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My Heartbeat

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,909 ratings  ·  180 reviews
Ellen loves Link and James. Her older brother and his best friend are the only company she ever wants. She knows they fight, but she makes it a policy never to take sides. She loves her brother, the math genius and track star. She is totally, madly in love with James, his face full of long eyelashes and hidden smiles. “When you grow out of it,” James teases her, “you will ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published April 29th 2002 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Best YA Fiction with GLBTQQI themes / characters
89th out of 920 books — 2,337 voters
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Worst Cover Art
33rd out of 327 books — 218 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Elizabeth
Jul 03, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teen girls who are looking for a quick read.
This is the story of an adolescent girl with a crush on a bisexual boy who might or might not be in a relationship with her brother, a near-genius who refuses to admit that he's gay.

Only that summary makes My Heartbeat sound far more interesting than it actually is.
Tatiana
Aug 01, 2011 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Printz
Shelves: printz, 2011, ya, ala-ya-2003
The only reason I see for awarding My Heartbeat Printz Honor in 2003 is its ultra-liberal, non-judgmental approach to teen sexuality.

The novel's premise is indeed edgy: 14-year old Ellen has only two friends - her older brother Link and his best friend Jason. Ellen has a bit of a crush on Jason, but no one acts on it until it is brought up to Ellen that the closeness between Jason and Link can only be explained by these two boys being a couple. When Ellen raises the question of her friends' hom
...more
eva steele-saccio
Apr 13, 2007 eva steele-saccio rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: YA readers
This book is really, truly wonderful. The writing is unbelievably good, but it's difficult to put your finger on exactly why. I love the understanding of teenage love that it conveys--the feeling that you are saying so much, declaring your undying love with mere gestures and common phrases when really you are simply asking the boy of your dreams to pass the bread. Freymann-Weyr also captures silence as communication ever so perfectly: its contrasting power of conveying anger and hurt and its abi ...more
Katherine Lewis
Weird. I think this book is an excellent example of a fake-out conflict, much like _No Country for Old Men_. When you close the book, you think, "Huh?" until you look at the title, think back over what went on, and realize, "Oh, it was about THIS all along." I can't be more specific without giving away spoilers.

I liked that the book dealt rationally and respectfully with the fluidity of teen sexuality; no one uses the word "bisexual" in this book, because slapping a label on it and walking away
...more
Angie
I never would have discovered this hidden gem if it weren't for my booktwin Martha reviewing it so glowingly a few years back. Not only had I not heard of Garret Freymann-Weyr before, but I'm pretty sure neither of its covers would have induced me to pick it up. Seriously, what in the world were they going for with this one? I just...I have no idea. But I know they missed. And the pink one is sort of cute, but really not indicative at all of what's inside. So. The Printz Honor award, on the othe ...more
Jan
Although this book was an award winner when it was first published in 2002, I didn't find it to be everything it was cracked up to be.

The family in this novel are overeducated Manhattan snobs obsessed with their own intellectual pretensions, which makes them distinctly unlikable. Although this is an interesting look at how adolescent sexuality can be defined in many different ways, I couldn't get past the annoying characters, who were a bit too precious for my taste.
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
I had higher expectations, I guess. It felt too short, like only the beginning of an idea. It was cute and well-written but I was waiting for a more intriguing plot to come out of it, and the plot never emerged for me. Okay, but not great in my opinion.
Racy-tay
I absolutely loved this book. It has its faults; I really had no desire to read about privileged kids in NY, hear yet another preachy moment about the dangers of teen sex complete with pregnancy and AIDS, but I still absolutely loved this book. As a teen this is what I would have wanted to read without realizing it. I love the characters and they resonate with me. The main character is a girl who adores her brother and desperately wants to know him. Her family can't communicate, they are bad wit ...more
Stephanie A.
I initially bypassed this due to the subject matter, until after I had fallen in love with two of her other books. Then I reached a point where I did want to try reading something with a gay relationship, but who could I trust not to make it gross and unnecessarily explicit? YA novels featuring teen boys tend to disappoint more often than not anyway. Then I remembered this book, which was just the perfect introduction.

