Heartbeat (Harlequin Teen)
oes life go on when your heart is broken?   Since her mother's sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward—because her mother is, in a way, still there. She's being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her.  Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important—grades, crushes, college plans—Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her—Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma's own. 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?

Book Details


  • Romance

Age Level: 

  • 12 and up
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Emma's life is not going so well at the moment; she can't get along with her step-father, her grades are failing and the only person she seems to connect with is Caleb, a boy with a terrible reputation. She longs to be comforted by her mother, but Emma's mom is brain dead, only kept alive by life support in order to bring a baby to term. Emma's grief has caused her to withdraw from the world, but Caleb, who has suffered his own tragedy, appears to be the only person who can make Emma feel alive again. Will she allow Caleb to help her heal?

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This book is set in a very unlikely situation in which a girl’s mother is in a coma, never to wake up again, but her unborn baby brother is still alive, barely. Extreme measures are taken at the slight chance that the child will live and the mother’s organs are kept running with machines.  As you might imagine, this whole premise is full with raging emotions and misplaced anger. The daughter, Emma, cannot get over that her stepfather did not regard her existence as he was deciding on her mother’s and brother’s lives.

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Emma is a straight-A high school student with perfect attendance. She should be one of the top students in her school, but now she’s dropped from the best to the worst. Emma’s mother has passed away mentally but physically she is still around, being kept alive by machines. Her mother is brain-dead and pregnant. Emma is horrified by what has happened. Completely broken, Emma no longer cares about school or anything else.

From the Publisher

Author's website: http://www.elizabethwrites.com/

Author bio: Elizabeth Scott grew up in a town so small it didn't even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She's sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn't want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, DC with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.  Visit her website at elizabethwrites.com.


Interview with Elizabeth Scott

1.      How did you know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about your road to publication.

When I was a kid, I viewed “creative writing” assignments with dread because I was never very creative. So the idea that I had to create a story--about something or someone else--I couldn't do it because I didn't understand the most important thing about writing then. 


Flash forward to 1999. I'm twenty-seven, with a decent enough day job, although I have to go to a lot of very tedious meetings. One day, during a meeting about a meeting, I gave up on taking notes and started writing. I still don't know why I did. Boredom, maybe, or maybe I stopped thinking about how not creative I was long enough to just try.


I wrote about a girl. And she wasn't me. I kept writing, and eventually, I'd written my first short story. It was awful, but I had finally discovered writing, and I was hooked. I joined an on-line critique group, who were kind enough to put up with a very, very new writer and I kept writing. And I kept learning more about how to write.  


Writing lets me think about things like family, friends, and love  in new ways. It made me think about how we create ourselves, and what happens when that unravels. 


I still have so much to learn, and that’s something else about writing. No matter what, you’re never done. There is always room to get better. There is always more to discover


Writing pulls me into another world, one where there are people I don’t know waiting to tell me a story. 


All I had to do was learn to listen. And that was the important thing I had never understood until that day, the day I forgot about taking notes and listened to the girl who was talking in my head. 


Writing makes me ask questions I can answer, as well as ones I can’t. It shows me things I don’t understand, and makes me see the truth of them. 


Writing sets me free.  


2.      What inspired you to write Heartbeat?

I'd read a newspaper article about the death of a pregnant woman and thought, "What if she'd died, but the baby hadn't?" It turns out, that very rarely, it does happen and the moment I knew that, Emma sprang into my head.


3.      Why might Heartbeat be a good Valentine’s read?

I've written a fair number of stories with romances in, but I think Emma and Caleb' story--how they find each other, how they fall for each other, and how they help each other--might be my favorite!


4.      What do you think of your book cover, and how does it fit the story?


I love the cover!! I've been lucky, and have some really wonderful covers before, but Heartbeat's cover captures one of my favorite scenes in the book. So how could I not love it?


5.      What are the top three things readers should know about Heartbeat?

1. It's about loss, how it hurts and how it changes your life. How it changes you.

2. It's about family, and how you can break each other--and put yourselves back together again.

3. It's about finding someone you never thought about, and how perfect they are for you. How, together, you make each other stronger. Better. 

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