Ok, there are lots of things going on here beyond the surface love story.
Most disturbing is the question of what you would do if a pregnant woman died, but there was a chance to save the baby by keeping the woman’s body alive through machines. She’s not there anymore, really. No brain function. No response to her family members. Most of us would say, of course, you have to save the baby. It’s awful that the woman is gone, but any woman would want her baby saved if it was possible. But, how would that affect the rest of the family? What if the woman had other kids, and they knew she was alive but not really?
This is the tortured world of Emma that instantly sucked me in as soon as I started reading. It was impossible not to put yourself in her shoes and imagine the hurt and confusion mixed with the possibility of life.
Of course, if that was ALL this book was about, it would be the most depressing book ever. So you throw in the cute bad boy, Caleb, who understands death and loss more than any of Emma’s friends, and you’ve got yourself a sweet romantic development. And with a great supporting cast of characters, including Emma’s best friend and her stepdad, there’s never a dull moment in Emma’s world.
Heartbeat is a good story full of life, hope, and love. I recommend it for high school and up… but be prepared for it to spark some questions and discussions in your family!