March 2014, Mira Ink, 257 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Themes: suspended death, family relations, family ties, grief, pushing people away, telling the truth, hospitals, other people have problems, being a rebel, getting back on track
Content: Some moderate teen romance, lots of mixed emotions, a box of tissues is needed
Summary from Elizabeth's website (Mira Ink website was down at time of writing the review)
Since her mother's sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward--because her mother is, in a way, still there. She's being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her. Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important--grades, crushes, college plans--Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her--Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma's own. 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?
I raced through this book. Somehow Emma's plight is captivating. I felt so sorry for all the mixed emotions that she endured and how she struggled to cope with everything being so abnormal. She makes a huge effort not to do anything that she did before her mother died to try and avoid hurting, but that only delays the inevitable breakdown.
How she makes up with Dan is easy to relate to and ever so realistic. It isn't all happiness and light when their true feelings are aired-there is an awkwardness that remains but that is what is so real. People don't instantly forgive one another when they mess up. They still can be angry/upset with them, just as Emma is. I loved how Olivia was always there for Emma, even when she was horrid, and how they had the special roof thing.
The Caleb situation was understandable but not my focus on the story. His truth was even sadder than Emma's. Grief does funny things to people. With the loss of my grandfather still very recent (April 2014) I choked up countless times during this inspiring emotional tale, which I'm not going to be able to read again as it's intense, but one I recommend to everyone. I didn't dislike anything in particular, it just wasn't a perfect read for me,
Find out more on Elizabeth's website.
For another teen struggling with grief check out Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott (Children's, 11 years +, 10E/10E) - you will need tissues!