Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
Publisher: WestSide Books
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by: Lilac
Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, popular varsity soccer star Emmi comes down with an ordinary virus. But when she doesn’t bounce back as always, she gets the worst possible news—she’s had myocarditis that’s destroyed her heart, putting her into congestive heart failure. This formerly energetic teen can now barely walk across a room without having to stop and rest. And the prognosis is bleak: without a heart transplant, she’ll die in a matter of months. It’s only her growing friendship with Abe, the funny, smart boy she meets in the cardiac clinic, that finally cheers her up. But difficult questions race through her mind while she waits: Will she get a heart in time? Will she even survive the surgery? What if her body rejects the heart? When tragedy strikes close to home, Emmi must rely even more on her inner strength in order to carry on.
Imagine being sixteen years old and having everything going for you — friends, school, sports — and then suddenly it all changes in the blink of an eye. This is what happened to Emmi when she discovered that she had a severe heart condition and would have to have a heart transplant.
Growing up, I loved reading books by Lurlene McDaniel about teenagers who had terminal illnesses and this book reminded me so much of her books. I immediately fell right into the story and was engaged by it. The plot flowed nicely and kept my attention. I will say it was a little predictable, but that’s not always bad.
I really liked the characters — for the most part. I felt like Emmi was such a real character. She loved sports and had great close friends. The only thing that shocked me was the way that she talked to her mother (although I know I used to speak horribly to mine when I was a teenager too). I loved her best friend, Becca, and her boyfriend Sam for most of the story until close to the end when something scandalous happens. I wasn’t fond of that part of the story and I feel like it got back to “happy” a little too quickly. And I really liked Abe, the teen guy that Emmi meets who had previously had a heart transplant. They all felt real and normal and like any teen you would see in life.
This story definitely brings to life the importance of organ donation. It’s heartwarming and sad and I would definitely recommend that you have tissues nearby while you read it!