Friday, September 27, 2019

Change of Heart, by Shari Maurer

Emmi's soccer team has made it to Regionals and she is determined to not let a bad cold hold her back.  No matter how much of a struggle it is, she figures she can push herself through it.  But then she starts have trouble breathing and she passes out on the field.  Back home, her symptoms grow more severe and her parents take her to the hospital.  She’s contracted viral myocarditis and it has permanently damaged her heart.  She needs a heart transplant or she will die.

Most of the rest of the story traces her journey as a transplant patient, from waiting anxiously on the wait list to the surgery and the follow-up treatment.  Along the way, various hurdles (aborted transplants, relapses, and constant monitoring) are called up.

The title of the novel has a second meaning.  During this ordeal, Emmi finds her feelings for her boyfriend Sam are challenged. And when she befriends Eli, a fellow adolescent transplant recipient, she is tempted to stray.

While I enjoyed most of the story, the rushed ending was a disappointment.  Emmi is a great character.  Articulate and independent, she makes a good narrator for the complicated journey in this novel.  And it is those details (Maurer certainly did her homework) that make this book an interesting read.

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