Read My Heartbeat by Garret Weyr, also Freymann-Weyr Online


As she tries to understand the closeness between her older brother and his best friend, fourteen-year-old Ellen finds her relationship with each of them changing....

Title : My Heartbeat
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781616805791
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

My Heartbeat Reviews

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-29 12:36

    This is the story of an adolescent girl with a crush on a bisexual boy who might or might not be in a relationship with her brother, a near-genius who refuses to admit that he's gay.Only that summary makes My Heartbeat sound far more interesting than it actually is.

  • eva steele-saccio
    2019-04-15 07:27

    This book is really, truly wonderful. The writing is unbelievably good, but it's difficult to put your finger on exactly why. I love the understanding of teenage love that it conveys--the feeling that you are saying so much, declaring your undying love with mere gestures and common phrases when really you are simply asking the boy of your dreams to pass the bread. Freymann-Weyr also captures silence as communication ever so perfectly: its contrasting power of conveying anger and hurt and its ability to shut you down and ultimately ruin communication and growth. She treats sexuality and sex in vague yet convincing and non-judgemental terms, and her dialogue, philosophical and unlikely to come out of many people's mouths manages to move the narrative in an effortless way.

  • Tatiana
    2019-04-22 10:08

    The only reason I see for awarding My Heartbeat Printz Honor in 2003 is its ultra-liberal, non-judgmental approach to teen sexuality. The novel's premise is indeed edgy: 14-year old Ellen has only two friends - her older brother Link and his best friend Jason. Ellen has a bit of a crush on Jason, but no one acts on it until it is brought up to Ellen that the closeness between Jason and Link can only be explained by these two boys being a couple. When Ellen raises the question of her friends' homosexuality, she finds out that the boys themselves are not sure yet what they are. There is an attraction, but Link is not ready to label himself as gay, whereas Jason has slept with men, but might be attracted to girls as well. The unresolved situation between the boys leads to the breakup of their friendship. And here is where Ellen steps in and becomes Jason's girlfriend, even though she is not even sure that he is truly attracted to her.As edgy, convoluted and messy as it all sounds, My Heartbeat is not an edgy read. Listening to the 14-year old narrator, you'd think she is not a teen girl but a middle-aged lecturer preaching free love, tolerance and acceptance. The story goes through the motions of showing that in love all labels are unnecessary, but the characters remain to be only vessels for delivering the message, never becoming real. There is no heart in My Heartbeat. Pick up Pink instead.

