There are times when Heather, Aly & I finish a book, but don’t have time to write a full, comprehensive review… or even a shorter “flashbulb” review. BUT we still want to share our thoughts with you on what we’ve been reading. That’s why every Saturday we’ll be featuring 3 “snippet” reviews — short, sweet, to-the-point reviews that we’ll try to keep to 2-7 sentences. So we hope you enjoy these!!
I had an extremely mixed reaction to Heartbeat. On the one hand this book smacked me straight in the feels. Emma’s situation is so horribly, unfairly tragic, and I cried buckets for this girl who misses her mother, who lost her mother, who visits her mother’s pregnant body every day in the hospital as if there was hope that her mother might miraculously recover. On the other hand, this book lacked a sense of completeness and growth as Emma’s climactic “aha!” moment lacked… something. I mean I realize that a lot of what happens in this book is just life. Sometimes the most groundbreaking realizations are simple ones we’ve chosen to ignore; our epiphanies aren’t typically accompanied by triumphant orchestral fanfare. I’m not saying I necessarily needed a flash-bang-boom-EPIPHANY kind of moment, but still… I wish it had been slightly more climactic.
Also, Emma’s character bugged me a bit. (An aside: As I have never lost someone on the scale of what Emma has lost, that undoubtedly will color my further comments. I in no way mean to be judgmental or cruel or flippant about the grief of losing a loved one. I’m trying to look at it from the standpoint of storytelling, not necessarily life as it happens. So if you’re thinking “she just doesn’t get it.” You’re right. I don’t fully grasp all that loss entails. So just take my comments with a grain of salt. That said…) I can, in a sense, understand the almost obsessive nature of grief and the withdrawn, inner-focus that losing a loved one might bring on. But that said, Emma’s thoughts, rationale, and overall stream of consciousness was incredibly repetitive, retreading old ground again and again without much progress. And while her anger is also completely understandable, her blindly stubborn hatred of her stepfather also got a bit wearing after a while. Still, that’s life, I suppose. Grief isn’t pretty, but in my opinion a story should keep moving forward. For me, Emma’s single-mindedly stubborn refusal to do anything but vilify her stepfather and her repetitious inner monologue stalled the forward momentum a bit, both in regard to the overall plot and the emotional impact. I did appreciate however the authenticity of Emma’s character and how Scott made her a character that’s somewhat unlikable (at this particular stage of her life), but at the same time, also a character I was rooting for. I wanted to see Emma restore certain relationships, to have some sense of closure for her mother; I didn’t want to see her hurt, broken, or fall into more self-destructive patterns.
And I suppose I ought to mention Caleb. A fantastic character. I wish there had been slightly more growth for him, but I liked his character and where Scott took him from beginning to end.
Overall, while I had a some issues with it, Heartbeat is a moving story about family, grief, healing and forgiveness.
I thought that the dystopian genre had sort of been saturated. All the stories were starting to sound similar and honestly a little boring…until I found Pawn. This story was so unique. The characters were rich and compelling, the story was well developed, and the plot complex yet tight.
It was an adventure with a lot of political intrigue. Now, in real life, I hate politics. Nothing will get me to leave a room faster than people talking politics, but in a book…with no real world consequences and no actual people dealing with the ramifications…I’m sucked in like an old lady with a bad soap opera.
This was totally a mind game book. The main character, Kitty Doe, is trapped as the pawn of the most powerful people on Earth. They would just as soon shoot her as put up with any rebellion on her part, so she has to play a delicate game of intrigue and walks a fine line between controlling the situation and getting herself killed. The whole book felt like a giant game of chess.
Overall, Pawn was thoroughly enjoyable. I can’t wait to see what happens next!