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Beating Heart: A Ghost Story

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  542 ratings  ·  98 reviews
This house

is mine


I am

its beating heart.

She is a ghost: a figure glimpsed from the corner of your eye, a momentary chill, and a memory of secret kisses and hidden passion. He is 17 years old: Evan Calhoun, warm and alive, and ever since moving to this big abandoned house, he has dreamt of her. Ghost and boy fascinate each other-until her memories and his desire collide i
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by HarperTeen
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3.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  542 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Beating Heart is a short, haunting novel with left me equal parts disturbed and impressed. This is not your average YA novel: there is no garunteed happily ever after, and no love-conquers-all message. This might look like a book about love, but it is not.

Beating Heart is all about sex. The lies we tell to have it, the lies we tell ourselves to keep having it, and the serious damage it can do to a person's life. Not pregnancy or STDs, but the psycological consequences of sex. And it is not a pre
An interesting not-love story between a live boy and a dead girl. Evan's just moved into an old house with his family and starts having dreams about a beautiful girl, the ghost. The book alternates between his perspective, in prose, and the perspective of the ghost, Cora, in verse. It actually works. Cora's sections give just the right sense of being insubstantial, and Evan does sound like a real teenage boy. Not that many of those in paranormal YA anymore. They all sparkle and stuff.
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A sexual relationship begins between a ghost and Evan whose family has moved into the broken, boarded-up house that she haunts. Well done, with the split narrations between the ghost and evan.

I remember the warmth of his skin... this secret this beginning.

And all I ever had to do was let go.
✨Emily✨ Cursebreaker - High Lady of the Day Court
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Great concept--mixing verse and narrative. But, the poetry is a lot better than any of the narrative or character dialogue. The verse is engaging with words of passiona and unfulfilled desire and a visual structure evoking the transitory existence of a ghost. As for the storyline, Jenkins creates a lot of reader interest as Evan unknowingly becomes involved with a ghost who yearns for him in the same way she did for a young man back at the turn of the 19th century.
Larry Morris
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The quick taste of the book on the back cover wasn't much but it interested me in finding out who or what this young male was.
So i finally finished the book and to be honest it was better than i thought it would be. The poetry in the book described the ghost and the events of the story. Even though it's a more mature book it still was able to get 5 stars from me i recommend this book to anybody who read this review.
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i read this book in a couple of hours! i liked it a lot!
it is a little pg-13 rated with a lot of adult stuff in it, but
i still liked it, it ended alittle odd. left me hanging i guess you
could say.
if your into ghost and that type of stuff check this book out=)
May 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
A ghost story is not really that scary if the protagonists aren't really aware they're being haunted.
Kimberly Sayers-Bartosch
This book is haunting yet magical.

This book was recommended to me by a friend. I really liked it and highly recommend it too. The house or ghost sections are poetic and unique. You won't be able to put it down.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Well, it's pretty short and predictable...but a fun, quick read with a sad, ghostly feel. "A ghost story" definitely sums it up. Not too spooky, not to long, just a good ol' haunting tale...with lots of vaguely described sex.
Victoria Fuller
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-it
Interesting way to tell a story.
Joy (joyous reads)
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: tbr
A haunting tale of a restless ghost, this story captured my attention with its beautiful writing and what was seemingly an unlikely romance. My first impression of this slight book was that it would explore a love story between the living and the dead. But I was wrong. It was a love story, all right. But one that did not have a fairy tale ending.

Evan Calhoun and his family moved to a historic house after his parents just got through a divorce. What they didn't know was that the house was alive.
Veronica H
Apr 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diana Dang
Dec 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Evan moves into a new residence with his mom and little sister after his parents divorced. His new home dates back over a century and he is not impressed.

A young ghost who used to live in the home is still around. She mistakes Evan as her old lover and enters his dreams nightly.

In this haunting and mesmerizing tale, readers will enjoy A.M. Jenkin's beautifully poetic writing about young love.

I left this novel on my shelf for a couple of months with little interest because I never saw any reviews
Jan 31, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teens who might be thinking about having sex
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mariela Mortero
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beating Heart A Ghost Story by A.M Jenkins
The novel, Beating Heart A Ghost Story by A.M Jenkins was Published In 2006 as fiction in genre. The main character Evan Calhoun didn't know what his dreams were about but he was being tempted by a strange girl he's never seen before only in his dreams. With a lot of trouble and upsetting events his life began to change.
She's a ghost that's been there for years. Evan Calhoun is 17 years old. Ever since moving to this big abandoned house the problems d
This book was not at all what I was expecting. I was utterly confused when the ghost would talk and I am just so confused. I did not like this book at all. I have no idea how to say how bored I was through this book and how annoying it was. I felt like I was reading two people do a role play instead of reading a novel. I was expecting so much from this book, mostly because I love ghost stories, but this was just horrible. After reading many reviews, I was also excited to start because most peopl ...more
The Media Bunny
I'm all about stories involving ghost haunts, flashbacks, and past and present colliding, but this book did not have the depth and strength I was expecting beyond the opening chapter. The cover is beautiful and the premise is good: new folks move into haunted house, teenage boys has intense (in emotional & physical terms) dreams about an unknown girl, and the house embodies the spirit of a dead young girl ("What happened?" is the driving question here). But the follow-through did not allow f ...more
Parisa Vaziri
I really enjoyed reading this book, it was different than any genre that I have read before. I liked the fact that it went by really fast and I didn’t even feel the book going by. It was the first time that I had read a book about ghosts, and I found it to be very interesting yet scary at the same time. The main character of this book, Evan had moved into a new house when his mom started her new job. He moved in with his mother and younger sister, and his father hadn’t visited them for a very lo ...more
Oct 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobahdeh
Shelves: waste-of-paper
Eww, this book sucked and it was a literal waste of paper. There was so much wasted paper going on!! Like, 3 words on a page at some points! And I get that it was a ghost and all, but why??