  • Angie
    2019-03-26 15:31

    I never would have discovered this hidden gem if it weren't for my booktwin Martha reviewing it so glowingly a few years back. Not only had I not heard of Garret Freymann-Weyr before, but I'm pretty sure neither of its covers would have induced me to pick it up. Seriously, what in the world were they going for with this one? I just...I have no idea. But I know they missed. And the pink one is sort of cute, but really not indicative at all of what's inside. So. The Printz Honor award, on the other hand, always draws my eye as I've been quite impressed with the majority of Printz picks over the last few years. I would have given this one the award itself--I love it that much. So when an upcoming trip to Morocco rested on the horizon, I went out and purchased a copy of MY HEARTBEAT to take with me. Despite the fact that it's a slim 160 pages, I could tell it should be in the stack as I was packing. I ended up pulling it out one night in our bed & breakfast in Essaouira and staying up much too late devouring it in one gulp. What a lovely memory that night remains. And yet I've talked to comparatively few people who've read this beautiful book. And so today I'm going to tell you exactly why I love it with such intensity.Ellen and her old brother Link live with their crazy busy parents in a full but cozy apartment in Manhattan. They attend the same prestigious private school with Link's best friend James, who Ellen has been in love with for a couple of years now. Link is something of a math genius, a dedicated track star, and quite a talented pianist. James is also a gifted musician (though he has to have sheet music to play), a film buff, and an artist. Together they are her favorite people in the world and she considers life good when the three of them are hanging out together. One day at lunch, after bringing home one too many letters from school criticizing her social skills (or lack thereof), Ellen attempts to be a bit more outgoing and sits with some other girls. When the conversation turns to Link and James, one of the girls says to her, "They're like a couple, aren't they?" And that single sentence turns Ellen's world on end. She realizes this issue has simply never occurred to her before. Nor has the issue of why neither of her boys spends much time with girls. Besides her. Afraid to ask the question, but wanting desperately to understand them both better, Ellen goes first to her mother. And then to Link and James. Their respective responses to her question open up a can of worms Ellen was desperately hoping to avoid, brings down an invisible wall between Link and James, and provides the stepping off point for the beginning of Ellen's education on life, love, loyalty, and how many different versions there are of all of them.It was love at first sight with these three. I can't tell you how quickly I fell for them. Maybe it was when Ellen first revealed that telling Link she thought James was super cute was the only way her seventh-grade self could verbalize totally madly in love. Maybe it was when she kept picturing him as the heroes in the novels she was reading for English class. It could have been every day when Link and James sat on the fire escape during lunch, Link critiquing James' art, prowling the halls after in search of who knows what. Or maybe it was simply when Link and Ellen watched Casablanca together and stood up to sing the "Marseillaise" along with the actors just as their dad taught them to when they were nine and seven years old. MY HEARTBEAT is filled with a million little perfect moments, exquisite glimpses into the lives of others as they try and fail and try to know one another and learn that sometimes the ones you love the most are the ones you know the least. A favorite passage early on as Ellen goes in search of Link after he and James have had a disagreement:I decide to go knock on Link's door and tell him I can't sleep.When I was little we used to sleep in each other's rooms the night before all special occasions: Christmas, trips to Europe, first days of school, and birthdays. We stopped when I was nine or ten. I don't remember which one of us decided we were too old or if anything was said. It just stopped. Special occasions now come and go without our marking it by sleeping in the same room. Link's not exactly Mr. Hospitality tonight, saying, in response to my knock, "I told you no.""It's Ellen," I say, knowing he hasn't told me no in a few days."It's open for you," he says and I go in."Who'd you tell no?" I ask, settling carefully into the broken armchair near his bed."Your mother," he says.When he's mad at Mom or Dad, they become your mother or your father, as if I were responsible for their behavior. It's my policy never to ask why he's mad at them. Why borrow trouble?"James went out," I say."Yeah, I know," Link says. "Your mother wanted to know where he went.""Do you know?" I ask."Ellen, it's late.""I don't think he likes that guy at all," I say, wanting to reassure him. And probably myself."Which guy?" Link asks, sitting up in bed. "What are you talking about?""The tennis champion," I say."Oh, that. He was just kidding, Ellen. You can't take James seriously.""So where is he?" I ask."I don't know," Link says. "He wanted to go out and I didn't. End of story.""How come?""How come what?" Link asks.I don't say anything. He's not asking me a question so much as telling me it's none of my business. He never says that to me in a flat-out way, of course. It's more Link's style to put all the important information into what he doesn't say. Sometimes I understand him and lots of times I don't. Tonight I do."He should have asked you to go," Link says. "You would have gone with him.""I might," I say. Probably. Sure. No doubt about it."You would," my brother says. "You would follow James to the moon."I don't say anything, and after a while Link asks if I want to sleep in his room."Yes," I say. "Because it's my birthday tomorrow.""It's two in the morning," Link says. "Tomorrow is here."He gets out of bed, and while he's whispering (instead of singing) "Happy Birthday," he clears a space on the floor, where he makes up a sleeping area with a quilt and two of his pillows."You take the bed," he says, the way he used to when I was nine.I lie awake for a long time. For hours after Link has drifted off to sleep. I listen for and I hear James returning to the house. It is true I would follow James to the moon. But if Link would let me, I would follow him anywhere he wanted.I fell so in love with the relationships in this book. Every one of them. Ellen and Link. Ellen and James. Ellen and her mother. Ellen and her father. They seemed at once so far removed from me and so much the same. I loved the complexity of this most unusual and refreshing of love triangles. It is a mature story, an at times painful story, and it deals with mature and endlessly complicated issues including sexual identity, artistic philosophy, the rigidity of expectations and social mores, and the elasticity of the heart. It will not be for everyone. But it was so very much for me. What a sweet, sweet story and how much I wanted to sit in cafés with Ellen, James, and Link and just be intellectual and chummy with them. Finest kind.Recommended for fans of Madeleine L'Engle, John Irving, and Melina Marchetta.

