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My Heartbeat

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  2,243 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
As she tries to understand the closeness between her older brother and his best friend, fourteen-year-old Ellen finds her relationship with each of them changing.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 29th 2003 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published April 29th 2002)
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Jun 26, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  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.
May 28, 2010 Tatiana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Printz
Shelves: ya, printz, 2011
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
eva steele-saccio
Apr 07, 2007 eva steele-saccio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2007 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: belovedbookshelf, ya
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
Jul 03, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Feb 23, 2016 Brianna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
This is the first book I ever read due to specific interest in reading about a gay relationship. YA novels featuring teen boys tend to disappoint more often than not anyway, so it took me a while to choose one, wondering who I could trust not to make it gross and explicit. I chose this one after having adored two of her previous novels, and it turned out to be the perfect introduction.

The focus is very much on the girl, and it skirts around the main issue just enough to create plausible deniabi
Jenn A. Maronn
A decent book. I found the premise to be more promising than the actual book, which is about the complicated emotions between a 14 year old girl, her older brother, and her brother's friend/long-standing crush. The text raises issues about love, loyalty, and learning to be true to yourself. It touches on bisexuality but never says the word, focusing more on the potentially gay brother, and his and his dad's complex emotions around what it means to be gay. It feel a little dated (written in 2002) ...more
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.
May 15, 2010 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Yaz *The Reading Girl*
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.
The definition of heartwarming. The narrator gives off a "innocent and naïve yet slowly becoming aware" vibe that reminded me of scout finch from to kill a mockingbird.
Alexcis Cullivan
May 04, 2017 Alexcis Cullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was worth the read, though, a bit confusing at times. It always held my attention and i finished in just under two hours. It's a perfect read for anyone trying to get out of a slump, or if you need a feel good book.
For me, this is another example of a Printz Honor Book that does not live well beyond its own publication year.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2016 Seana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Patrice Sartor
GENRE: Fiction: Realistic fiction, problem solving, romance.

SUBJECT/THEMES: Homosexuality, bisexuality, familial loyalty, inability to express feelings, romantic crushes, sibling relationships.

SUMMARY: Ellen is very attached to her brother Link and loves him dearly. She also has a long-standing tremendous crush on Link’s best friend and constant companion, James. Sometimes Link and James argue and cannot get past their differences. Other times it seems they have such a tight connection that they
Aug 23, 2010 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Holly by: Angie
Ellen and her brother Link attend an elite, private high school in Manhattan. He is an incoming senior researching Ivy League schools. She just received Rollerblades for her 14th birthday. Link’s a math whiz and a genius, while Ellen is happy to be average. Link likes his best friend James, but Ellen likes “super cute” James too. The three of them form an unlikely friendship, in which Ellen loves them equally. She’s perfectly content and comfortable to have no other friends her age or gender in ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing with one other Printz Honor title.

In this story, Ellen absolutely loves her older brother Link, and his best friend James. She's more than a little in love with James, but it's a little bit of a joke between them, pretty much understood to be a school girl crush. But then, she hears people talking about the two of them at their school, asking if they are a 'couple'. She's never really thought about it before, and doesn't really
Jan 05, 2009 Eileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved My Heartbeat. It is a well written story with interesting and believable characters. Some of the deep questions raised are about identity, belonging and the ability to truly know yourself and others.

Sexual identity is a key theme. Ellen has been good friends with Link and James. It is not until she attends highs school and a classmate suggests that Link and James might be a couple, that Ellen considers that they might be gay. There is no easy answer to this question. James has had sex w
Judy (Geeky Reading)
[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
Mar 07, 2010 Chachic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted here.

Would you look at that cover? I seriously have no idea what's going on with that design. It's like someone got excited with clip arts and decided to use that instead of looking for better options. The cover is probably one of the reasons why only a handful of people have read this book, which is a shame because it's such a good read. It only has 160 pages so I was able to finish it in one sitting but I'm amazed at the insightful and weighty issues discussed in those few pa
Oct 30, 2012 Lina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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What's The Name o...: Looking for y/a gay fiction with distinctive cover [s] 3 45 Nov 21, 2012 03:17PM  
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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. Her next book will be published un ...more
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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.” 5 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.” 5 likes
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