By Garret Freymann-Weyr
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Hardcover, 9780618141814, 160pp.)
Publication Date: April 2002
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Ellen loves Link and James. Her older brother and his best friend are the only company she ever wants. She knows they fight, but she makes it a policy never to take sides. She loves her brother, the math genius and track star. She is totally, madly in love with James, his face full of long eyelashes and hidden smiles. When you grow out of it,” James teases her, you will break my heart.”
Ellen knows she’ll never outgrow it. She’ll always love James just the way she’ll always love Link. Then someone at school asks if Link and James might be in love with each other. A simple question.
Link refuses to discuss it. James refuses to stay friends with a boy so full of secrets. Ellen’s parents want Link to keep his secrets to himself, but Ellen wants to know who her brother really is. When is curiosity a betrayal? And if James says he loves her, isn’t that just another way of saying he still loves Link?
My Heartbeat is a fast, furious story in which a quirky triangle learns to change its shape and Ellen, at least, learns the limits of what you can ever know about whom you love.
Garret Freymann-Weyr is the author of My Heartbeat, a Printz Honor book, as well as Stay with Me, The Kings Are all Here, and When I Was Older. She lives in North Carolina.
"Narrator Ellen learns about love, family and 'society's unwritten rules' in this sophisticated but gentle novel." Publishers Weekly, Starred
"A tightly constructed novel about love, family, and the ambiguities of sexual identity." School Library Journal, Starred
"Freyman-Weyr writes an astonishing combination of delicacy and clarity of the genuine complexity of family (and all) relationships." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred
"Freymann-Weyr sets up a riveting love triangle. As in the author's first novel, When I Was Older, one of the standout qualities is the protagonist's fresh, vital tone." Horn Book, Starred
"The fast, clipped dialog will sweep teens into the story, as will Ellen’s immediate first-person, present-tense narrative, 'curious, careful, kind, and intense.' The family dynamics are just as compelling as the love and friendship drama, especially Ellen’s bewilderment about the unwritten laws that can make people strangers even within the family they love." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"...it will engage teen readers to the very last page." Kirkus Reviews