Patrice Sartor's Reviews > My Heartbeat

My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
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Aug 23, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: love-sex-romance, young-adult

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 do not need to communicate verbally. After a classmate asks Ellen if Link and James are a couple, she begins to see them in an entirely different light. She researches homosexuality so she can better understand it, and hopefully, her brother. When she works up the nerve to broach the subject, Link completely denies being gay and becomes very upset. This incident causes Link and James to break apart, and Ellen becomes closer and closer to James. Ellen must battle her feelings over whether she should encourage Link and James to reunite as an actual couple, or if she should keep him for herself.

EVALUATION: I like that this title does not approach homosexuality in a straight-forward manner. Neither Link nor James can say that they are gay. James says he may be. He has slept with other men, but he likes women too. Link is further in denial, and while it feels obvious to everyone around that Link is gay, he cannot admit it to himself, much less to anyone else. He has a lot of soul searching to do after Ellen asks him if he and James are a couple. So of course the first thing he does is get a girlfriend. I like how Ellen was truly torn over to indulge in her feelings of attraction for James, or whether to leave him for Link. The whole novel is well told, with completely believable characters.

WHY I WOULD INCLUDE IT: I wanted to have a book in the collection that was available to young men that are having difficulty ascertaining their sexual preferences. As a bonus, this book is also a fine recommendation to young women that have a crush and want to become involved with a boy that may be gay or bisexual.

A booktalk for this title is located at the NoveList web site. (Retrieved April 25, 2009, from http://web.ebscohost.com/novelist/det...)

Although it may be controversial, during the week of the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, this title and other ones which discuss young adults coming to terms with their homosexuality and bisexuality could be set up on a display together.

ITEMS WITH SIMILAR APPEAL:
• Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, by Rachel Cohn.
• Eight Seconds, by Jean Ferris.
• Geography Club, by Brent Hartinger.
• Boy Girl Boy, by Ronald Koertge.
• Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan.
• Whistle Me Home, by Barbara Wersba.
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