  • Katherine Lewis
    2019-04-15 10:18

    Weird. I think this book is an excellent example of a fake-out conflict, much like _No Country for Old Men_. When you close the book, you think, "Huh?" until you look at the title, think back over what went on, and realize, "Oh, it was about THIS all along." I can't be more specific without giving away spoilers.I liked that the book dealt rationally and respectfully with the fluidity of teen sexuality; no one uses the word "bisexual" in this book, because slapping a label on it and walking away does nothing to unravel how confusing and exhilarating this part of life can be. I like that the book portrays the sexual activity of the characters in a non-graphic, non-glorified way, yet doesn't stoop to grand-standing about the dangers or heartache of sex. In short, this book treats teenagers like thinking, rational beings who should not be afraid of their bodies.Did not like: I was slightly unnerved by how casually a naive 14 year old hooks up with a worldly 17 year old. I was totally frustrated that Link's conflict was never truly resolved. Finally, I found quite a bit of the writing tangly and awkward as Ms. Freymann-Weyr attempted to wrestle down such complex subject matter and filter it through the fragmented, self-conscious musings of a young girl. Oh, and I can't help but think that a real-world Ellen would be more uncomfortable entering into a sexual relationship with a young man who is apparently gay. She's just TOO cool and laid back about the whole thing to be believable.

  • Emily
    2019-04-01 12:29

    Yes it's from the "Teen Lit" shelf! What are you gonna do about it?! That's the thing, teen lit is really good! This writer is amazing and the writing was like butta', and I wish I made up some turns of phrases that she used. The main character (14-yr-old girl, who esle?) is learning to SEE things. Not just to look, but to see, like an artist does, while struggling with her family who handles struggle and problems by not talking about it, but carefully arond it:"If I never develop the gift of clear and fearce language, I will develop clear and fearce eyes. I must."

  • Racy-tay
    2019-04-13 14:34

    I absolutely loved this book. It has its faults; I really had no desire to read about privileged kids in NY, hear yet another preachy moment about the dangers of teen sex complete with pregnancy and AIDS, but I still absolutely loved this book. As a teen this is what I would have wanted to read without realizing it. I love the characters and they resonate with me. The main character is a girl who adores her brother and desperately wants to know him. Her family can't communicate, they are bad with words, they are strangers to one another. The book shows two different models of how teens come to understand and deal with their sexuality. There is love, intimacy, art and above all a girl wanting to be loved by someone. I can't do it justice at all, but I loved it. I got my copy from http://www.thedismantledlibrary.blogs... - if you want it let me know and I will pass it along. Otherwise I'll donate it to the library around the corner.

  • Katie
    2019-04-14 09:13

    I really did not like this book. First of all it was classist. Although the homophobia behind the action may be similar, paying off one's son is disgusting. The talk of Ivy league schools and other high-brow examples turned me off (especially when it was the bulk of the book).Secondly, what started out as the main story (the relationship between the boys) turned out to be non-important at the end. Thirdly, who in their right mind would really be okay with their sister dating someone they were interested in or at the very least, their best friend? I find this very very unlikely.Fourth, there was no turn around or epiphany for the gay character or his dad. There was no closure for me. I understand real life is not always neatly tied up, but for a book especially geared toward this audience, I want more of a positive bent on queerness.

  • Jan
    2019-03-29 08:35

    Although this book was an award winner when it was first published in 2002, I didn't find it to be everything it was cracked up to be. The family in this novel are overeducated Manhattan snobs obsessed with their own intellectual pretensions, which makes them distinctly unlikable. Although this is an interesting look at how adolescent sexuality can be defined in many different ways, I couldn't get past the annoying characters, who were a bit too precious for my taste.

  • Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
    2019-04-17 12:06

    I had higher expectations, I guess. It felt too short, like only the beginning of an idea. It was cute and well-written but I was waiting for a more intriguing plot to come out of it, and the plot never emerged for me. Okay, but not great in my opinion.

  • Amelia Jacobson
    2019-04-24 09:25

    The heck even is this book. I freaking LOVED IT.At first, I was like: "Wait, what? This author did not research for this whatsoever. Garret Weyr, also Freymann-Weyr is so not qualified to be an author." But now I'm like: "HOLY CRAP THIS IS AMAZING YOU ARE AN AMAZING WRITER KEEP WRITING I NEED MORE BOOKS BY YOU RIGHT NOW!"The way the chapters and scene breaks were finished were so deep and beautiful, and Jesus Christ, I wish I could write endings like that. My favorite finish to a chapter (though I loved all of them) was I think (view spoiler)["I don't need anything," I say. "Right," Link says. "Neither do they. I just have to remind them of that."As if any of us needs reminding. Sometimes we are a family made up of people who know each other, but more and more often we are strangers who occasionally realize we are still living together. (hide spoiler)]All the characters were precious little cinnamon buns too. I did not fall in love with the plot right away, but the characters kept me with it. AND HOLY CRAP, COULD I RELATE TO ELLEN. She felt like my identical twin, though in literary form.I bookmarked so many parts of this book (thank goodness I own it). So much of it hit me so hard. The conversations, some character development scenes, and just. . . I loved it.I did not expect the ending to go like how it went. I thought this book would be more about a gay relationship than it actually was. It was more of talk about being gay and straight. Also, the love triangle(s) were very, very well written. I was happy with either of the outcomes, when usually love triangles just make me scream. In here, they just made me so happy. This is an amazing book and definitely my new favorite.

  • Spiros Antonapoulous
    2019-04-13 13:23

    I’ve never really liked YA even before I knew what “YA” really was. As a closeted teen who needed something to relate to I jumped on the chance on reading the very first “lgbt” book i found in my school library. My initial reaction to this book after finishing it was... meh. The protagonist doesn’t really have much of a personality outside of her reaction to the love triangle between her, her gay brother, and their on again-off again lover and being a heroic champion for the lgbt. And even that is very slapped on, she just automatically accepts “gay” without any initial curiosity and confusion. She reads, like, one book on it and is already 100% on board of it. I’m not saying that she should’ve been horrified but learning about the lgbt in a straight-society is a very disorienting experience, even for lgbt themselves - no - especially for them. The pacing and characterization in this book was so muddled and the writing was kind of bleh, nothing special. I just remembered reading this book and thinking, “What universe are these people from? They don’t act like real people”. Nothing is contextualized or reflected on, it just is, All the other characters were even less developed than the main character. I actually dont mind the bittersweet, ambiguous ending. It’s everything before it that seemed... off.

  • Brianna
    2019-03-25 11:22

    This book has confused the hell out of me. I loved the characters, I loved the writing style. I loved how Ellen came into who she is at the very end. It was beautifully written, but not enough so to distract from the GLARINGLY UGLY FACT THAT JAMES AND ELLEN GET TOGETHER. I tried to really love this book. In it's beginnings when James and Link were sort of in love and Ellen has a lovely role as looking up to the both of them, I did. I wanted to know how that relationship would affect the family. Then, James and Ellen get together and Link spirals and suddenly a very innocent 14 year old who uses the word "yucky" is mature enough to be hooking up with a boy about to go to university. Oh, but James is chivalrous enough NOT to sleep with Ellen until the very end after she somewhat begs him to. And the whole way through she has this idea that she is the proof that girls are "interesting", so James must continue to like both boys and girls. And both siblings! All I wanted was for Ellen to find out how she fits into her life and family and for James and Link to sort something out, but all I got was a 14 year old finding validation in her older brother's love, and being unable to finish reading classics.Update: I am changing this from a three star to a two. There was no plot, no closure for any characters, especially not Link who was supposed to be driving the story in whether or not he was gay and in love wth James. I'm pissed. There was no further discussion with his parents over what Link truly wanted, no idea as to what is going to happen to Ellen, the author never seemed to raise an eyebrow at the relationship between Ellen and James, the list goes on. The author is a talented writer in the way she writes, but the lacking of a clear plot and the relationships she chose to write are what earns this book a mere two stars.

