Publication date: January 28th, 2014
Synopsis: Life. Death. And...Love?
Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.
But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.
Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.
Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?
What I Thought:
Elizabeth Scott writes great characters. Emma and Caleb were really easy to love. Things for both of them were so rough and even though their situations were different, their grief and feelings of being alone brought them together. I loved the emphasis on how things were different for both Emma and Caleb pre-and pos-deaths. I understood why Emma tried to keep Olivia away from what was going on in the hospital with her mom. I saw Emma as someone struggling to deal with the loss of her mother and her family and trying not to lose herself completely. I love that Emma knew she couldn't save Caleb but that she wasn't going to write him off and let him go either. I loved getting to know Caleb and finding out why he went from being a decent guy to all of a sudden not being able to stand himself. I know everyone deals with grief differently, but I really did not like his parents. I also didn't like Dan, Emma's stepfather for the majority of the book; the liking only occurred for a page or two and when you read it you'll see where my emotions softened towards him. I did like that he kept trying to reach Emma even though he was saying and doing the wrong things.
Talk about a book that raises lots of questions and emotions. I've been lucky enough to not have experienced grief first hand so far. I have lost people I love and care deeply for, but their deaths have occurred when I was at a great physical distance and so unexpectedly that I wasn't able to see them one last time. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for families and loved ones who've been told that their loved one is brain dead. I understand from a medical viewpoint, but how do you connect what you've been told with what you actually see? And especially the devastation when you've already lost your partner but now stand to lose your unborn child too? I started reading this book knowing my heart was going to hurt and I was going to ugly cry. Both happened but it wasn't a bad thing and while I did tear up and sniffle, the dreaded ugly cry did not happen.
Lately there have been a few cases involving brain dead pregnant mothers that have been making national headlines, as well as children who have become brain dead. Reading this story made what the families and loved ones are experiencing so much more real. I don't know what I would do if I was in that situation or even what I would want if I was the one lying in that hospital bed having my fate and my baby's being decided for us. It's certainly something to think about.
I am really impressed with this book. I would've liked for it to be longer so that any incompleteness and slight disconnect I felt, wouldn't have happened, but who knows there may be a sequel or a novella that fills in those gaps. Either way, I am really looking forward to seeing what Elizabeth Scott writes about next. I'm sure it's going to be thought provoking and emotional.