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Heart to Heart
Cover of Heart to Heart
Heart to Heart
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From Lurlene McDaniel, the bestselling author of young adult inspirational fiction, comes Heart to Heart. This emotionally charged novel explores loss, love, renewal, and the ways in which these...
From Lurlene McDaniel, the bestselling author of young adult inspirational fiction, comes Heart to Heart. This emotionally charged novel explores loss, love, renewal, and the ways in which these...
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  • From Lurlene McDaniel, the bestselling author of young adult inspirational fiction, comes Heart to Heart. This emotionally charged novel explores loss, love, renewal, and the ways in which these complex bonds within families and between friends are tested at life's most challenging moments. Elowyn Eden and Kassey Messechek are best friends. They share every aspect of their lives. But one thing Elowyn has not yet shared with Kassey is that she checked the organ donor box on her newly acquired driver's license. Kassey only learns of this in a startling and devastating way—when Elowyn's life-giving donor wishes are about to be honored. Arabeth St. Clair has not had the luck to have a best friend. Due to her diseased heart, she's led a sheltered life. When Arabeth is sixteen, she and her mother receive the call that will change their lives—but they don't know to whom they should be forever grateful. When the worlds of these three girls and their families intersect, lives are changed in ways never imagined. Most especially, it is Kassey who sees things differently, for she can keep alive the memory of her dear friend by sharing the renewed life of another teenage girl, while helping to ease the pain of the two families involved and coming to terms with her own. 

Excerpts-

  • From the book 1  
    Kassey    
    Elowyn Eden and I became best friends.   We met the summer before were were going into seventh grade, when we were hospital roommates in the orthopedic wing, waiting for the same surgeon to fix broken bones. I'd busted up my arm playing volleyball (my favorite sport), and Elowyn had done a numberon her left leg skating. She asked me, "Are you scared?"   "About the operation? Not a bit," I said, then dropped my water pitcher because my hands were shaking so much I couldn't pour water into a cup. The pitcher splatted on the floor, and after we watched the water spread everywhere, Elowyn raised an imaginarymicrophone and said, "Cleanup on aisle four."   We started laughing and couldn't stop. Hours later, we'd talked ourselves hoarse, only stopping long enough to eat dinner. Elowyn and her parents had just moved from South Carolina to Alpharetta, a suburb of Atlanta and my hometown since Mom and Dad splitwhen I was three. Turned out Elowyn lived in a gated garden-home community five blocks over from our house. "So tell me what I'm facing at my new school," she demanded.   We were going to be in the same middle school, so I gave her an earful about who was who and what was what of the kids I knew would be our classmates. She took notes on a hospital napkin. That was so Elowyn—she made lists and took notes like nobody I'dever met. By the time we left the hospital, we were each wearing a cast signed with the other's name and phone number. She called first, and because I was more mobile than she was, Mom took me to her house a few days later.   Her room was awesome! Her mother—"Call me Terri, not Mrs. Eden," she insisted with a smile—was an artsy-craftsy type, and the whole house looked like something out of a decorating magazine, with lots of bright walls and piles of pretty pillows. Elowyn'sroom had hand-painted vines and fields of flowers growing up the walls. The room was blue and yellow, the flowers pale purple. My house was beige; my room seemed dreary. I'd hung posters, but the space was quite bland.   "It's supposed to be the French countryside," Elowyn said. "France is my favorite place in the world. So romantic. I'm going to Paris on my honeymoon."   "Are you getting married anytime soon?" I joked.   "Someday_._._._and he'll be so handsome. Maybe I'll meet a French exchange student and marry him."   I hadn't thought about getting married to anybody, much less someone from a particular country. I walked to the wall and touched the painted flowers. They looked so real. "What kind of flowers?"   "Lavender. Can't you just see whole fields of it? And I love the way it smells. It's my favorite perfume." She spritzed the air with a bottle from her dresser, and the scent was wonderful.   Elowyn seemed so grown-up to me. I didn't have a special fragrance except for the strawberry-scented shampoo I used. I kept looking around her perfect bedroom. "Your mom's talented."   "That's true. She's one of a kind, but it's my daddy who understands me best."   Elowyn's dad was a lawyer, a Southern man who said goofy things like "Don't get off the porch if you can't run with the big dogs" and "Wake up and smell the coffee." I didn't get the point of most of his sayings, but one thing I did get: Elowyn had himwrapped around her little finger. He called her Sugar Plum. I admit, the one thing I ever envied about Elowyn was her relationship with her dad, because I'd grown up with mine long gone.   My mom was a claims adjuster for a huge insurance company and worked long hours, so we were both happy when I fell in with Elowyn and had someplace to hang. I'd grown up with Mom working and me going...

About the Author-

  • Lurlene McDaniel is the foremost author of inspirational fiction for young adults. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2010

    Gr 6-10-After her best friend, Elowyn, is in a fatal car accident, Kassey finds out that Elowyn registered to be a donor while receiving her new driver's license. Her death brings new life to Arabeth, who has been on the heart-transplant list for years. As Kassey attempts to come to terms with her grief, Arabeth begins to realize that Elowyn may not be completely gone. She finds herself suddenly sharing the same intense passions as the deceased, right down to the same boyfriend and best friend. As she tries to reclaim her life, Kassey and Elowyn's family cling to the hope that she still exists in the heart of this new girl. The concept of cellular memory, where organ recipients retain knowledge, skills, or feelings of the organ's original owner, is fascinating. Unfortunately, McDaniel doesn't fully delve into the details of the concept. Instead, the book focuses on the drama and angst created by the situation, which is still enough to keep some readers interested. Kassey and Arabeth are realistic teens, and even secondary characters are rounded out and interesting. The story, although a bit melodramatic, moves quickly and makes for a satisfying read. Give this to fans of McDaniel's work or anyone who enjoys a good cry.-Jessie Spalding, Tempe Public Library, AZ

    Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2010
    Grades 7-10 Best friends forever, Kassey and Elowyn met in seventh grade, and not even high-school boyfriend relationships can shake their bond. When Elowyn is killed in a senseless car accident, her loved ones are left with their grief. But Elowyns transplanted heart renews the life of Arabeth, whose newfound health also brings some sudden and uncanny parallels in behavior and expressions with her donor. Is part of Elowyns personality now embedded in Arabeth? The prospect of the cellular memory phenomenon crops up, and the eerie connections between Elowyn and Arabeth tantalize Elowyns parents, Kassey, and others. As Arabeth struggles with identity and healing, the role she now plays in the lives of the bereavedespecially Elowyns motherthreatens to overwhelm her. Reason eventually triumphs, and life takes a hopeful turn in McDaniels wrenching page-turner that is sure to please fans.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)

  • Booklist

    "A wrenching page-turner."

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    Random House Children's Books
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