Book Review: Heartbeat

by Elizabeth Scott
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Life. Death. And...Love?

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.

Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?

It seems like the more I read Elizabeth Scott, the more I dislike her books. I've read four Scott books to date, including Heartbeat. The first one I rated 5 of 5 and the next books, I gave 4 and 3 respectively. And now this. Without looking at my rating, guess how many stars I gave this book?

My ultimate problem with Heartbeat is that the protagonist, Emma, is too unlikable. She is very rude and self-centric. I understand that she's grieving from the death of her mother but somehow, she has shaped this grief into hatred and focused it all to her stepfather, Dan. If there's one person that deserves sympathy here, it's him. Emma has a habit of cutting off people's sentences, especially Dan's and she's so disrespectful of him I wondered why Dan hasn't shipped her off to her grandparents. But that's Dan. He's very understanding and he always tries to reach out to Emma, but she keeps calling him off. Even when she hurt him multiple times, Dan stayed good to her.

Emma also has a horrible bestfriend, Olivia. Not horrible in a way that she hurts Emma emotionally or mentally. In fact, she's always there for Emma but everytime they're together, they never talk about what matters. She doesn't call Emma out with how she treats Dan or how stupid she's being. As a friend of someone like Emma, I'd expect her to slap some sense into her because a real friend would help her face her problems instead of avoid it. She's also a some-sort-of-a-hipster. She reportedly brought a typewriter to school when the instructor assigned them to do a research. She hates electronics. Though she has a reason for hating them, I thought it wasn't even remotely valid. Caleb is the same. He's not a some-sort-of-a-hipster but like Olivia, he seems to be encouraging Emma with what she was doing to Dan. He has gone through what Emma and Dan are going through but he is not the Emma in his story, he is the Dan. He knows what it's like to be on the receiving end of hate but oh, why don't you two talk about how you're both suffering. I honestly didn't care about these characters. Except Dan because he's a great person.

Heartbeat is undoubtedly an emotional and heartfelt read. I teared up at a few scenes and literally wailed on some, but because of sympathy for the characters or dislike, I'm not certain. I also liked Scott's prose here. It's true that I'm not a fan of this book and I established that within the first five pages, but it's also true that Scott's words have magic. I literally couldn't put this down. It's just too bad that I didn't feel for the characters.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Disclosure: This e-galley was received from the publisher (Harlequin Teen via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Hmm, that's tough that you seem to be falling more and more out of love with her books. I really don't think I'd be a fan of those characters either. But at least you maintain that Scott is still an amazing writer! I haven't tried out any of her books myself, but I should really look into it. Which book was the one you rated 5 Stars?

    1. Nevermind, I just followed your link and can see it was Perfect You!


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