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Friday, October 7, 2011

"My Beating Teenage Heart" by C.K. Kelly Martin

Release Date: September 27th, 2011
Publisher: Random House
Age Group: Young Adult

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.
Breckon Cody's on the edge. He's being ripped apart by grief so intense it literally hurts to breath. 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.

I didn't know what to expect going into this book. The premise had me so intrigued and I couldn't wait to pick it up. We start out with Ashlyn as she first comes upon Breckon and starts observing his life. In the beginning Ashlyn thinks she is having a dream and doesn't realize the things she is witnessing are really happening to Breckon and his family. In fact Ashlyn doesn't really remember anything about who she is or what happened to her. Breckon's family has experienced a recent tragedy and he's having a really hard time coping with what happened. He keeps to himself, pushes people away and has started behaving a little out of character. Of course, the only one who knows everything that is going on with Breckon is Ashlyn, because she is sort of tied to him and ends up observing everything that is going on in his life. She is desperate to help him, but without being able to communicate with him she can only sit and watch.

As the story goes on Ashlyn also starts to remember things about her family and her life, slowly filling in the blanks of her memory. She really wants to go to see her family, but since she can't seem to leave Breckon, she assumes there must be a reason that she is observing his life. I really liked the character of Breckon. Sure he wasn't behaving the most rationally throughout the book, but given the circumstances it was understandable. He was a well fleshed out character and by the end of the book I really felt for him. He had such a great support system, too, even if he didn't always appreciate them. I liked Ashlyn, but since she was more of an observer than a character going through their own story, I didn't feel like I got to know her quite as well.

This one had an emotional ending and certainly caused a few tears for me, but I think it was a perfect ending for the story. You get some good resolution all around. I would probably classify this as a contemporary, but some of the things almost seemed a little paranormal. It's a great story about love, life and loss that I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a great story with lots of emotion.

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