  • Laura Kressler
    2019-03-29 07:22

    The thing about this book is I don't think I completely understood it. I like the concept, but it felt unpolished and unfinished. I know this was supposed to be a groundbreaking novel about discovering and exploring sexuality, but the heterosexual couple ended up together in the end and the supposed gay character was still afraid of the possibility of being gay. I for one disliked nearly every character in this book, for albeit completely different reasons. The dad for the dismissal of his clearly homophobic tendencies. The mom for her acceptance and blissful ignorance surrounding her husband and his problematic ways. James for his insistence on sleeping with guys only to make link jealous and of course for sleeping with link's 14 year old sister Ellen. Link for calling adlena's dad a faggot and for his inability to entertain the possibility he might be gay. Ellen of course for accepting all the crap thrown at her by her dad, link and James, and for having sex with James who was so obviously in love with her brother. Was I the only one uncomfortable with the age difference between Ellen and James, to me it felt overused and unrealistic. I'm tired of the freshman senior trope, even more so of this which ends in casual sex between a 14 and 17 (possibly 18) year old. The only characters I kind of liked were adlena and her 2 dad's. This book also had an insane amount of queer baiting for something expressed to be a LGBT coming of age novel. This book could have been so much better, but it fell flat in all the wrong places. I'd maybe give some other books by this author a chance, but my heartbeat was not for me, and I wholeheartedly disagree with it being an LGBT story:

  • Stephanie A.
    2019-04-13 07:06

    This is the first book I ever read due to specific interest in reading about a gay relationship. YA novels featuring teen boys tend to disappoint more often than not anyway, so it took me a while to choose one, wondering who I could trust not to make it gross and explicit. I chose this one after having adored two of her previous novels, and it turned out to be the perfect introduction. The focus is very much on the girl, and it skirts around the main issue just enough to create plausible deniability. You only get the maybe-love story from an outsider's perspective, and usually you're as confused and uncertain as she is about what the boys are to each other -- which is exactly what makes it work. (that, and maybe I just found her relationship with James preciously sweet and immature)

  • Shoshana G
    2019-04-09 10:36

    It should be hard to call a Printz nominee underrated, but this book is. Ellen is a high school freshman in love with her brother Link's best friend, James. It's never been a problem, until a friend at school asks if Link and James are a couple. Are they?James and Link and their parents have different answers to that question, and in the course of investigating what love is and should be, Ellen also attempts to find her own interests - her own heartbeat. I love love love this book and want everyone to read it. And then read all the books Ellen reads over the course of the novel, starting with The Age of Innocence, starring her namesake.

  • Jenn A. Maronn
    2019-04-13 15:33

    A decent book. I found the premise to be more promising than the actual book, which is about the complicated emotions between a 14 year old girl, her older brother, and her brother's friend/long-standing crush. The text raises issues about love, loyalty, and learning to be true to yourself. It touches on bisexuality but never says the word, focusing more on the potentially gay brother, and his and his dad's complex emotions around what it means to be gay. It feel a little dated (written in 2002) but it could be more compelling for kids who don't know about the historical persecution of the LGBTQ community and social stigmas regarding the gay community.

  • GraceAnne
    2019-04-08 07:20

    An utterly beguiling story on the questions of love: how do parents love their children? How do friends and siblings love each other? Are love and sex separate? Ellen, her brother Link, and his best friend James wrestle with the deepest and most complicated of emotions in this passionately realized novel. There are no villains and no unmixed emotions in this book. The writing is vivid, tender, limpidly clear.

