My Beating Teenage Heart by C. K. Kelly MartinMy Beating Teenage Heart by C. K. Kelly Martin

My Beating Teenage Heart

byC. K. Kelly Martin

Paperback | September 25, 2012

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about

Ashlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing—no memories, no self—and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a sea of stars. Is she in a coma? She doesn't remember dying, and she has no memories of the life she left behind. All she knows is that she's trapped in a consciousness without a body and she's spending every moment watching a stranger.

Breckon Cody's on the edge. He's being ripped apart by grief so intense it literally hurts to breathe. On the surface, Breckon is trying to hold it together for his family and his girlfriend, but underneath he's barely hanging on.

Even though she didn't know him in life, Ashlyn sees Breckon's pain, and she's determined to find a way help him. As her own distressing memories emerge from the darkness, she struggles to communicate with the boy who can't see her, but whose life is suddenly intertwined with hers. Told in alternating voices of the main characters, My Beating Teenage Heart paints a devastatingly vivid picture of both the heartbreak and the promise of teenage life—a life Ashlyn would do anything to recover and Breckon seems desperate to destroy. My Beating Teenage Heart will appeal to fans of Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution, Amy Huntley's The Everafter, Nina LaCour's Hold Still, and Gayle Forman's If I Stay.
C. K. KELLY MARTIN is the critically acclaimed author of I Know It's Over, One Lonely Degree, and The Lighter Side of Life and Death. She lives in the Toronto area with her husband. You can visit her website and blog at CKKellyMartin.com.
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Title:My Beating Teenage HeartFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.18 × 5.49 × 0.62 inPublished:September 25, 2012Publisher:PRH Canada Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385670443

ISBN - 13:9780385670449

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Slow moving and predictable #plumreview
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Somewhat Interesting I was excited to read this because it is a Canadian book, however the book is very slow moving and there is not much of a climax. It was alright but not one I would pick up again
Date published: 2017-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Touching, But Predictable The entire plot is quite predictable. It does drag on quite a bit and completely rushes to an end; I'm not a huge fan of that, to be honest. I did think the ending was quite touching, though.
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Confusing I've heard so many positive things about this book by C.K. Kelly Martin, but I was honestly extremely disappointed in it. I felt it dragged on and on, and I kept waiting for the plot to pick up, and then everything happening extremely fast once it finally did. Plus, I really didn't care for the main character or his girlfriend, and I really only continued reading it cause I liked Ashlyn and wanted to see how her story ended. Sorry to say with how many great YA books there are out there right now, this one is definitely one I won't be rereading or recommending to anyone else.
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful story A story that is different, beautiful and heartbreaking. Must read! #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-24

