Sebrina 's Reviews > Heartbeat

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
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You know that feeling when a good friend asks you your opinion on something you didn't like but you don't know what to say because you don't want to hurt their feelings? Well that's how I feel about this book.

Of all the books I've read and authors I adore, Elizabeth Scott is the only one who I have actually met and interacted with (albeit via email but I still count that). It breaks my heart that this book disappointed me so much. While I do have to give Ms. Scott huge props for crafting a thought-provoking story, the characters were really hard for me to deal with. Let me start with my thoughts on the actual plot and then I'll move on to the characters.

The subject matter: Is it ethical to keep a braindead pregnant mother alive on life-support in order to save her unborn child? I think it's a very good question and the book really forces you to explore both sides of the issue. As the story progresses you can begin to understand how hard living with a living/dead person would be - especially for their teenage child.

So I liked that original approach and subject, my issues with the story started when the timeline began to unravel. Now maybe this is just because I read an ARC and these issues are fixed in the final edition… I sure hope so. But as I was reading I felt like absolutely no research was done on pregnancy. I acknowledge that the target teen audience probably wouldn't know better, but as a pregnant woman it just irritated and confused me.

From the beginning, Emma talks about seeing her mother's belly ripple and move from the baby. Mind you, she tells Caleb that at this point her mother is just "nearly 16 weeks" pregnant. It upsets me that no one did the research to learn that at only 15 weeks pregnant, you would not be able to see the baby move inside the belly. It's still too tiny for the mother to even feel it move.

Earlier in the book, they said that the baby just had to hang on until 25 weeks and at the end they say that day is reached, 43 days after the mother's embolism. However, in Emma's first conversation with Caleb she reveals that the embolism happened at 12 weeks of pregnancy and that her mom had nearly 10 more weeks of life-support to get to the 25 weeks from her current 15. The math just doesn't add up. 43 days is only 6 weeks, so what happened to the other 7 weeks? Where are these forty-three days coming from?

Those issues aside, the hardest part of this book for me were the characters of Emma and Dan. By chapter 5, I literally was forcing myself to continue. Emma came across as such a self-centered, spoiled, immature brat. Her rationale made no sense and her treatment of Dan was unacceptable. As devil's advocate, Dan was being a jerk especially when he scolds Emma on the tone of her voice because the baby might hear (which is medically impossible at that point) and plays the hurting her mother card.

Pushing through, it does get better. Emma still doesn't make sense until she finally talks to Dan in chapter 39 and then you can understand her thought-process a bit better. Fortunately Caleb helps keep you reading up until that point. Without him, it would have been impossible for me to finish.

Lastly, it bugged me that Elizabeth Scott resorted to the exact same setting as Between Here and Forever. Meeting your romantic interest in a hospital you go to everyday. Seriously? Again? Like with Miracle, I understand that her current books are reflecting her own personal experiences having spent a lot of time in hospitals over the past few years. But I miss her old style of creativity.

In the end, Heartbeat is by no means a bad book or even one that I would recommend not reading. It just wasn't one of my favorites. I will say that I loved her "electronic ghosts" metaphor of voicemails and automatic email replies though.

I received a free review copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley but the opinions expressed here are my own.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 2, 2013 – Finished Reading
December 4, 2013 – Shelved

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