Sunday, February 28, 2010

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth (Around The World Tours)

Published: February 2nd 2010 by Walker Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 195 pages
ISBN: 0802720684
ISBN13: 9780802720689
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.


Eagan was so close but yet very far. Half an inch. You've got to be kidding? You never really see death coming when it comes to dieing young, do you? Eagan had a slight world-was-going-to-end feeling, she just didn't expect it to be her's. Eagan has wanted to be a figure skater practically her entire life, and her dad has been nothing but supportive but her mom...Well, maybe she was a bit too supportive, you could say.
Amelia has suffered with a heart disease for quite some time, and with the a heart becoming available, she should be elated...But now that the moment is finally here, she can't help thinking about how it's going to affect her life after the surgery. At first everything goes well, but when Amelia slips and talks back to her mother over a small issue, she realizes how unlike herself she's beginning to feel. When a friend from the hospital suggests to find the parents of the teenage girl who heart got transplanted into her, Amelia jumps at the opportunity to contact them. She feels like more than anything she needs to find out what Eagan was like when she was alive. Possibly even help pick up the broken pieces she left behind with her friends and family.
In a Heartbeat was a short tale of flash backs from a dead teenagers rocky past and the receiver of a healthy picking up where she left off. Two completely different stories melded together through one heart. I have to say that I liked Eagan's flashbacks but sometimes found that the short introduction where Eagan narrates her foggy surroundings seemed unnecessary. I believed this story about the two characters to seem a bit rushed and when so much more background information could be learned about both characters past. I'd have liked to have known more especially about Amelia.

All in all, I would recommend this as a short read to entertain and inform a reader about of a heart that had traveled through loops before finally being able to "move on."

Grade: B-