"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

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Summary: A teen organ-recipient takes on some characteristics of her deceased donor. 

Olympic-caliber figure skater Eagan mis-times her jump and In a Heartbeat, her life is over. Homebound Amelia draws horses and uses a lift chair to move around her house, and In a Heartbeat, Amelia has a chance at life again. In a fit of rebellion - and In a Heartbeat - sixteen year-old Eagan checked the "organ donor" box on her brand new-license and the lives and hopes of two Midwestern families are changed forever. When fourteen-year-old Amelia starts becoming a snarky sassy teen, with characteristics of her donor's personality, she is driven to discover who her donor was.

This is a tender young adult story of dreams, hope and discovery. It was painful to read the tense relationship between sixteen year-old Eagan and her mother. Eagan's mother push-push-pushes Eagan to skate her best, as if skating's all that matters. Eagan's mother's loneliness and the desperate way she won't let her daughter settle for mediocrity remind me as a parent not to let my dreams for my kids interfere in their dreams. This book made me recognize the value (and blessing) of ordinary.

The book opens after Eagan has died, but not since The Lovely Bones has a dead character been such an active vital voice. I think this book should be required reading for all new teen drivers, as well.

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