DNF: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

HeartbeatHeartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Published by: Harlequin Teen on January 28, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: Did Not Finish

Does 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?

I’m completely heartbroken over here. I’m DEVASTATED that I didn’t love Heartbeat. I think I’m mostly devastated because it has all the makings of a brilliant book, but the main character killed any enjoyment I could have had for it.

In a word, Emma is MEAN. She’s a selfish, hostile bitch. I get that she lost her mother and that’s horrible and devastating. She has every right to be upset—or even angry. But I could not handle her being mean and hateful towards her stepfather—a man who was nothing but nice, sweet, and supportive. Even when she she yells at him and basically says, “It’s your fault my mother is dead!” he still hangs in there and is nice to her. He comforts her and makes her breakfast and says she’s his family no matter what.. and yet she’s just a raging bitch to him.

I couldn’t get over how selfish and hateful Emma was. I wanted to be able to sympathize with Emma and cry with her.. but instead, her mean attitude just made me hate her. And on the one hand, I felt bad about hating a girl who just lost her incredible mother, but then she’d run off and treat Dan ( her stepfather) like complete and total shit, and I no longer felt guilty. This girl was horrible! I loved Dan; he was so nice and an EXCELLENT father figure… he didn’t deserve the treatment she gave him.

I don’t feel like Dan did anything wrong. She hated him for keeping his mother “alive” after she went brain dead, for the sake of saving her unborn child. Maybe I’m just ignorant or something, but I don’t see anything terribly wrong with that. Emma constantly yells at him that “It’s not what mother would have wanted!”, but on the contrary, I think that’s exactly what most mothers would want. If the mother has to die, surely most mothers would want their family to do everything they can to save their unborn child? Isn’t that some kind of obvious maternal instinct (“protect the child no matter what”)?

I get that it’s hard to see your mother laying there in a hospital bed day after day, when she’s basically already dead and there’s no hope for her.. but no one’s making her visit her mom every day. It’s like she’s only torturing herself by choosing to do that.

Emma just made out Dan to be some kind of evil, killing bastard for doing this.. and I really don’t see the problem. But mostly I just didn’t want to finish Heartbeat because of how much I despised Emma. She was really and truly horrible to Dan. I felt so awful for him because he was such a nice guy, and Emma was just a bitch. I just couldn’t take it…

And it sucks, because I think the overall plot of this book is really interesting, and I’d have loved the chance to get more into it.. but Emma really stood in my way and ruined it for me!

The Verdict


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  1. Aw, sucks to waste time (even if it is a DNF) on a book you hate. I haven’t heard much about this one, apart from the initial hype when it came out. I’m disappointed it sucks, but seriously, with a main character like that? I don’t think I’ll be reading this one.

  2. I don’t see anything wrong with keeping someone alive for the unborn child either.. At least you can leave something behind before you are really gone! I can handle many things, but I hate it when people are so mean and ungrateful towards others. The fact that she lost her mother doesn’t mean she has to act like that. Dan also lost someone.. Meh, I’m not interested in this book.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: FF 24. What I look for in book boyfriends.
  3. ugh I can totally see why you didn’t like this one. I definitely would think the same thing after what you said about how hateful and bitchy Emma is. I would hate her too if she continually chose to torture herself by seeing her mother every day and screaming at her kind stepfather. I can understand if she was mean at first but after blaming him for her mother’s brain dead state, if she didn’t calm down I’d put the book down, too. sorry you didn’t enjoy this one, but fantastic review, Ashley! <33

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: Me After You by Mindy Hayes
  4. I had an e-ARC of this and DNF’ed for the same reason. I tried to hold out because I could understand why the MC would be angry–in fact, I think it would be strange if she wasn’t angry–but she wasn’t just angry, she was downright spiteful and hateful. I felt this book had the opportunity to really go in and examine some serious and hard-to-discuss issues, but went for the melodrama and hatred instead.

  5. I really could have DNF’ed this one. Emma was a terrible person. I get that she was heartbroken over her mom. I truly get that. But she was awful to her stepfather and he was the only reason I even finished the book. That and I wanted to know about the baby. The romance? Ugh, it was clearly a romance out of convenience which ticks me off mightily.

    I was so bummed about this book as I had moved heaven & earth to obtain an ARC of it and then it didn’t deliver.

    Alexia @ Adventures in Reading recently posted: Review: Knowing Jack by Rachel Curtis
  6. I was actually considering adding this book to my to-reads list, so I’m glad I read your review first. This book doesn’t sound like it’s my type. An unlikable main character, not to mention a disgusting, hateful one, totally destroys any book no matter how great the plot is.

    D. @ The Nerdy Journalist recently posted: If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
  7. Oh no! I was totally looking forward to this one. :/ Now maybe I’ll avoid it. The synopsis sounds like it has so much potential. And I definitely agree with you that that is exactly what a mother would want: to save her child, even if it meant being in a vegetable state on life support for nine months. Bummer! Sorry you didn’t like this one.

    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted: Moving In: An Airline Nightmare
  8. It sounds like the author could have done a much better job of humanizing Emma. That’s a risk, when your MC is unlikable, but it seems from what you said, that Emma goes way beyond that. Too bad, because the premise DOES sound good. I read one other book by this author and decided she wasn’t for me.

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