Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat  by Loretta Ellsworth

This is the story of two girls. 

16-year-old Eagan, a figure skater bound for the Olympics, is dead after she hits her head on the boards during a competition.  In life, she loved to skate, loved her boyfriend, and loved her parents--even though she frequently fought with her mother.  Now Eagan experiences a series of flashbacks in a "grey between-place". 

Shy 14-year-old Amelia has lived with a failing heart for several years, and knows that in order  to receive a heart transplant, somebody else has to die.  She wants to be normal, but has been so ill for so long that she doesn't know where to begin.  After Eagan's heart is transplanted into Amelia, the girl is able to walk, and even run...and she begins to dream of Eagan's life, to act like Eagan, and even to crave Eagan's favorite purple lollipops.

The concept of "cellular memory" has plenty of anecdotal support, but real research is still pending.  Still, the idea is interesting enough to keep readers turning the pages to see the many ways that Eagan is able to assist Amelia from beyond the grave.  No sex, drugs, or rock and roll, but there are a few tactful scenes of teen snuggling.

Recommended for middle school and high school readers.

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