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My Heartbeat

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,331 Ratings  ·  218 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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Rating details
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Jun 26, 2008 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.
eva steele-saccio
Apr 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
May 28, 2010 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
May 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Katherine Lewis
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen-fiction, lgbt
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
Jul 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really did not like this book.
First of all it was classist. Although the homophobia behind the action may be similar, paying off one's son is disgusting. The talk of Ivy league schools and other high-brow examples turned me off (especially when it was the bulk of the book).
Secondly, what started out as the main story (the relationship between the boys) turned out to be non-important at the end.
Thirdly, who in their right mind would really be okay with their sister dating someone they were in
Nov 03, 2007 rated it liked it
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 ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
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.
Amelia Jacobson
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, owned
The heck even is this book. I freaking LOVED IT.
At first, I was like: "Wait, what? This author did not research for this whatsoever. Garret Weyr, also Freymann-Weyr is so not qualified to be an author." But now I'm like: "HOLY CRAP THIS IS AMAZING YOU ARE AN AMAZING WRITER KEEP WRITING I NEED MORE BOOKS BY YOU RIGHT NOW!"

The way the chapters and scene breaks were finished were so deep and beautiful, and Jesus Christ, I wish I could write endings like that. My favorite finish to a chapter (though
Spiros Antonapoulous
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’ve never really liked YA even before I knew what “YA” really was. As a closeted teen who needed something to relate to I jumped on the chance on reading the very first “lgbt” book i found in my school library. My initial reaction to this book after finishing it was... meh. The protagonist doesn’t really have much of a personality outside of her reaction to the love triangle between her, her gay brother, and their on again-off again lover and being a heroic champion for the lgbt. And even that ...more
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Kressler
Aug 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie A.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Shoshana G
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It should be hard to call a Printz nominee underrated, but this book is. Ellen is a high school freshman in love with her brother Link's best friend, James. It's never been a problem, until a friend at school asks if Link and James are a couple. Are they?

James and Link and their parents have different answers to that question, and in the course of investigating what love is and should be, Ellen also attempts to find her own interests - her own heartbeat. I love love love this book and want every
Jenn A. Maronn
Jul 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
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
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked 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.
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sweet, deep without being heavy, raises questions but never preachy. Warm and comforting. This book is like music to me.
Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YA fiction fans
Shelves: glbtq
My husband and I both liked this book (which is a rare event for a novel). It's about relationships between 3 NYC teens--a girl and her brother, and their male friend.
Sarah Glynn
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
With all of the accolades this received, I expected something more. Instead, I’m left feeling that it was unfinished and unsatisfying. It’s an honest exploration of young adult relationships, questioning sexuality, and first love, but the maturity level of the characters was way too high and more sophisticated than their ages merited. Yes, they’re extremely intelligent and highly-educated, but they’re still only 14, 16 and 17, so the navigation of their intertwined relationships required an emot ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, young-adult
I don't know why I had this on my shelf, but I must have heard of it somewhere and just picked it up on the basis of it being YA about a gay couple, except it's really not. It's about a girl whose brother is in love with his best friend, but refuses to admit it and says he's not gay. The friend is bi (though that word is never used) and eventually they get in a fight and stop being friends and the girl starts dating her brother's friend and there is a happy het ending and the brother himself doe ...more
I"m not really sure how I feel about this to be honest. I liked it, but at the same time I felt conflicted about it. The premise was interesting, the middle was worthwhile, but I found the ending to be really dissatisfying. Perhaps it's because the book didn't work out the way that *I* wanted it to, or perhaps it really just wasn't as great as I had been hoping it would be. I'm not really sure, and that just annoys me a little bit.

Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A quick read but I really wanted a happy ending. But I should have expected an unfinished ending anyways since the main character Ellen would always talk about unhappy endings anyways. I know it’s a bad allusion but it’s the only thing I thought about when I reached the end. Overall though, the story did engage me quite a lot.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
The concept of the book was great. It was a fast and easy read that held my attention but I think the ending was rushed. It seemed that two of the main characters were really exploring their relationship and then BOOM one is going to college and it's all over with. I would recommend the book to read for a young adult or maybe a young adult who is just getting into reading.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
Well-told sorry, with interesting points about how families communicate without communicating. I thought the main character was inconsistent--at times she didn't seem to be a realistic 14 year old and then at other times her thinking was very shallow and more like an adolescent.
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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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