Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, popular varsity soccer star Emmi comes down with an ordinary virus. But when she doesn't bounce back as always, she gets the worst possible news--she's had myocarditis that's destroyed her heart, putting her into congestive heart failure. This formerly energetic teen can now barely walk across a room without having to stop and rest. And the prognosis is bleak: without a heart transplant, she'll die in a matter of months. It's only her growing friendship with Abe, the funny, smart boy she meets in the cardiac clinic that finally cheers her up. But difficult questions race through her mind while she waits: Will she get a heart in time? Will she even survive the surgery? What if her body rejects the heart? When tragedy strikes close to home, Emmi must rely even more on her inner strength in order to carry on. (YA - Fiction)
Change of Heart is an interesting story. It takes a very serious subject matter (heart failure), but treats it in a way that isn’t overly saccharin or manipulative. In fact some readers may have difficulty relating to Emmi – a girl who is suffering from congestive heart failure and is awaiting a heart transplant. Emmi doesn’t react like most MC’s would in this situation. She isn’t sweet and reflective. She was a popular, athletic teenager and she wants her life back damn it! And she’s mad that her friends get to go on living theirs, doing all the things she should be doing. She sometimes acts like a brat and I liked her for it. I felt this was a more realistic portrayal of a teenager going through something like this. It must be frustrating to see life moving on without you while you can’t even walk to the car without getting winded. Life moves on – friends move on.
She does have her best friend, Becca and boyfriend, Sam by her side through the ordeal and she meets Abe, a fellow transplant survivor and one of the few people that she can share her true fears and feelings to.
This story also shows how it is for those supporting the patient. It’s not always easy for the parent, the sibling, the boyfriend, the best friend. I appreciated how Maurer touched on all those issues.
My one complaint would be that there are a few events that take place, that while understandable, are so sudden that they took me by surprise. I think maybe an added conversation or two to show there were issues brewing between certain characters would have helped it make more sense to me. It’s hard to get into specifics without a spoiler but I will say that it isn’t anything that affects the overall story and Change of Heart is still a worthwhile read. However, this one plot point left me frustrated. Since this is Emmi’s story, I couldn’t get into the other characters heads to find out what happened and it was resolved a little too quickly and neatly for my tastes.
Loved: While Emmi isn’t your typical kind hearted girl, it made sense to me and I liked her.
Nitpick: A few plot lines felt rushed near the end.
Rating: 3 out of 4 Touching debut novel and I look forward to reading more of Shari's work in the future.
Authors Website: Shari Maurer
Buy the book! Change of Heart
Shari is a member of the Class of 2K10: http://www.classof2k10.com/. Go check out what's coming up next!
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