In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart.
When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different — dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy —her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life,meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on.(courtesy of Goodreads)
Two girls: Quiet, obedient, loving Amelia has been ill for years with a bad heart. Fast, sassy, Eagan lives to skate but also rebels against her mother's pressure and wants the most out of life. When Eagan dies in a freak skating accident, Amelia gets her heart. Suddenly Amelia takes on some of Eagan's sassy, bold personality and even her interests, like purple lollipops and skating.
I read every Lurlene McDaniel book out there as a teenager. I had a morbid fascination of teenagers struggling with life threatening illnesses. If you like Lurlene McDaniel, you will definitely like this. Actually, Lurlene has a new book out called Heart To Heart, which has almost exactly the same premise as In A Heartbeat. Without hesitation, I would read In A Heartbeat over Heart To Heart (not that the latter is bad...In A Heartbeat is simply better).
The book is told through alternating viewpoints of Amelia and Eagan. Amelia is joyous at receiving a new chance on life, but also mourning the death of her donor and trying to understand her strange new personality quirks. Eagan is in a limbo-like state and needs to come to terms with her life and death. She tells her side of the story through a series of memories of her life, focusing on her tempestuous relationship with her mother, her close relationship with her grandfather, and her new relationship with her fabulous boyfriend Scott. I thought the switch between Eagan's presence and her past was seamless. The author also deftly wove Amelia post-transplant life and Eagan's pre-and-post-death life together. It has a similar feeling to If I Stay by Gayle Forman and even a bit of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. In A Heartbeat is a quick read. As you turn the pages, you will be sobbing tears of both joy and sadness.
Rating: 4 / 5