22 August 2010

In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat
Loretta Ellsworth

I know I love tons of books - in fact, most of the books I blog about are 'favorites', but this one really is top of the line.  It's so good, I've already ordered it for the library where I'm working - it's on my very first book order! (Exciting!!!!)

In a Heartbeat follows two girls:  Eagan and Amelia as their lives change forever.  Eagan is a sixteen year old figure skating phenom who dies in a tragic skating accident.  Amelia is the fourteen year old recipient of Eagan's heart.  The book follows Eagan as she makes sense of the afterlife, and follows Amelia as she deals with the guilt and joy associated with her new heart.  When Ameila starts to crave grape lollipops and wants to learn to skate, she feels inexplicably compelled to find her donor's family.  But the question remains, will Eagan's family want to meet her?  What was Eagan like?  And can Amelia help with the sorrow they feel at their sudden loss, or will her presence in their lives bring back difficult memories?

One of the things I loved about this book were its many great lines.  So many thought provoking ideas coming from teenagers - and they were things only a teenager could think of.  One of my favorites:  "But the fact remained that someone had to die for me to live...and every night at dinner, when my family prayed for a new heart for me, we were praying for that to happen."  Though the book is intended for middle to high school readers, it isn't fluffy.  It deals with big issues.  Amelia really struggles with her 'gift' and Eagan is forced to look back on her life and realize there is more to it than what she could see as a teenager - something we all tend to do as adults (hopefully) - you know, realizing that our parents aren't just 'being mean', seeing their struggles and understanding the sacrifice they made for us.    Unfortunately, Eagan didn't get the chance to make amends before she died, and that's a tough lesson that kids (and adults) need to learn or at least think about.  Hopefully, after reading this book, more people will consider becoming organ donors.  Though there is tragedy involved with it, it is an amazing gift that so many people benefit from.

For more information on organ donation, please visit http://organdonor.gov/

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