  • Alicia
    2019-04-02 08:36

    Ellen narrates the intricate and passionate story of her brother and his best friend. The question is whether they're gay or not, but what ends up happening is more about discovering family, unwritten laws, and what happens when you truly fall in love. Not because she's curious, careful, kind, and intense. But because she's let somebody else discover that about her and love her for it.

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-02 11:09

    I'm torn between wanting to give this book five stars, because I enjoyed it and read it in one sitting and found it to be very insightful and deep, and giving it one star, because I really, really, really hated the way it all turned out. It actually makes me angry. Three stars it is, I guess.

  • Yaz *The Reading Girl*
    2019-04-06 08:21

    My Heartbeat is written in a beautiful rich which is hard to explain but in a way that you will enjoy the whole story and see the richness of it. I enjoyed it and liked it a lot.

  • Layla
    2019-04-09 07:24

    The definition of heartwarming. The narrator gives off a "innocent and naïve yet slowly becoming aware" vibe that reminded me of scout finch from to kill a mockingbird.

  • Beth
    2019-04-19 10:20

    Sweet, deep without being heavy, raises questions but never preachy. Warm and comforting. This book is like music to me.

  • elissa
    2019-03-28 15:26

    My husband and I both liked this book (which is a rare event for a novel). It's about relationships between 3 NYC teens--a girl and her brother, and their male friend.

  • Sarah Glynn
    2019-04-14 13:07

    With all of the accolades this received, I expected something more. Instead, I’m left feeling that it was unfinished and unsatisfying. It’s an honest exploration of young adult relationships, questioning sexuality, and first love, but the maturity level of the characters was way too high and more sophisticated than their ages merited. Yes, they’re extremely intelligent and highly-educated, but they’re still only 14, 16 and 17, so the navigation of their intertwined relationships required an emotional maturity beyond their years. I think the author had a wonderful opportunity to showcase parental and familial reactions to the possibility that their son was gay, but, instead, used loaded silences. Without being able to gauge body language and facial expressions, I felt a distinct disadvantage. There just wasn’t enough conversation happening. Would I recommend this to any of my students? Yes, possibly, but with the caveat that they might struggle a bit with interpreting what the characters mean when they aren’t speaking directly and that there is no tidy resolution.

  • Travis
    2019-04-10 07:20

    I don't know why I had this on my shelf, but I must have heard of it somewhere and just picked it up on the basis of it being YA about a gay couple, except it's really not. It's about a girl whose brother is in love with his best friend, but refuses to admit it and says he's not gay. The friend is bi (though that word is never used) and eventually they get in a fight and stop being friends and the girl starts dating her brother's friend and there is a happy het ending and the brother himself does get some things sorted in his life but never comes to terms with his sexuality and that thread is just sort of left hanging. It's also annoying in other ways, with all the characters being rich and snobbish and not terribly likable. (I also hate stories where everyone is genius and this is pretty much that.)

  • Samantha
    2019-04-06 14:16

    I"m not really sure how I feel about this to be honest. I liked it, but at the same time I felt conflicted about it. The premise was interesting, the middle was worthwhile, but I found the ending to be really dissatisfying. Perhaps it's because the book didn't work out the way that *I* wanted it to, or perhaps it really just wasn't as great as I had been hoping it would be. I'm not really sure, and that just annoys me a little bit.

  • Lena
    2019-03-29 08:08

    A quick read but I really wanted a happy ending. But I should have expected an unfinished ending anyways since the main character Ellen would always talk about unhappy endings anyways. I know it’s a bad allusion but it’s the only thing I thought about when I reached the end. Overall though, the story did engage me quite a lot.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-17 13:34

    The concept of the book was great. It was a fast and easy read that held my attention but I think the ending was rushed. It seemed that two of the main characters were really exploring their relationship and then BOOM one is going to college and it's all over with. I would recommend the book to read for a young adult or maybe a young adult who is just getting into reading.

  • Elena
    2019-04-05 15:15

    Well-told sorry, with interesting points about how families communicate without communicating. I thought the main character was inconsistent--at times she didn't seem to be a realistic 14 year old and then at other times her thinking was very shallow and more like an adolescent.