Read from the Book

The first moment is utter darkness. The absence of thought, the absence of everything. An absence that stretches infi nitely backwards and threatens to smother your sanity—if there was a you, that is. But there’s not. I am nothing and no one. I never was. I must not have been because otherwise, wouldn’t I remember? Don’t look back. Don’t let the darkness inside you. If I’m talking to myself, there must be a me. That in itself is a revelation. I exist. The second before was starkly empty and now I’m swimming with celestial stars. They’re as silent as stones but they shimmer, glimmer and shine. I think . . . I think I can hear them after all but not in a way I’ve heard anything before. The sound isn’t music and it’s not whispers. I don’t have words to describe it. If teardrops, blinding sunshine and limitless knowledge combined to make a noise, it would be the one the stars hum while I fl oat amongst them. I don’t know much, but this is something I’m certain I’m learning for the fi rst time: the stars know things that we don’t and they always have. And then, just as my mind begins to expand with questions—who am I?—where is this?—how am I . . . I’m falling, plummeting through the glittering darkness at a speed that would normally make your stomach drop. Instinct kicks in and makes me throw out my hands to break my fall. Only, I don’t have any—no hands and no stomach either. The fear of falling exists in my consciousness and nowhere else. There’s nothing I can do to stop my descent. Beneath me continents of light beam their brightness as I speed towards them. Catch me, stars. Help me. But they’re not stars, as it turns out. They’re the lights you see from a jumbo jet when you’re coming in for a night landing. They make civilization appear minuscule and for some reason that makes me want to sob but I can’t do that either. No hands, no stomach, no tears. What happens when I hit bottom? I’m so close now that I can spy individual cars, streetlamps, house lights left on. Is someone, someplace, waiting for me, leaving the light on?Where am I supposed to be? A pointed suburban roof reaches up to meet me, and if I have no body, surely there are no bones to shatter, no damage to fear, but my consciousness fl inches anyway. It quakes and tries to yank whoever or whatever I am away from the solid mass shooting up underneath me. In the split second it takes to realize I’ve failed, I’m already through the ceiling. Inside, falling still. Falling . . . and then not. I don’t crash. I don’t even touch down. All I can do is stare into the pair of blinking eyes below me. They’re not even a foot away. They’re the distance you hold yourself from someone when you’re on your way to a kiss. I don’t remember my own kisses but I remember the concept the same way I remember what a roof or a jumbo jet is. I remember romance, yearning, love and hate in a way that has nothing to do with me. Maybe I’ve never been in love—or maybe it’s happened a hundred times but so very long ago that I’ve forgotten each of them. I can’t decide which idea is sadder. The eyes open and close as I stare at them. His eyes. The white boy’s. They’re not staring back at me, but looking clean through. If I had a body I’d estimate it was hovering just above his, toe to toe and head to head with him. It’s night and we’re cloaked in darkness, the two of us. But he’s the only one who’s truly here. Here. Wherever that is. I’d move if I could, give him the space he doesn’t realize he’s lacking. I feel awkward, embarrassed about all I can see from here—his pores, his nose hairs, a cracking bottom lip that could use lip balm—even though he doesn’t appear to have a clue he’s being spied upon. But there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m like a camera, picking up images but not in control of angles or focal length. So I watch the boy’s eyelashes flutter and listen to him breathe. What his lungs expel sounds like a steak knife slashing into meat. Not like an asthmatic but like someone so steeped in despair it’s a wonder he hasn’t drowned in it. How long can someone live like this? It hurts to hear. My nonexistent hands clamp themselves over my nonexistent ears. Outwardly, my focus barely shifts. I’m still fl oating over him, listening to breaths of bottomless anguish. Wait . . . I must be asleep. My fall from the stars and the hurt I hear in this boy’s breathing, they can’t be real. This vision I’m watching is nothing but a wildly vivid dream. When I wake up tomorrow, with my stomach, my hands and all my memories intact, I’ll shake my head at my panic. Then I’ll grab a pen and jot the details down before they fade to nothing. I imagine how crazy every bit of this will seem when I read it back in the morning. Stars that make a noise of wisdom. The power to read emotions through someone’s breath. Insane. Even for a dream. Why not dream of something my eyes would want to linger on—the rapturous merging of two bodies or a purple sky hanging over a majestic blue- green waterfall? Why dream of this sad boy? I examine him, attempt to cement the details in my mind so I can record them when I wake up, and as I’m watching I realize I can shift the camera here and there after all—not much, but a little. Yes, I can stare at him from the end of the bed if I prefer, or from a blue acoustic guitar leaning against the wall near his window. Maybe I can even . . . No, I can’t escape the room, can’t leave him behind. That’s beyond my power. He’s meant to be the star of this dream for reasons my unconscious isn’t ready to share with me. I notice that when I turn away from him to study the room, my gaze jumps inadvertently back to him before long. And when it does this is what I see: a white boy of about sixteen or seventeen, curly brown hair framing his face. His eyes are light but in the dark I can’t determine whether they’re green, blue or even hazel. The boy’s lying in bed in a gray T-shirt, his bare arms stretched over the covers. He’s motionless. Stiller than still except for the blinking. The horrible breathing has stopped, or so it seems. When I listen more intently I realize I can still hear it if I choose. There are some things I can control within this dream, evidently, and this strange audio ability is one of them. I watch the teenage boy close his eyes. A cell phone rings on the bedside table next to him. My eyes follow his as they dart to the phone and I wonder if the call is important in the scheme of this dream fi ction. Perhaps the real action is fi nally getting started. Who wants to stand by and be a helpless witness to the grip of misery? I hope, since I’m being forced to take in this vision, that the dream’s preparing to morph into something more entertaining—maybe something more closely resembling an action movie or thriller. Do I like chase scenes and gunfi re in movies? Shouldn’t I be able to remember that, even in my sleep? Once the phone falls silent, the boy reaches for it, looks to check who called and begins to set it down again. It erupts in his hand and I could swear this time it’s louder, almost like a siren. If I have to guess I’d say I’m hearing the phone the same way he is—with added urgency. This time he switches his phone off before returning it to its space on the bedside table. The boy’s gaze fl ashes away from his cell and towards the alarm clock next to it: 12:23. He lies back in bed, his eyes glued to the ceiling where I both am, and am not. Long moments pass like this. 12:24. 12:25. 12:26. I begin to feel like I’m waiting for a change of scene that will never occur. At last a light tap at the door breaks the spell. The boy’s eyes snap shut as if on cue. “Breckon?” a middle- aged man with a receding hairline whispers as he pops his head around the now- open door. The man’s tie is askew and he smooths it down with one hand and then eases the door open wider, waiting for the boy— Breckon—to stir. Breckon does no such thing, although I know he’s awake. The man pads towards him, sighs silently and sits on the side of his bed. He does this carefully, so as not to awaken the boy I now know to be Breckon. I wonder if the man is his father and if he wishes Breckon would open his eyes and speak to him or whether he prefers this false silence. The sound of Breckon’s breath still hurts if I let it, but I don’t. I use the special volume control that allows me to swing down the audio on that alone. His father, or whoever the man is, doesn’t seem to hear anything unusual. At fi rst he surveys the moonlit walls—a key- chain collection hanging from four curtain rods mounted one beneath the other on the far wall, a surreal Dalí print tacked up close to the door and nearer the bed posters of Pink Floyd’s The Wall and a photographic image of a soccer ball sailing through a blue sky. Dalí. I remember Salvador Dalí. Jumbo jets, kisses, Salvador Dalí and Pink Floyd too. How I wish, how I wish you were here. I hear the lyrics play inside my head and the memory of them makes some currently unknowable part of me ache.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for My Beating Teenage Heart
"Martin's novel looks at loss from two different, eloquently conveyed perspectives--that of the living, and that of the dead. Beautifully mysterious."
The Horn Book

"Martin brings the same exquisite writing style to this narrative as to her previous works"
—Kirkus Reviews