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. And 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.I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up In a Heartbeat; I liked the whole premise of the novel, but I was unsure exactly what sort of story it would be. I didn't know whether I was diving into a heart-breaker that would require a box of Kleenex, or a sweet, sappy tale that would leave me smiling. In truth, it was both, although you might only need one tissue.
Told in alternating viewpoints, In a Heartbeat tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart.
What I was surprised to learn was how simply it was written- I certainly don't mean that in a negative way, but this is a novel that can easily be read from ages tweleve and up. Keeping that in mind, the reading was light and the plot was not chock-full of complex layers. Which, once again, wasn't a bad thing, just an unexpected one.
Truly, though, the story was fantastic, and actually very educational. I had no idea that the idea from In a Heartbeat was actually based on real situations where patients who had received transplants experienced changes that could be linked back to their donors. In that respect, I applaud Ellsworth for taking on a topic that must have taken quite a bit of research to put together. The ending was very satisfying, and there where a few tear-jerker moments. All in all, a great read.