Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: HEARTBEAT by Elizabeth Scott

Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publication date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: An e-ARC provide by the publisher for an honest review, 100%.

Life. Death. And...Love?

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.

Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?


Her mother is brain-dead so that the baby inside can live and Emma lives with her stepfather? New and interesting concept! How does someone even deal with that? Your mother is right there in front of you, but you know she won't ever wake up. At the same time, her stomach is moving because of the baby inside of her so it gives you a sense of twisted hope and feeds your longing to have your mom back.

The unfortunate thing about it all is that any possible intrigue into this book stops there. The whole time I read it, I felt as if I was a hamster on its stupidly annoying wheel. Running around and around, never going anywhere. We have conflict between Dan, the stepfather, and Emma, but I lost all sympathy for her pretty quickly. The anger and hurt from her to him was supposed to make us feel and be emotional. But it didn't, at least not for me.

The situation: Emma was angry and hurt with her stepfather because she believes that her mother only got pregnant to make Dan happy. Once her mother went brain-dead, the doctor gave Dan the choice to either keep the baby alive by putting tubes into his wife or pull the plug. Obviously, he chose to keep his baby son alive. Emma believed that Dan pushed her mother into this horrible fate and once she died, only was using her to gain what he wanted. After he he got what he wanted, he would throw away his wife without a care in the world. To Emma, the years they spent as a family meant nothing to him, that he didn't love either of them.

My problem: I wanted to say that Emma sounded like a thirteen year old, but I sounded more mature than that at thirteen. Of course, that's not good considering that she's seventeen. Seventeen! A senior in high school, getting ready for college, supposedly used to be the top in her class; and how does she act? Like an immature kid who only sees her narrow way and no one else's. Whenever she has a confrontation with Dan (which happened frequently), he tries to tell her his side and she refuses to hear it, only attempting to be cuttingly sarcastic and wanting to win at the blame game.

The situation: CALEB.

My problem: While they "knew" each other before, it still felt like insta-love. Caleb starts staring at her and she finds that compelling. Wait a second. A guy, who has stolen cars and did drugs and has gone to rehab, is staring creepily at you and you're captivated and you SWOON? She swoons! If that happened to me, I would avoid all contact and be very paranoid. Not just because of his past, but because creepily staring is creepy. Another bad side to Caleb is how Emma acts with Caleb. I lost count of how many times she says "Caleb is the only one who understands." If I lost count of how many times she said that, I lost count of how many times I rolled my eyes throughout the whole book. She suddenly replaces her best friend with this guy, acts as if they are meant to be because he is the "only one who understands" her, and I'm supposed to like them as a couple?

The situation: The ending.

My problem: A pet peeve of mine is when things are wrapped up too neatly and too quickly. This is was one of those books that seemed like there was a fairy flying around and waved her wand so poof! it's fixed! Actually, having a fairy in this story would have made it way better.

Weirdly enough, I didn't DNF it. Why waste my time? I went through this whole book with no connection to the character and lots of eye rolling, but I kept going.

Good: I thought after Emma kept rehashing and rehashing and rehashing her mom's situation and the conflict with Dan and the baby that I would lose every bit of interest in the storyline. Oddly, I still wanted to see it through and wait until I read about that baby out of her mom's stomach. So I guess that's a redeeming factor. Also, the book wasn't horrible, just annoying.

Good: It was a quick read.

Just a few eye-roll worthy quotes:

"I don't even know what a gallbladder is."
"It helps with digestion, but you don't have to have one, especially if it gets infected. Or if you get gallstones."
"Oh," Caleb says, leaning forward a little and looking at the ground. His hair falls over his face again. "You really are smart. I mean, I knew you were because of all the classes you're in, but still."
THAT is smart? You're honestly impressed that she knows what a gallbladder is? You both are SENIORS in high school. 

No one can make things better, but Caleb...Caleb gets it in a way no one else does.
On page 125 and I feel like she's said it 125,000 times. 

It's Caleb. And he's awake.
You have to read the book to actually get this one, but really, you thought he would be asleep? Did you want to watch him sleep? YOU CAME TO HIS HOUSE AT NIGHT. I don't get this.

