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My Beating Teenage Heart
Cover of My Beating Teenage Heart
My Beating Teenage Heart
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No one asks if you want to be born, and no one tells you when you die either. Ashlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing--no memories, no self--and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a...
No one asks if you want to be born, and no one tells you when you die either. Ashlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing--no memories, no self--and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a...
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Description-

  • No one asks if you want to be born, and no one tells you when you die either. 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 that 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 breathe. On the surface, Breckon is trying to hold it together for his family and his girlfriend, but underneath it all, he's barely holding on. In alternating voices of the main characters, My Beating Teenage Heart paints a devastatingly vivid picture of both the heartbreak and promise of teenage life.

    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-

  • Chapter One

    Don't look back. Don't let the darkness inside you.

    If I'm talking to myself, there must be a me. That in itself is a revelation. I exist. The second before was starkly empty and now I'm swimming with celestial stars. They're as silent as stones but they shimmer, glimmer and shine. I think . . . I think I can hear them after all but not in a way I've heard anything before.

    The sound isn't music and it's not whispers. I don't have words to describe it. If teardrops, blinding sunshine and limitless knowledge combined to make a noise, it would be the one the stars hum while I fl oat amongst them. I don't know much, but this is something I'm certain I'm learning for the fi rst time: the stars know things that we don't and they always have.

    And then, just as my mind begins to expand with questions
    --who am I?
    --where is this?
    --how am I . . .

    I'm falling, plummeting through the glittering darkness at a speed that would normally make your stomach drop. Instinct kicks in and makes me throw out my hands to break my fall. Only, I don't have any--no hands and no stomach either. The fear of falling exists in my consciousness and nowhere else. There's nothing I can do to stop my descent. Beneath me continents of light beam their brightness as I speed towards them.

    Catch me, stars. Help me.

    But they're not stars, as it turns out. They're the lights you see from a jumbo jet when you're coming in for a night landing. They make civilization appear minuscule and for some reason that makes me want to sob but I can't do that either. No hands, no stomach, no tears.

    What happens when I hit bottom?

    I'm so close now that I can spy individual cars, streetlamps, house lights left on.

    Is someone, someplace, waiting for me, leaving the light on?
    Where am I supposed to be?

    A pointed suburban roof reaches up to meet me, and if I have no body, surely there are no bones to shatter, no damage to fear, but my consciousness fl inches anyway. It quakes and tries to yank whoever or whatever I am away from the solid mass shooting up underneath me.

    In the split second it takes to realize I've failed, I'm already through the ceiling. Inside, falling still. Falling . . . and then not.

    I don't crash. I don't even touch down. All I can do is stare into the pair of blinking eyes below me. They're not even a foot away. They're the distance you hold yourself from someone when you're on your way to a kiss. I don't remember my own kisses but I remember the concept the same way I remember what a roof or a jumbo jet is. I remember romance, yearning, love and hate in a way that has nothing to do with me. Maybe I've never been in love--or maybe it's happened a hundred times but so very long ago that I've forgotten each of them. I can't decide which idea is sadder.

    The eyes open and close as I stare at them. His eyes. The white boy's. They're not staring back at me, but looking clean through. If I had a body I'd estimate it was hovering just above his, toe to toe and head to head with him.

    It's night and we're cloaked in darkness, the two of us.

    But he's the only one who's truly here. Here. Wherever that is. I'd move if I could, give him the space he doesn't realize he's lacking. I feel awkward, embarrassed about all I can see from here--his pores, his nose hairs, a cracking bottom lip that could use lip balm--even though he doesn't appear to have a clue he's being spied upon. But there's nothing I can do about it. I'm like a camera, picking up images but not in control of angles or focal length.

    So I watch the boy's...

About the Author-

  • C.K. KELLY MARTIN is the critically acclaimed author of I Know It's Over, One Lonely Degree, and The Lighter Side of Life and Death. She lives in the Toronto area with her husband.You can visit her website and blog at: www.ckkellymartin.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 1, 2011
    Caught in limbo, 15-year-old Ashlyn's spirit hovers over a teenager she doesn't know. The reason she is connected to Breckon, bereft over the death of his seven-year-old sister, is a mystery at first, but Ashlyn senses that it is her mission to save him. Through alternating points of view, Martin (The Lighter Side of Life and Death) explores the woeful stories of both teenagers. Breckon, wracked with guilt, starts injuring himself and grows dependent on sleeping pills, while Ashlyn gradually recovers memories of her life, including some disturbing revelations late in the book. This novel, which may be too bleak for some readers, focuses more on Ashlyn and Breckon's regrets and yearning than on their healing; the characters' voices are distinct, but Ashlyn's feels more overdone than believable ("I miss the beat of my heart.... I miss being able to swing my hips to the pounding beat of the latest chart-topping dance hit"). The book's permeating sadness will likely be felt more sharply than both characters' redemption during the somewhat strained conclusion. Ages 14–up.

  • Quill & Quire "C.K. Kelly Martin once again showcases her talent for putting the emphasis on character-driven narrative. . . . [My Beating Teenage Heart will] keep the target audience reading until the end."

Title Information+

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    PRH Canada Young Readers
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