Review: Heart to Heart by Lurlene McDaniel

Heart to Heart by Lurlene McDanielTitle: Heart to Heart
Author:  Lurlene McDaniel
Format: Paperback
Genre:  YA
Source:  Personal Copy
Published:  June 8th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

From Goodreads.comFrom 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.

Lurlene McDaniel was a favorite of mine in Junior High and early High School. I read her One Last Wish books on a family vacation and was in love – I guess I’ve always loved a book with a good cry! I occasionally still lurk the shelves at my local bookstore, looking to see if there are any of her books I haven’t read. For some reason, last week Heart to Heart jumped out at me.

Now, before I continue with my review I feel that I need to share a bit of my personal experience. Six years ago, my dad had a heart transplant. So often, when I read books about the subject I am overly skeptical. (And don’t get me started on Grey’s Anatomy when Denny had the LVAD!!) I tried to keep my personal experiences at bay and enjoy this book, but there were definite moments when I was biting my tongue.

Heart to Heart is a quick read at 214 pages, told from two POV’s, Kassey and Arabeth. Kassey is dealing with the death of her best friend, Elowyn. Arabeth happens to be the recipient of Elowyns heart. And while the premise is simple and the story is short, Lurlene McDaniel packs a quite a bit into the pages.

Not only is Kassey experiencing the tragedy of her best friends death she also has to deal with the possible emergence of feelings for Elowyns boyfriend – Wyatt- and the reappearance of her long absent father. She builds a friendship with Arabeth that is at first based upon the desire to keep her friends heart close, but develops into much more.

Arabeth’s story (in my opinion) was a little more simplistic – she’s received a heart transplant and mostly just plays a role of helping Kassey come to terms with her life as it is. Both with Elowyns death and with her fathers reappearance.

I enjoyed Heart to Heart, and for the most part the medical storylines were spot on! Although Arabeths episode of rejection seemed a bit quick and simple, and the explanation left a bit to be desired in accordance with my personal experiences. But those were minor aspects and easy to overlook. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed I didn’t tear up even once, as I have become accustomed to with McDaniels’ books. I would recommend this for anyone looking for a simple and sweet read.

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