The focus is very much on the girl, and it skirts around the main issue just
...more
Emily
Jul 03, 2007 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who needs a break from their other book for one night.
Yes it's from the "Teen Lit" shelf! What are you gonna do about it?! That's the thing, teen lit is really good! This writer is amazing and the writing was like butta', and I wish I made up some turns of phrases that she used. The main character (14-yr-old girl, who esle?) is learning to SEE things. Not just to look, but to see, like an artist does, while struggling with her family who handles struggle and problems by not talking about it, but carefully arond it:
"If I never develop the gift of cl
...more
Suzanne Earley
I am really ambivalent about this book. It was short, and it read quickly, and I enjoyed it while I was reading. Might have even considered it a 5 star book.

However, the more I try to write about it, the more I realize that I have some pretty big qualms about it.

The main character, Ellen, sounded more like 40 than 14.

The families are pretentious, upper class white people living in NYC, who probably have more money than they need or deserve. The parents are mostly absent, leaving their 14 year ol
...more
TreasureCoveBookReviews
I featured this book on my Throwback Thursday at http://treasurecovebookreviews.com/

I loved coming of age stories with introspective insightful writing and strong female characters as a teenager (and I still do). My Heartbeat has all of this. In fact, the writing style in this book is probably one of my most loved. Seriously, Garret’s ability to write with an insightful and introspective style really appealed to me as a teenager and still does as an adult. Perhaps this is where my reflexive nat
...more
GraceAnne
An utterly beguiling story on the questions of love: how do parents love their children? How do friends and siblings love each other? Are love and sex separate? Ellen, her brother Link, and his best friend James wrestle with the deepest and most complicated of emotions in this passionately realized novel. There are no villains and no unmixed emotions in this book. The writing is vivid, tender, limpidly clear.
Alicia
May 15, 2010 Alicia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: glbt
Ellen narrates the intricate and passionate story of her brother and his best friend. The question is whether they're gay or not, but what ends up happening is more about discovering family, unwritten laws, and what happens when you truly fall in love.

Not because she's curious, careful, kind, and intense. But because she's let somebody else discover that about her and love her for it.
Becca
I'm torn between wanting to give this book five stars, because I enjoyed it and read it in one sitting and found it to be very insightful and deep, and giving it one star, because I really, really, really hated the way it all turned out. It actually makes me angry. Three stars it is, I guess.
marevecom
I loved and hated and wished I'd never read this book.

The writing drew me in instantly. I loved following the way that Ellen's mind worked. She was different, it was a refreshing change from all the books I've recently read. She was smart; she was confused; she was very easy to love. After awhile I decided it didn't make sense for the narration of her thoughts to be so intellectual and for her to be doing so poorly in school, but that's something that you can overlook. Or you could blame on Jame
...more
Audrey  *Ebook and Romance Lover*
My Heartbeat is written in a beautiful rich which is hard to explain but in a way that you will enjoy the whole story and see the richness of it. I enjoyed it and liked it a lot.
Ashley Petty
I remember going to my local library in the summer of 2008 trying to find a good book to read in the teen section... I was just starting to get into YA novels an needed something to help fix the craving but had no money to buy any books. I came across this book because the cover looked so familiar and read the synopsis . The only thing I remember jarring about this book is the ending but I was always on the edge of my seat ready to see what happens next. This book really impacted my life in seve ...more
Marie
I'm not entirely certain how I feel about this book. First, it deals with a touchy topic -- sexuality in teens, in a completely open way. And I think it's amazing to have characters who are bisexual available in this genre. But my problem is the way we don't get any resolution. The main conflict... still feels conflicted. And I had the difficulty believing Ellen's narrative. She seemed younger than 14, and so very out of touch with... everything, it made me extremely uncomfortable at some later ...more
Marie
Nov 05, 2014 Marie added it
I'm not entirely certain how I feel about this book. First, it deals with a touchy topic -- sexuality in teens, in a completely open way. And I think it's amazing to have characters who are bisexual available in this genre. But my problem is the way we don't get any resolution. The main conflict... still feels conflicted. And I had the difficulty believing Ellen's narrative. She seemed younger than 14, and so very out of touch with... everything, it made me extremely uncomfortable at some later ...more
Elizabeth Mallory
Ellen spends all her time with her brother Link and his best friend James. Things get awkward when she begins to see odd things about their friendship and asks if they're in love. Link can't stand the idea of being gay, but James readily admits to having "done it" with boys. And then Ellen falls in love with James and everything gets even more complicated.


