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oes life go on when your heart is broken? Since her mother's sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward—because her mother is, in a way, still...
oes life go on when your heart is broken? Since her mother's sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward—because her mother is, in a way, still...
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  • oes life go on when your heart is broken?

    Since her mother's sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward—because her mother is, in a way, still there. She's being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her.
    Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important—grades, crushes, college plans—Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her—Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma's own. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death—and maybe, for love?


  • From the book

    When I open them, Mom's stomach is stretched out and still.

    "Emma, are you ready to go?" Dan says as he comes into the room, and I look up at him and nod.

    "Did you two have a nice chat?" he says, bending over to kiss Mom.

    I stare at him.

    He must feel it because he straightens up, clearing his throat, and pats Mom's stomach. "Look how big he's getting. Lisa, he's growing so much."

    Mom doesn't say anything, not even to that.

    She can't.

    She's dead. Machines are keeping her alive. They breathe for her. They feed her. They regulate her whole body.

    My mother is dead, but Dan is keeping her alive because of the baby.

    * * *

    Dan and I don't talk on the ride home. As soon as I'm inside the house I head straight up to my room, and I lock the door.

    I never used to have a lock, but then, I used to have Mom. I used to think that Dan cared about what I thought. What I wanted. What Mom would have wanted. This way, all the talks he used to try to have, right after Mom first died, can't happen. Or at least, he can talk, but I don't have to see him and can put on music or headphones or even fingers in my ears to shut him out. Just like he shut me out.

    I don't have one of those wussy little turn-and-click locks. I have an actual lock, a bar with a padlock that I snap shut.

    Closing out the world.

    I put it in myself the day Dan told me what he was going to do to Mom. I walked out of the hospital, went to the hardware store and came home and put in the lock. My mother taught me how to do that. She believed women should know how to fix things. I'd seen her fix a broken toilet and watched her change the element in our hot water heater. She installed new locks on our doors when I was seven, after Olivia's family got robbed.

    I go over to my window and open it. On the roof, Olivia grins at me through her blond hair and then comes over and pushes herself inside.

    "How did you know I was out there?"

    "I saw your hair when we came in. Also, your car down the road. Thanks for not parking...here."

    "It makes things easier," she says. "And clearly, I need a wig. Oooh, I could get a bunch. Red hair, blue hair-"

    "That wouldn't stand out at all."

    She sticks her tongue out at me. "I'd get other ones too. Brown hair, black hair. I could be a spy, don't you think?"

    "Spies have to use computers, Olivia."

    "No, they don't. They go on missions. They have tech people do the computer stuff for them."

    "Someone's been watching Covert Ops."

    "Like you don't watch it too. You know you love it. You and your mom both think Sebastian is..." She trails off.

    "Sebastian is cute," I say, and try not to think about how Mom and I used to watch the show together. "But he's also fictional, plus even spies on TV have to use earpieces and stuff-would you be willing to do that?"

    "For Sebastian I would," she says, grinning, and then flops on my bed. "But I really wish I could be an old-fashioned spy. Like back when they had to write coded messages in invisible ink and speak a dozen languages."

    "That sounds more like you," I say, and sit down next to her. "I-I saw the baby move today."



    "Emma," she says, squeezing my hand, "why do you even go to the hospital?"

    "Because I can see her. Because I want at least one person to be there for Mom and not for the baby."


    "Dan wants the...

About the Author-

  • ELIZABETH SCOTT grew up in a town so small it didn't even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She's sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn't want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, D.C., with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.


  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 27, 2014
    Scott (Miracle) returns with the wrenching story of 17-year-old Emma, whose mother, Lisa, had a sudden stroke while pregnant; although Lisa is brain-dead, she is being kept alive by machines to save the baby growing inside her. Emma's stepfather, Dan, made the choice to keep Lisa alive, and Emma hates him for it, also believing that Dan essentially killed her mother by getting her pregnant in the first place. At first, only Emma's best friend Olivia knows her despair, but at the hospital Emma connects with Caleb, who's doing community service after driving his father's Porsche into a lake. Caleb has had his own misfortunes: he feels responsible for his younger sister's death, and his parents also blame him for it. Scott captures the angst and euphoria of first love and the intensity of bonds formed through hardship. At times the story veers toward melodrama, but Emma's emotional conflict—characterized by moments of irrationality, rage, and confusion—is honest, and her eventual ability to see that tragedies can be blameless results in a powerful transformation. Ages 14–up. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    This first-person examination of a girl mourning her mother's sudden death explores the anger survivors often feel when confronting grief. Seventeen-year old Emma hates her stepfather, Dan, because he's decided to keep her pregnant, brain-dead mother alive on machines until the baby becomes viable. Although she realizes that she's allowing her rage to consume her, she continues to indulge her hatred for her stepfather, whom she formerly loved and whom she knows her mother loved, and she finds herself unable to see the baby as her brother. Emma and Dan visit her mom every day, and there, she meets Caleb, a boy who's been in trouble ever since his little sister died accidentally while under his supervision. Although her fellow high school students view Caleb as a pariah, Emma finds herself drawn to him: In Caleb, she discovers the only person who can understand her. As events progress, however, Emma will have to make her own decision about her mother's plight, and the true reason for her rage, aside from her obvious grief, emerges. Scott wraps the first-person narration in Emma's swirling emotions, but she allows readers to see through that fog to watch the reality of the events. The author does not judge Emma or Dan despite the deliberately skewed viewpoint. An intense examination of a family coping with grief, this absorbing character study easily keeps pages turning. (Fiction. 12 & up) COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2014

    Gr 8 Up-Seventeen-year-old Emma nearly had it all. Her grades were fantastic. She got along well with her mother, and she loved her stepdad, Dan. She was even excited about her mom's pregnancy. All that changed in the amount of time it took to toast a piece of bread. Now Emma's mom lies in a hospital, brain-dead and being kept physically alive until the baby is able to be born. Dan insists this is what his wife would want, but Emma is sure her mother would never want to be hooked up to machines. Her grades plummet and grief threatens to consume her when she suddenly finds herself drawn to bad boy, Caleb, whose parents still blame him for his little sister's death years before. Scott delivers an intriguing novel with a "straight from the headlines" feel. Unfortunately, a few problems detract from the overall success of the story. Caleb's parents are one-dimensional and seem to exist solely as a backdrop for his bad-boy persona while Emma's change of heart comes so quickly and completely that it lacks emotional punch. Still, the deeper themes explored in this novel offer good fodder for discussion.-Heather Webb, Worthington Libraries, OH

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews on MIRACLE "Told through the perspective of a well-defined and likable protagonist,this text shines a bright light on the importance of mental health."
  • Publishers Weekly, starred review, on LIVING DEAD GIRL "Disturbing but fascinating, the book exerts an inescapable grip on readers-like Alice, they have virtually no choice but to continue until theconclusion sets them free."

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