“I spend the first morning of my Christmas holidays scraping vomit off my bedroom carpet. I use an egg lifter, which makes it easier to get at the bits of pineapple and mushroom. Mom appears at the door. Every one of her thirty-five years hangs in the saggy bags under her bloodshot eyes.
‘Aw, dolling. What can I say? There was something wrong with the pizza.’”
Beat is used to her mother hitting the bottle and then hitting rehab. She knows the score. But this Christmas break her mom is going to rehab and she is being forced to go away with her Grummer, who she doesn’t even know. She does know however that the only way to get Grummer off her back about her clothes, attitude and life is to find her a new husband. To do this Beat enlists the help of local loser boy, Toffie, but she soon realises that in finding Grummer a new beau, she might find herself a new friend.
I honestly don’t know how to review this book. I have very mixed feelings about it and I am not sure how much I hated and how much I enjoyed, but there certainly both feelings present in my reading.
The story is a good one and I liked it… I didn’t like the idea that Grummer HAD to have a new husband but it made for a good story and thing for Beat to focus on, if it wasn’t for her project she wouldn’t have befriended Toffie and I liked Toffie too so at least there was that. However Beat comes across very bossy and quite self-centred throughout the story which I didn’t like.
Basically Beat is a bitch and I really hated her. She was like a miniature version of her mother without the drink problem (though complete with her own kinds of problems) and I really didn’t like her. As you learn more about her background her reasons for being like this became more apparent but I still didn’t like her. Contrasted against Grummer and Toffie she was an awful person and I just couldn’t understand why Toffie even wanted to hang around with her. Grummer had her faults but not half as bad as Beats and yeah, I just really didn’t like Beat.
The writing was odd and I wasn’t really sure why it was written in the way it was, maybe to detach the reader from the events a bit and therefore stay sceptical about Beats attitude and why she was the way she was. You don’t become engrossed in the story because Beats voice is so far detached from the things going on that don’t interest her.
One thing I enjoyed was the setting and I did wish there was more about the history of the place they were in, the effects of the racism that the natives to the area faced and some repercussions for the obvious racism in the book. I liked that Beat did seem to be disgusted by the neighbours who were so racist that my blood boiled when they said anything too.
I think I probably would have enjoyed this story at a much younger age, probably around 12 or 13. I liked that it tackled some important issues about body image, health and alcoholism, and I do believe that the character involved personality matched that of someone suffering in the way they were but I still didn’t really enjoy the book as much as I hoped I would.
I Heart Beat was published on February 6th by Hot Key Books. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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