Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: My Beating Teenage Heart

My Beating Teenage Heart 

Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Pages: 288
Publisher: Random House for Young Readers
Source: Library
Synopsis: Ashlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing—no memories, no self—and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a sea of stars. Is she in a coma? She doesn't remember dying, and she has no memories of the life she left behind. All she knows is that she's trapped in a consciousness without a body and she's spending every moment watching a stranger. 

 Breckon Cody's on the edge. He's being ripped apart by grief so intense it literally hurts to breathe. On the surface, Breckon is trying to hold it together for his family and his girlfriend, but underneath he's barely hanging on. 

 Even though she didn't know him in life, Ashlyn sees Breckon's pain, and she's determined to find a way help him. As her own distressing memories emerge from the darkness, she struggles to communicate with the boy who can't see her, but whose life is suddenly intertwined with hers. In alternating voices of the main characters, My Beating Teenage Heart paints a devastatingly vivid picture of both the heartbreak and the promise of teenage life—a life Ashlyn would do anything to recover and Breckon seems desperate to destroy—and will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, John Green, and David Levithan.

Buy the Book (Amazon)

Initially, I wasn't very impressed with My Beating Teenage Heart. I didn't really care for the story or like the characters. What kept me reading was the emotion the author so successfully conveyed. I had tears in my eyes while reading.

The story is about death and grief. Breckon lost his sister and is struggling. Ashlyn is in this weird in between state where she's watching Breckon and trying to learn more about who she is. Both characters go through a lot, but Breckon's story had me far more upset. I think it was because his was actually happening while all Ashlyn had was memories. The way the characters dealt with grief was raw.

Nothing about this book felt cliché. This book is so different from other books. It feels like a contemporary novel, but there is a paranormal ghost/afterlife element. Ashlyn and Breckon don't fall in love. Ashlyn's identity isn't what you suspect. Breckon has real friends. It was so different in that way.

I couldn't deal with emotionally investing myself too much in this book. I was reading in public so a lot of the time I couldn't continue. The plot isn't exactly fast-paced but stuff does happen. It isn't in my taste but it made me cry. I feel full of contradictions when I think about this book. It's really weird, but I think I enjoy it. You don't have to like every story you read. Sometimes you can say "This was a good story to read" without liking the story. The darkness in the story, as well as the hope makes me happy I read it.

Overall, I recommend My Beating Teenage Heart for those who enjoy emotional stories that promise hope. It's a hard story to read, but rewarding. 3.5 stars,

*** & 1/2 *

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