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StorySnoops Children's Book Reviews | In a Heartbeat | Loretta Ellsworth
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In a Heartbeat
by Loretta Ellsworth
LEXILE READING LEVEL: HL580L {what is this?}
PUBLISHER: Walker Books for Young Readers
NO. PAGES: 224
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
ISBN: 0802720684
READ & REVIEWED BY: Eden - StorySnoop

The Story
In a Heartbeat—Book Review

Sixteen-year-old Eagan is a competitive figure skater with a fatalistic attitude and a strained relationship with her mother. When she falls on a jump in competition, all she can think is that she wasn't supposed to die like this, in a freak accident -- this wasn't what she'd ever imagined at all. But from her new vantage point in her own version of Heaven, Eagan sees that she left many things in her life unresolved. If only she could go back and fix things with her mom... Fourteen-year-old Amelia has never been an active participant in life. She has a failing heart and a frightened demeanor. But when a heart becomes available for transplant, she must get past her guilt that someone else had to die in order for her to live. When she begins to have new feelings and take on new personality traits, she starts to wonder if her donor is trying to tell her something...
The Scoop
In a Heartbeat—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

This is a beautiful story told from the alternating viewpoints of Eagan and Amelia. It explores the theory of cellular memory, which implies that memories are stored not just in the brain, but in every cell in the body. While the subject matter may be frightening to some, the characters and their emotions are very relatable. After the transplant, Amelia begins to experience shifts in her personality, and feelings that she suspects must come from her donor. Eagan reflects on her life as she enters Heaven by re-experiencing her memories, and she is better able to understand her mother's point of view when she sees their difficult relationship from the outside. Eagan has a wonderful connection with her grandfather, who also helps her to understand the good qualities in her mother. The teen relationships are sweet and respectful, and the kids only engage in making out. Readers may have questions about what congestive heart failure is and the subsequent transplant operation.
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In a Heartbeat—Book Review

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