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Book reviews are a great way to see what other teens thought of new books at the library! We post them in their entirety here. This one comes from Tower Teen Desiree:
Sixteen-year-old Elowyn Eden is thrilled, as is any teen, to get her driver's license and a brand new car to go along with it. However, her new ride ultimately becomes the instrument of her demise - and the vehicle of life for fifteen-year-old Arabeth St. Clair, who has been sick her entire life and in need of a heart transplant for many years. The novel Heart to Heart by Lurlene McDaniel explores love, loss, renewal, and the ways in which these complex bonds within families and between friends are tested at life's most challenging moments.
Kassey and Elowyn met in seventh grade and instantly became best friends forever. No arguments or even a high school boyfriend relationship can break their bond. When Elowyn is killed in a senseless car accident, her family and friends are left with their grief. However, Elowyn's transplanted heart renews the life of Arabeth, whose newfound health also brings some sudden and uncanny similarities in behavior and expressions with her donor. The concept of the "cellular memory" phenomenon is brought up, and the eerie connections between Elowyn and Arabeth tantalize Elowyn's parents, Kassey, and others in the story. As Arabeth struggles with identity and healing, the role she now plays in the lives of the bereaved, especially Elowyn's mother, threatens to overwhelm her.
This book was a very touching story that really captured the essence of the emotion of losing someone. When Kassey was visiting Elowyn in the hospital, her "throat filled with a million things to say, but [her] voice couldn't make its way out." Elowyn's mother, Terri, "pulled [Kassey] into her arms, held on so tight...and whispered 'You were like a sister to her'" (46). This book is a tear-jerker, but it's very realistic and deals with real-life situations that happen every day to people who must struggle with them. I could never imagine one of my best friends passing away and having to live life without him or her. However, I feel this book can really help people who have lost a loved one because the characters' actions show how to mend a broken heart, such as making scrapbooks to preserve memories.
I would definitely recommend this book for others to read! With all the ups and downs, this book will keep readers hooked until the bittersweet conclusion. As Elowyn and Kassey sit in the grass watching fireworks, Kassey struggled "not to get teary eyed" as she sat next to the "girl who sheltered [her] best friend's heart (148). After reading this quote, I couldn't put the book down because I wanted to know how Kassey would survive without her best friend. Not only does the book shed light on the positives of organ donation, it also touches upon the very live topic in the news and throughout society today: the potential consequences of texting while driving. Overall, I find the novel uplifting, enlightening and although it does leave an ache in the one's soul for the loss of one life, it also makes one's heart soar at the opportunities opened up for another. - Desiree