Add it: Goodreads
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
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.Fair warning: If you decide to pick up C.K. Kelly Martin's My Beating Teenage Heart (which you totally should if you happen to be into thoughtful, emotional reads) you may be confused at the beginning. That's okay -- just stick with it and all will be revealed.
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.
Perhaps you'll be more like me, though. I was way too preoccupied with this book's gorgeous, gorgeous prose to be curious about what the heck was going on. It is lyrical and sometimes brutal in the way that it treats sensitive issues, but so, so worth it in the end.
Breckon is struggling. He is trying to keep a hold on his life, but ever since the death of a loved family member, it has been spinning wildly out of his control. The way that Martin deals with death, as well as other issues, is heart-achingly realistic. She approaches the subjects and the consequent reactions people have to the events with unflinching honesty. I feel like I should add too that I don't really have much personal experience with death (other than my great-grandmother a few years ago) but could still feel Breckon's pain.
Although the story is very much Breckon's, Ashlyn's narrative takes up approximately half of the book. Ashlyn was essentially helpless in what she could do for the larger portion of the novel. She is forced to watch Breckon's struggles, to see the harm he is doing to himself and to his friends. I wish there had been a bit more of a look into Ashlyn's life before 'meeting' Breckon but that's one of my only complaints. We do get to see a bit of history -- which I loved! -- I just wish there was more.
Raw and powerful, My Beating Teenage Heart is an emotional look at how to live through death.
Cover Comments: Meh. A little too bland for me, I think.
4 stars out of a possible 5