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My Beating Teenage Heart by C. K. Kelly…

My Beating Teenage Heart

by C. K. Kelly Martin

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497238,224 (3.5)1
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
One of my favorite bloggers, even though she doesn't blog much anymore, is Presenting Lenore. She's helping to host a twitter book club, the aim of which is to read books that are amazing but do not have nearly enough buzz. This is the first selection. Well, it definitely isn't well known enough, since I totally thought Yesterday was going to be Martin's debut. Apparently, she's written four books before that one.

The opening of My Beating Teenage Heart is quit alarming. You're thrown into some weird dream-state type thing with the heroine whose name you don't yet know. It's odd and mystical and it's hard to tell whether anything is real or a dream or what. Actually, the book continues to be this way. Ashlyn learns a bit about herself, but what she figures out results in more questions than answers. Breckon (we also get some chapters from his perspective) is mired in depression.

For me, this is one of those books where how much I likes it depended entirely on the explanation of what's going on. The writing is decent, but didn't especially resonate with me. The characters are both so whacked out on grief or confusion that I had trouble connecting to them. The plot is so strange, requiring some serious suspension of disbelief, but, if she pulled it off with the ending, it could definitely make the book epic.

Without a doubt, I can honestly say that My Beating Teenage Heart is unlike any YA book I've read before. It picks up steam very slowly, but, by the end, I was definitely engaged. For the first hundred or so pages, the melodrama of the narration irritated me, especially given the fogginess of Ashlyn's memory. Plus, she made so many assumptions that seemed strange to me.

Anyway, having now finished the book, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. On some levels, it was definitely really cool and thought provoking, and I'm certainly glad to have read it, but there were also aspects with which I did not reconcile. My main issue with the book I can't express to clearly without risking spoilers, but, basically, I do not get why Ashlyn's memory would ever work that way. However, on the plus side again, Martin can write the heck out of a steamy scene.

Looking at those labels at the bottom of the post, you might notice that they're not super happy times themes. Nor is the book at all light and fluffy. At all. Recommended to fans of Ilsa J. Bick and Laurie Halse Anderson. Although I didn't love this, I am now definitely looking forward to reading Yesterday more than I was before. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
What an interesting book! At first I was pretty confused to tell you the truth. My Beating Teenage Heart is about this boy, Breckon who has lost his sister and his journey through dealing with that, and Ashlyn, a girl who is watching over Breckon for reasons unknown to her.
Right away I feel bad for Breckon. The loss of his younger sister takes quite the toll on him and he's unsure how to act and get through this. Unfortunately, his family doesn't seem to be overly helpful at times because they are still coming to terms with things as well. For me, I really feel for characters who have to deal with situations like the death of a family member. Thankfully, I have never had to deal with anything like that and since I have a very tight knit family, I don't know what I would do if anything ever happened.
Along with Breckon's narration of My Beating Teenage Heart, we are reading through Ashlyn's point of view. She understands that she is either dead or in a coma, realizing something is wrong with her situation she tries her hardest to remember her life and memories. All while doing that, she is looking over Breckon, who is spiralling downward in his own attempt to deal, and trying to make him understand and realize that she is there for him. (Though she does not know why she's been sent to Breckon and not her own family).
I really did enjoy this book. The change of POV's between the two main characters was enjoyable. The story was original and C.K. Kelly Martin is a good writer. She can get the reader interested in her book and pull the reader in for more. For example, we know right away that Breckon's sister died, nothing is explained up front we just get little more information here and there and it isn't until the end that we really read what happened. Also, we wonder how Breckon and Ashlyn are connected, and it isn't until the end that we find out. But it's done in a way that the story is spread out, and we don't just get hit with a whack of explaination at the end, it's written so well that that doesn't happen.
Overall, My Beating Teenage Heart was a heartfelt read that I enjoyed. The story, the writing and the characters are all worth it, and made for an "unputdownble" book! ( )
  krystal_osmond | Feb 13, 2012 |
Um…I like the concept of Ashlyn’s part, but only the concept. Her story is actually mostly lame and boring. The connection with the guy is tenuous and not particularly interesting. His story is more interesting, but partially from the short length of the piece overall I never get that invested in him. Plus there’s nothing original about his character or his plotline. The whole thing feels like it could’ve been a good short story, but stretched out to make a dubious novel. ( )
  marcelrochester | Nov 28, 2011 |
Ashlyn is not sure where she is - in all senses of the term. She's separated from her body, but she can't tell if she's dreaming or in a coma or something worse. All that is clear to her is that she's tethered to a boy who she can't remember meeting and that boy is hurting so badly that he can barely get through the day.

The boy she's tied to is Breckon. His family has recently suffered a serious loss and he's trying to be okay for his parents and his girlfriend. But the truth is that he's not and the more he pretends the worse things are inside. All Ashlyn can do is watch, but she's not sure what she can do to help.

I've never been a big fan of angel books, or ghost books, but I am a big fan of C.K. Kelly Martin- so that's why I decided to give this book a try. I thought it might even be a paranormal romance, it is not one (not that there's anything wrong with those). Instead this is a book about how hard living is for Breckon and yet how much Ashlyn sees to live for. It really took me by surprise and at times it had no qualms about punching you in the gut. Breckon and Ashlyn are so realistically drawn that you are even more affected by their stories.

If you haven't checked out C.K.Kelly Martin before, this is great way to start- but also consider going back and checking her back catalog. She flies under the radar but you shouldn't miss her.
  nicovin | Nov 1, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375868550, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2011: Ashlyn Baptise doesn’t know where she is. Now somehow without a body she still exists in consciousness, and she finds herself drawn to a stranger. Brecken Cody is out of sorts, too. Having recently lost his sister, for which he feels partly to blame, Brecken is in the throes of grief. It is hard to talk about this novel without giving away a pivotal plot point but that the way in which Martin reveals how Brecken and Ashlyn are intertwined was unexpected—and amazing. Voice really drives the novel, making it impossible not to root for both characters as they try to navigate new emotional (and in Ashlyn’s case, physical, too) experiences. In the vein Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Jenny Downham’s Before I Die, My Beating Teenage Heart is the type of novel that will remain with you long after you’ve read the last page. --Jessica Schein

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:33 -0400)

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Two unexpected and heartbreaking deaths cause the lives of two very different teenagers to become intertwined as one struggles to deal with his grief and stay in this world, and the other finds herself inexplicably caught between this world and the next.… (more)

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