"You're supposed to be asleep," I say, and Caleb stares at me.
Oh. Well, apparently, she did want him to be asleep. And now Caleb is not the official creepy one.

[insert one of her many rants toward Dan]
Blah, blah, whine, blah, blah, whine, blah

While it was an interesting concept, it lacked execution. Overall, it was an annoying meh bordering on an angry ugh, if that makes sense.

Verdict: Annoying aspects to a potentially great plot that gave my eyes a workout from all the rolling.
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  1. This book does sound very annoying! Why is it in books when a guy is creepily staring at the main character, she swoons/finds it romantic? Like you said, if a guy did that in real life, I wouldn't find it endearing, I would find it creepy! I have to admit that I like the cover for this one a lot, though!

    1. The cover is pretty, that's what attracted me to it! Creepy staring...ugh.

  2. YES. One hundred times yes. I picked this up because 1. the author's LIVING DEAD GIRL is amazing, and 2. I thought the concept would put an interesting twist on the average grief story. But I had the exact same problems that you did. I hate "bad boy" romances, especially when the girl falls for the guy because he "understands her," and this book overuses that line to an extreme. I ended up finishing it as well, though, but I emerged with renewed resolve to DNF books that are no more than "meh" for me.

    1. I AM SO HAPPY YOU READ THIS TOO. Now we can rant together and feel each other's pain. I think I will shudder if a guy ever tells me that I "understand him" because of this book. I told myself after that I probably should've DNF'd it, but there was still a teeeeny bit of interest in it. Also, I wanted to finish my first Edelweiss book in a while. But I agree. If they're no more than "meh" I need to DNF as well!

  3. I haven't actually tried anything by this author before, but it doesn't look like I'll be starting here! I can see Emma's reaction to Caleb bothering me too. And the too neat ending. If the rest of the book is likeable enough, I can just about ignore it, but it doesn't sound like that would be the case here. Still, I'm glad you made it through to the end easily enough. Great review as always, Sunny. :)

    1. I definitely encourage you to start with another book if you start her! Thanks, Sam :)

  4. Eeeee insta-love is NEVER fun. Too bad because I really like Elizabeth Scott. I can understand liking the bad boy but that's a bit much-makes the main character seem kind of stupid. Man, this sounds pretty bad on all counts. Too bad because it did have an interesting premise. I'll be skipping this one, thanks for sharing!

    1. Maybe you'll really like this then. I never read her before, so I don't think I'll carve out time to do anymore.

  5. Sorry to hear you were not a fan of Heartbeat. I really like this author, but have been putting off this one due to the subject matter. Living Dead Girl is one of the most intense and haunting books I've read but I try to stay away from the heavy during the holidays. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one :)

    1. Heavy during the holidays probably isn't the best idea....although I just realized I started a book about WWII in Nazi Germany about Hitler's beloved "niece." Oops.

  6. It sounds like your eyeballs got quite the workout, LOL! I'm sorry that you didn't love this one. I did, but I'm sort of biased towards Elizabeth Scott. ;)

    I could understand your thing about Caleb, though. I mean, the staring thing kind of did give me a "Wutoh, what's happening here" moment, but I got over it. And sadly, I probably would have stared right back at a guy who had that many rumors about him... I gotta get that fixed. LOL.

    I'm sorry that you didn't connect with Emma, and that the storyline kind of sucked for you. At least you wanted to know where it would go! Great review, Sunny. :)

    1. Oh boy, they did. Haha! Well, I'm glad that you enjoyed it at least! Tis the way it is sometimes.

  7. The concept sounds pretty interesting, but insta-love? In a contemporary novel, where there's basically nothing else to be read about other than the romance and a few other problems? *runawaylikerightnow*
    I've been loving Elizabeth Scott since Love You, Hate You, Miss You, but sad to hear that you didn't like Heartbeat though. I'll probably push it lower on my TBR list.

    And oh, that quote about gallbladder, it's just like "Seriously?". You did managed to make me smile, though, ahaha.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Neysa @ [B.O.O.K.L.I.F.E]

    1. Run, run far, far away! At least that's what I wished I would have done. Well, if you did enjoy Scott previously, maybe you'll like this one. Thanks!