Middle Grade Review: Heartbeat, by Sharon Creech


Title: Heartbeat
Author: Sharon Creech; Narrated by Mandy Siegfried
Publisher: HarperFestival Audio, 2004 (Original by Harper Collins, 2004; 208 pages).
Source: Library digital collection

12-year-old Annie loves to run. Not for the track team--definitely not for the track team!--but for the love of feeling her heart beat and her feet hit the ground. Running helps her cope in this year of change: her mother is pregnant, her grandfather is failing, and her best friend Max is even more grouchy than usual.

But between the rhythmic thumping of her heart and, oddly, the art-class assignment to draw an apple for 100 days, Annie learns to find the continuity in change.

Sharon Creech seldom disappoints, and this book is no exception. A short, sweet, story of a time of change (when is 12 ever not?) for Annie, the book offers no great insights into the world, but does offer some insights into living and being yourself. I thought that the apple was a brilliant touch, allowing Annie (and the reader) to see how through all sorts of change the apple retains its (pardon me) core essence. It's a lesson Annie is learning to apply to other things in her life, and the author doesn't ram it down the reader's throat--you have to see it for yourself.

The narration is good; i.e., nothing about it sticks in my mind. That tells me that the characters were adequately rendered and the reading largely transparent. There were no technical glitches or oddities.

The book doesn't give us huge issues or crises, making it suitable for younger readers, and if some of Annie's changes are specific to starting middle school, life changes at every age. I can recommend this for kids from 8 up. 

Full Disclosure: I checked Heartbeat out of my digital library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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