school work – she blamed school work for her not being around for her mum the night before her mum died – but she was so self-centred I hated it…. even when she came to the realisation that what she believes her mum would have wanted was not the truth I couldn’t like her for it. She had these rose tinted glasses on when it came to her mums state before she died and Emma would not budge from these beliefs. It was annoying and I thought she was so horrible for it. Even the bit with Dan in the nursery she didn’t understand how much he was hurting because he shouldn’t have been there putting the crib up himself, her mum should have been there with him. 
Gah. Anyway, like I said major mixed feelings. There was something else about my copy of the book that bothered me but as it was a proof that might be rectified in the finished copy – though I will try and check that when I see one in the shops! Unfortunately this book just wasn’t for me because of Emma and if things were a little different maybe I would have loved it – I am definitely willing to give the author another go with one of her other books though. 
Heartbeat will be published in April by MiraInk. My copy of the book was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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  • I have this to read so it’s really interesting to see how mixed your reaction was! I’ve read two others of Scott’s: one I loved and the other I hated. Looking forward to seeing what think, though I imagine I’ll struggle with the protagonist!