Hazel McHaffie's Reviews > In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
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Apr 04, 2012

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Read in April, 2012

Another young-adult book about organ donation. Seems to be a campaign to educate young Americans on the wisdom of being on the donor register! This one explores the theory of cellular memory where the heart stores information about the donor which is then passed to the recipient. Most scientists don't give this notion any credence (and I have to confess I'm sceptical too) but the author cites interesting experiences which put a different slant on the possibilities.
The story tells of a young figure skater who is killed when she crashes onto the boards at the side of the icerink doing a triple lutz. The teenage girl who gets her heart finds her personality changes and the feelings about/knowledge of her heart's first owner are so strong she feels compelled to seek out the family. Alternate chapters expand each girl's story - one recovering from the transplant; one looking back on her life from a kind of limbo.
The author's nephew died following a motorbike accident and she started writing the book as a form of therapy. I suspect some parents would find it comforting believing that something of the donor's characteristics live on. This book might be of solace to them.

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