Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Blog Tour: In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

Welcome to the In A Heartbeat blog tour! Today I'm excited to host Loretta Ellsworth! Let's start with her guest blog!

Thank you, Alea, for asking me to be a guest blogger. My blog post today is about cellular memory. When I first started researching heart transplants, I’d never heard of the theory of cellular memory, which is the idea that memory is stored not just in our brains, but at the cellular level. If every cell in our body has its own mind and if you transfer tissues from one body to another, then the cells from the first body will carry memories into the second body.

I read about many cases of heart transplant recipients who felt as though they’d inherited new memories along with their new hearts. I read about a woman who’d received the heart of a young man who’d died after being stabbed in his lower back. After the surgery she experienced shooting pains in her lower back. Her husband reported that during the night she’d have nightmares and wake up screaming, pointing to her lower back. I read about people who experienced profound personality changes, who suddenly started liking different types of music and food than before, and others who dreamed of their heart donors. In his book The Heart’s Code, Paul Pearsall described the case in which a young girl received the heart of a murdered girl and who had nightmares about a man attacking her. Her description of the man was so detailed – the time, the weapon, the place, the clothes he wore, that her psychiatrist decided to call the police, and they were able to arrest the man based on her description.

Candace Pert is a scientist who has been studying how chains of amino acids, called neuropeptides, send messages back and forth between the brain and the body. It used to be thought that neuropeptides only existed in the brain, but now they’ve been found throughout the whole body, especially in the heart. And the heart has been found to have its own complex nervous system, which influences the communication between brain and heart.

What scientists don’t understand is why some people claim to have these memories and others don’t. Many doctors feel that these experiences are just side effects of the immunosuppressive drugs that patients take. In some online blogs I read, patients stated that they don’t tell their doctors about these feelings even when they do have them. I doubt there’s enough known about cellular memory to draw any conclusions at this time. But it does warrant more research and transplant patients do need validation of their feelings.

After reading these accounts, I knew that this would be the bridge for my two characters – a heart that would connect them in more ways than just as a donated pump. Eagan, who is so different from Amelia, helps her learn to live life to the fullest by the personality traits she passes on to her. And those newfound traits end up leading Amelia back to Eagan’s family.

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a link to a video about cellular memory and heart transplants:

And if you’re interested in organ donation, here’s another link:

Thanks Loretta! Onto my review!


When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart.

When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different—dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy—her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life, meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on.

Told in alternating viewpoints, In a Heartbeat tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart.

In a Heartbeat was a fascinating book about love, life and making changes told from the viewpoints of two teen girls, Eagan and Amelia.

I love how both Eagan (an ice skater that hits her head on a board during a performance and dies) and Amelia (a girl with a bad heart that receives Eagan's heart) have such different lives and never actually meet but compliment each others stories and learn from each other. It's a beautiful story that is made all the better but the short chapters that switch back and forth from both of their viewpoints.

If I was asked to compare this book with another I would say it has a few similarities with The Everafter, at least when it comes to Eagan's story. They both reflect back on someone's life and look forward into the everafter.

I love how one heart, Eagan's heart brings these two families together and changes both girls for the better. Eagan is able to let go of her regrets and past and Amelia is able to blossom and start her new life with her new heart. It's a wonderful book that I would definitely suggest!

In A Heartbeat was released on February 2nd!
Genre: Young Adult
4.5/5 Stars
ARC provided by author for tour
Loretta Ellsworth's website

And something really exciting, a chance to win a signed copy of In A Heartbeat!

Here's how to enter to win a signed copy of In A Heartbeat!

Fill out the giveaway entry form here.

The giveaway is open to addresses within the U.S. and Canada only.

The giveaway will end February 23rd at 6:59 pm Central Time.

**Copy provided by the author**


  1. Wow, I'd never heard that about heart transplant recipients. Sounds like a fascinating premise for a book.

  2. Fascinating! It sounds like a really cool book in addition to being a nifty premise.

  3. I entered! this book sounds awesome!!

  4. I had to enter this one. I'm a pediatric cardiac nurse and I've seen both sides of the heart transplant process. I would love to read this book to see the author's perspective on the story!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...