Published by Entangled Publishing on March 20th 2017
Buy on Amazon
Audra Madison simply wanted to walk in the shoes of Emily Cavanaugh, a free-spirited teenager who died too young. After all, Audra wasn’t supposed to be here.
Thanks to Emily, Audra has a second chance at life. She’s doing all the things that seemed impossible just two years ago: Go to college. Date. Stargaze in the Rocky Mountains. Maybe get a tattoo. You know, live.
Jake Cavanaugh, a photographer with mysterious, brooding gray eyes, agrees to help chronicle her newfound experiences. She makes him laugh, one of the only people who can these days. As they delve into each other’s pasts – and secrets – the closer they become.
But she’s guarded and feels like she can’t trust anyone, including herself. And he’s struggling with the fact that his beloved sister’s heart beats inside her.
Reading ‘The Heartbeat Hypothesis’ is like hearing a new voice that speaks out for teenage angst that’s fully captured in its powerful, moody glory. But the subjects that Lindsey Frydman deals with here are difficult, heavy and weighed down with the solemnity of death, life and deception.
Here, high school melodrama is eschewed in favour of melancholic episodes, wistful photographing of lonely landscapes and soulful conversations as teenagers live through and attempt to define how cosmic justice (if I could ever find a better term) has played a role in their lives. It’s more than a search for identity now; their questions turn into a search for the reasons for living (deep, angsty stuff) as the beginning chapters made me hold my breath in anticipation of how things would develop between a girl who has been given a new lease of life with the heart of a dead girl and her brother who clearly hadn’t yet sorted out his grief.
Both Jake and Audra are damaged in their own ways and while I liked them to begin with, I think I couldn’t understand the tangent the story took towards the end. I couldn’t understand, least of all, why Audra suddenly poked her nose into Jake’s business when she had no right to, leaving us with a so-called mystery that would never be solved. In fact, by the time I was through the last quarter, nothing seemed to fall into place except that after a string of tragedies, Jake and Audra kind of thought they could still belong to each other. Frydman’s nuanced writing draws out Audra’s emotions perfectly, yet only her motivations and sense of purpose are made clear. On the other hand, Jake himself and his family remained as frustratingly obscure as ever, without any light shed on the events a few years earlier that I’d frankly expected.
Consequently, if I was overwhelmed in the beginning, I finished the story more bewildered than satisfied, wondering if there was some chunk of the book that I’d actually missed.