Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 2, 2010
Source: Around The World Tours
Synopsis: 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. Told in alternating viewpoints, In a Heartbeat tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart.
In A Heartbeat tells the story of two girls who are tied together by fate with the same heart. Amelia was born with a failing heart and by an incredible stroke of luck, she is given the chance for a new, healthy heart; while she is excited for the chance to live a life free of physical and emotional pain, she feels guilt for acquiring someone else's heart. Eagan, Amelia's donor, never intended to die-she planned on living her life to the fullest and was on the path of sucess, following her dream of becoming a figure skater....until one freak accident took it all away. Now that her donor's heart is within Amelia, she begins to adopt strange habits like talking back to her mother, liking the color purple and wanting to try figure skating. Meanwhile, Eagan is stuck in limbo, unable to move on from her life and watching every moment of it unravel before her eyes.
This book gripped me until the very last page; the alternating points of view was a perfect way of describing the emotional journey that both girls had to take. Although Eagan had already passed away, she was a great character and I had to keep reminding myself that she had no tangible future; it was frustrating for me knowing this as I read throughout the story...and the glimpses of her life that were given made it all the more heartbreaking. Amelia was also a wonderful character and her concern for knowing who her donor was and understanding where her heart came from gave her the courage that she lacked for most of her life. Loretta Ellsworth dealt with the topic of organ donation beautifully by crafting a short but incredibly poignant novel with two main characters that warmed my heart. This story tugged at my heart strings and I grew incredibly attached to both Eagan and Amelia... I do however suggest that if you plan on reading this book that you have a box of tissues near because if you're like me, (i.e. a big crybaby) you'll be crying at how bittersweet Eagan's story is...but you'll also be touched with the fact that if it hadn't have been for Eagan's heart, then Amelia wouldn't have been able to live.