Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Penguin (Speak)
Ellen loves Link and James. Her older brother and his best friend are the only company she ever wants. She knows they fight, but she makes it a policy never to take sides. She loves her brother, the math genius and track star. And she is totally, madly in love with James, with his long eyelashes and hidden smiles. "When you grow out of it," James teases her, "you will break my heart." Then someone at school asks if Link and James might be in love with each other. A simple question. But the answer is far from simple, and its repercussions affect their entire lives. This extraordinary, multiple award-winning novel is funny, heartbreaking, and messy--just like its characters, just like life.
This book kind of surprised me. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.
My Heartbeat is about Ellen and her brother Link and Link’s best friend James. Only, maybe James isn’t only his best friend. Link and James have been friends forever, really close, and spend practically all their time together. Which makes some people wonder if, maybe, they aren’t only friends. When someone mentions this to her, she starts wondering, and can’t stop, and then things get messy when she asks them about it.
I don’t want to spoil things too much, but things didn’t get messy in the way that I expected them to. It was interesting to me how things got messy, and while it didn’t quite feel right, as in it gave me uneasy feelings, things kind of worked themselves out.
I liked Ellen, and found her relationship with James to be interesting. I also liked Link. At first, I was unsure of him, and felt a little sorry for him, and while I still kind of do, he surprised me a little. He didn’t do quite what I expected, even if he did do something that wasn’t too big a surprise. I was hoping he would go a step further, and I really wanted to see if he was going to accept what he was feeling, if it really was what he was feeling. I think, overall, I just wanted to know more about Link. I wouldn’t have minded getting in his head for a bit.
There are some gay messages in here, but not really in the way I was expecting. I liked Ellen’s mother’s take on it, but not her father’s, at all. I didn't much like her brother reaction about it, either. And I really enjoyed, and respected, what Ellen did about it. She didn’t shy away from any of it, she was honest to herself about what she thought about her father and her brother, and I really liked that she went out and did some research on the subject when she realized she knew very little about it.
She did comment on how it’s not really that big a deal anymore, and she didn’t understand why her brother and father were afraid of it. And, while I really liked those thoughts, I didn’t really agree. I mean, this was published back in 2002, and things still haven’t really cleared up on whether it’s a big deal or not. A lot of people still think it is.
I rather enjoyed this book. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t what I expected, and I wanted more from it, but I enjoyed it.