Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 226 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2013
Life. Death. And...Love?
Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.
But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.
Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.
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?
I've never read an Elizabeth Scott book prior to this one. I suppose they never just popped up on this radar. But I chatted for a half hour with Elizabeth at BEA and I really wanted to give one of her novels a chance after meeting her and speaking with her. And though she is one of the biggest sweethearts ever, this book simply was not for me. And, if you want to ask me what exactly turned me off, I can't pinpoint something in particular.
I struggled slightly with the writing style because the book went by so unbelievably fast. I don't keep track of exact time while reading, but I think I may have knocked this one out in less than two hours. So, yeah, it's cool that this is such a quick read, but it's frustrating all the same. I flipped to the last page and though the story summed up nicely I was sitting there thinking, "that's it?" It just seemed like the story went by too fast, almost as if I was under-informed. But here's the kicker. By no means was I under-informed at all. Sometimes, I felt like I was slogging through this thing. I think that this can be attributed to the fact that the story was so heavy. It was a lot to handle and it truly was heartbreaking. It put me into this emotional hole because it was so serious, and I think that's why it was so hard to get through certain parts of the book.
The main character, Emma, was not someone I found it easy to connect to. Then again, I don't think many people can outright connect to a girl whose mother died and is only being kept alive to support the child inside of her. At least, I hope not many people can relate to that. I wasn't the biggest fan of her and her new pessimistic view on the world dragged me down emotionally. She over-analyzed everything and was overemotional and blew her beliefs into epic proportions. See, she hated her stepfather for keeping her mother's body around to save her little brother, but didn't want to see her mother go when the time came. She was full of contradictions and her mind was all over the place. Emma was the equivalent of a literary headache at times.
However, I give this book major props because it got me to sit down and think while reflecting on the world. Scott is brave to go into such a deep and dark subject matter. I'm sure this was not easy for her to write because the raw emotion behind it made it hard to read at times. I can see this being completely and utterly heartbreaking to a parent because this will resonate with the parental population more than any other reader.
All in all, I will describe this book as powerful. But, at the same time, it wasn't for me. I can't say I loved it or hated it, though I appreciated the message it shared with us. I wasn't emotionally prepared for the whirlwind of emotions in this book. It was an unexpected onslaught--more like an avalanche. I felt as if I was suffocating and unable to breathe. So, my best advice to readers is to go into this one prepared for how heavy it is and with an open mind. It's going to bring low and take you to dark places. Be prepared, because the twisted journey it takes you on certainly is incomparable.
FTC Disclaimer: I did not receive any form of compensation in exchange for this honest review.