Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott
Series: Standalone
Released: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Rating: 3.5 stars
Word Rating: I haz angzer issuez
Reviewed by: Mel

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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?

Grief holds you tight. It holds you forever.

I don’t know how to start this review. My thoughts are about explode right out of my mouth so I may as well get to the point right now.

The book opens up with our seventeen year old protagonist, Emma, who now lives with her stepfather. Her father died when she was young, and her mother only died a few months ago. However, unlike her father, Emma is still able to see her mother every day, for she is being kept alive by machines so the baby inside her can live. Kept alive until the baby no longer needs her mother's body. Emma is in a pool of grief and anger. Grieving for her mother and angry because she thinks her stepfather is selfish to keep her mother monitored just to keep the baby alive.

While I liked Emma’s character, there were certain flaws that I could not let go of. Emma’s situation was difficult, she used to be an over-achiever at school and ever since her mother’s death, her grades have slipped and her anger has been forever growing larger and larger. I could empathise for Emma easily-- but the more I think about her character I realise that she could’ve chosen not to go and visit her mother every single day. I see a lot of other readers have mentioned that as well. However if I were Emma, I’d visit my mum as well. Why? Because if my mum were dead I want to see her face, and be able to hold her hand for as long as possible; even if it makes me angry and sad. On the other hand, nothing excuses her being so prejudiced to others around her. For instance, when Emma is talking about Caleb Harrison, she says this:

I don’t think a bored, rich druggie really gets hate. Not real hate.

Girl, you don’t even know the guy and you think that he doesn’t understand hate? What do you base this off? You know nothing more than anyone else does. Besides that qualm, Emma was a generally well nuanced character. Her anger and grief was believable.

Heartbeat is predominantly a love story between two damaged characters. Caleb used to be a popular guy but when he came across his own loss of a family member, he closed up. Lonely and angry, Caleb went through being a druggie and now steals cars and sometimes the occasional school bus. Caleb and Emma’s chemistry felt a little quick to begin with but that didn’t stop me shipping these two at all. I will say that I don’t like it when romance is used as a device to fix each other’s problems, though Emma and Caleb needed help. They needed someone to understand them. They needed someone constant who could be at their side.

What I loved the most about Heartbeat was the writing. Elizabeth Scott has fantastic writing skills and it was incredibly beautiful. I will read anything by her because of her writing.

All in all, Heartbeat is a well-written gritty read that I definitely won’t hesitate to recommend to anyone.


  1. I don’t like it when romance is used as a device to fix each other’s problems - best quote ever Mel! You are completely right about these damaged lovers being better together, they should totally focus on fixing themselves first. I'm not sure whether I'll read Heartbeat, it kind of sounds like a typical NA.

  2. Although you had a few issues with this, I'm still glad you enjoyed it, Melanie. It seems to be quite popular going by early reviews, so I like that your review goes over some of the negative aspects in the story too. Hopefully if I go in with slightly altered expectations, I'll wind up really enjoying it. Great review, Mel!(:

  3. An intense examination of a family coping with grief, this absorbing character study easily keeps pages turning. A must read.
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  4. I won an ARC of this and I'm so nervous to read it. I wasn't into contemporary until I started blogging, and I'm not totally sure if this is my type of thing. Your review gives me hope though - It doesn't seem all bad! I'm not a fan of romance over plot, but I can let it slide if the writing is as beautiful as you say it is - great writing can really win me over! Great review!

  5. I loved this book so much-it made me feel a lot and I can't wait for everyone else to get their hands on it and give it a shot for themselves!


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