Evan is a rude horndog who moves into a Victorian house with his mom and little sister after his parents split. Meanwhile there is a ghost in the house, too, of a girl who died in the 1890s. Evan dreams about screwing some strange girl who turns out to be the ghost and his girlfriend is clingy, but oh does he
Misty Wirth
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I guess i mostly like this book because of it's simplicity. Most readers probably don't like for 75% of the pages to contain only few sentences, (not even complete ones at that, just jibber jabber. Example: "arm flung wide in sleep careless his breath draws soft and deep slow, untroubled sighs"). However, I enjoy how simply and quickly I got through this book. The thing that I did NOT like about this book, is that because it flew by so quickly, it didn't really have much of a chance to present a ...more
Dec 16, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Anyone over the age of 18
Shelves: library-books
This book is about a 17-year-old boy named Evan who moves into an old house with his recently-divorced mother and five-year-old sister. The ghost of a 16-year-old girl who died a century ago occupies the house as well.

The chapters alternate between Evan and the ghost. Evan spends most of his time annoyed with his mother, annoyed with his little sister, or thinking about having sex with his girlfriend. At night, he dreams of having sex with a girl he doesn't know (the ghost).

The ghost's chapters
Aug 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
What the flying fuck did I just read?

Alright. Let's start with the pros. I liked that it rotated between the ghost and the boy. I also found it neat that instead of doing full chapters for the ghost, there's only key words used.

AANNDD onto the not so positive. Okay, so I get it's a ghost story, which could be better if you know, the people knew they were being haunted. All the boy does is have sex dreams about a ghost. And the ghost sits there and watches him cum in his sleep and touches him and
Hannah Marie
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
*This book does contain mild sexual content and language.

First thing's first: I am a huge ghost story enthusiast. I love getting those chills as I read a haunting novel or passage. So when I saw this book on I couldn't help NOT picking up a copy.

I received "Beating Heart: A Ghost Story" in the mail yesterday, and finished it approximately 20 minutes ago. It's no surprise I enjoyed it, but what did surprise me was how much of an easy read this book is; which brings me to the writi
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
First reading this book I thought it was dull. I didn’t feel like it was interesting and then it got kind of confusing. Evan who is the protagonist of this book is moving into this new house that has a past. He doesn’t know what it is, but he feels as if there is someone else living with him, his mother, and his sister in this house. Things are being rearranged in his room and he doesn’t know how. Now every few pages you get a random perspective on a situation and it is somehow linked to the hou ...more
Linda Lipko
Jun 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
The adage you get what you pay for rings very true when describing this book. Purchased for $1.49, the description seemed intriguing -- a teen aged boy struggling with the definition of relationship, a new house, a small sister, a mother recently divorced, an absent father, and a lovely 16 year old ghost who has haunted the house for 100 years.

It sounded promising, especially when the cover stated the author was a Printz honor winner. I'm disappointed. The writing is choppy and interspersed with
Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it
This is not the typical ghost story that you would expect, nor the typical YA romance between a ghost and a human. Regardless, I really loved this book.
Though short, this book has overlapping story lines, as you read more about the present, you get glimpses of the past, and what had occur. Not to forget, the poetic-ness of it might've been the main point hat drew me in. The ghost's perspective would be my favorite since, in a way, it is bittersweet.
In short, I really enjoyed this book, and woul
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A boy(Evan), his mother, and sister all move into an old house. As you start to read there are parts where the "house" is talking to itself, when it's really just a ghost girl(Cora). Evan keeps having dreams of Cora and thinks she lived in the house many years ago. Eventually Evan becomes obsessed with this ghost girl that he continues to dream about night after night. I would recommend this book to someone who likes a quick read or someone who enjoys a bit of a more challenging book to understa ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone who enjoys poetry
This book is so deep. The author, A.M. Jenkins uses a lot of poetry here. This ghost, it tells what it feels, it explains all the sadness and other feelings this ghost has. It tells all of this using petry, its beautiful. Here goes one poetry example:
"His room is not right the walls, which should be lush with scrolls and leaves, are white, plain
the windows which should be thick with shutters and drape, are bare. Footsteps on the landing... up the stairs... at the door..." I really like this boo
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I just finished this book and WOW! It is a fast, lyrical read that had me engrossed. i HAD to know what happened throughout the whole story. It is a ghost story but not a scary one, it has you connected to the dead girl and living boy centered in the book. I loved how the author wrote from the ghost's perspective, almost like poetry. There is mystery shrouded in the girls death that is slowly opened up as the boy comes to self discovery and a bit of maturity. I love how there is realization and ...more
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Born in 1961. Have lived in TX all my life. Divorced with three sons, two dogs (Hobo and Tyson), two cats (Waldo and Smudge), and two gerbils (Nimbus and Gobi). Jobs throughout my life include pizza maker, ice cream dipper, day care worker, bookstore manager, aerobics instructor, high school math teacher, elementary reading tutor, and freelance writer (warning: this, kiddies, is what may happen to ...more