Summary from BN.com: 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. 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.
If you're one of those people who still seem to think that YA books are all fluffy and happy, you will want to probably avoid this book. This is one of the saddest books that I have ever read. I would highly recommend having a box of tissues prepared if you're going to read this. If you think that teenagers are incapable of feeling true emotion and are only bent on creating drama, you will rethink that after reading this.
This book is told in alternating perspectives between Breckon and Ashlyn. No need to worry about getting confused, each chapter is clearly marked with who the narrator is. Breckon is still recovering from the loss of his sister. Ashlyn is in a place where she neither here nor there. Soon the two become connected though they don't fully realize it. We discover both their pasts and what led to the situations that they are in now.
It's a bit weird to read several books regarding dead people but I don't feel too morbid. With this book, I just feel sad. This is the first book by Martin that I have ever read but it definitely will not be my last. I found myself glued to the story and swept into the lives of the characters. I wish that I could have done something for both Breckon and Ashlyn, to make their lives happier. That's how much the beautifully written story impacted me. If you are looking for a realistic contemporary YA book that goes a little deeper, try this one.
My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kelly Martin is published by Random House Books for Young Readers (2011)
This ARC was provided for a blog tour with the Teen Book Scene