Thursday, December 24, 2009

In a Heartbeat Review

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release date: February 2, 2010
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.

Told in alternating viewpoints, In a Heartbeat tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart.


In a Heartbeat was engrossing, amazing, emotional, and powerful. Those are the best words I can use to describe it. In a Heartbeat was one of the best books I’ve ever read and one I’m definitely going to buy in hardcover when it’s released. The writing style was fantastic and the author pulled me in from the first page. I read straight through it in one day. The alternating narratives were well written and gave each character plenty of time to develop. Amelia was a character I liked right away. She had a tight bond with her family and was so strong throughout her whole ordeal. I never really thought about organ donation and how big an impact you can have on someone else’s life as an organ donor. Eagan made such a quick, almost unthinking, decision to become a donor not even thinking how this action would make one girl’s life change so much. With the alternating chapters I got attached to both characters and I felt really sad for Eagan but it’s such a hard choice to make- if Eagan hadn’t died Amelia most likely would of. It was a life for a life. This plot idea was so unique and original it will stay in my head for a long time. This novel was more than just the story of two girls sharing a heart, but rather the connections they shared because of this heart. It’s amazing the habits Amelia picked up because she had Eagan’s heart. It was an original concept and one I never knew about before. In a Heartbeat was an emotional read, but completely worth it.

In addition to the characters and plot the romance was very sweet. Although it played a small role Amelia’s relationship with Ari was perfect. He could understand what she was going through better than anyone and really helped her connect with her donor family. Which brings up another point. Amelia meeting Eagan’s family. I could understand Eagan’s mother’s reaction to seeing Amelia. Seeing the girl who was alive only because her daughter’s heart was beating in her chest must have been a difficult experience. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I was in a similar situation.

In the end I really enjoyed In a Heartbeat, it was one of the most informative and emotional novels I’ve read in a long time. It dealt with a topic rarely tackled by authors and gave life to some amazing characters. Loretta Ellsworth’s writing style was amazing and made the book impossible to put down. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of In a Heartbeat come February it’s definitely worth it.

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars


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