This books probes teens issues with grace, clarity, and insight and explores the complexities of having a sibling who is queer. Beautiful and
...more
Rosa
This was a quick listen. Ellen spends most of her free time with her brother Link and his best friend James. She loves hanging out with the two of them and being a part of their trio. She's also madly in love with James. Then one day someone asks her if Link and James are a couple and Ellen starts to realize how little she really knows Link. Her curiosity leads her on a journey to try and find out but it's hard to find out what someone doesn't know about themselves.

I loved the friendship between
...more
Helen Corcoran
I'm still quite torn about this book--I loved many things about it, but there were plenty more that unsettled and, quite frankly, irritated me. Like some of the reviews on Amazon, I did feel the characters and their families were very pretentious, but I became less annoyed about that when it became clear they all had various problems of their own, and their living and financial situation was just something I had to take as is for the purposes of the novel.

I found it difficult to relate or form a
...more
Liesl
I have mixed feelings about this book, some of which I acknowledge are just my own personal wants so aren't necessarily a reflection on the quality of the book, but as always I just write (vent) out all my feelings in reviews.

I loved the characters of James and Link--they felt very real to me, and their struggles with accepting themselves while also wanting to please their parents was captured wonderfully. I wanted more of them, which leads to my biggest issue with the book--Ellen. I would have
...more
Stephanie
O.....M.....G. This book is a friggin diamond in the middle of a giant coal bucket. I L-O-V-E-D every inch of it, right down to the commas, from front to back and upside down. When I bought it I thought it was just going to be some cutesy little story about a girl figuring out that her brother is gay, but omg, it is so much more than that. There's laughter, there's tears, there's confusion, there's love, there's acceptance, and most importantly, there's truth: there's truth in the message that n ...more
Adriana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lina
Jan 25, 2013 Lina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
Ellen is a fourteen year-old who doesn't need many friends. She has all the company she needs in her older brother Link and his best friend James, with whom she is "totally madly in love". But as they enter their senior year of high school and Ellen is finally going to the same school as her two favourite people in the world, she sees how the two boys are the objects of much speculation and begins to ask questions of her own. About the nature of Link and James' relationship. About the nature of ...more
Judy (Geeky Reading)
~3.5/5
[Also available on my blog.]


This book kind of surprised me. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

My Heartbeat is about Ellen and her brother Link and Link’s best friend James. Only, maybe James isn’t only his best friend. Link and James have been friends forever, really close, and spend practically all their time together. Which makes some people wonder if, maybe, they aren’t only friends. When someone mentions this to her, she starts wondering, a
...more
Anne Broyles
This is an unusual book both in its subject matter (14-year-old Ellen loves both her brother, Link, and his best friend, James--are the boys gay? bisexual? Why can no one talk about this most important question?) and approach. Ellen can seem very young/naive, but also wrestles with life's big questions, often with a mature attitude. All three characters have some things they just can't discuss openly with each other or parents.

The emotions ring true most of the time and Ellen's seesawing feelin
...more
Sara
Ellen loves her brother Link and his best friend James more than any other two people in the world; but things get much more complicated when a girl at school asks if Link and James are a couple. Are they gay? What does gay even mean? When she decides to ask, things get even more complicated than before and Link and James no longer speak to each other. Ellen has always thought James was super cute, but is it okay to date a boy who used to date your brother? Is it okay to date a gay boy at all?

Th
...more
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190325
Garret Freymann-Weyr (rhymes with 'I'm on fire") is a novelist and teacher whose seven books have been banned, translated into a multitude of languages, and included in college curricula. She is a Printz honor award recipient and her short stories have been published in the Greensboro Review, the now sadly missed Christopher Street, and the anthology Starry Eyed.

She is a native of New York City a
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“I'd love it if the first time I spent the night with a girl it was because she was tired," James says. "I'd love it if it were you.” 4 likes
“Not that there’s anything wrong with geeky," Link says before Dad has a chance to. Geeky is one of Dad’s favorite words, and I listen with glee to my brother’s imitation of our father: "Geeky people often have that which is most valuable in this life." Link pauses here for effect, so that James and I can join in, shouting Dad’s favorite phrase, "A mind with its own heartbeat.” 4 likes
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