Heartbeats by Ann Herrick

Heartbeats by Ann Herrick
Publisher: Chaucer Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (40 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 stars
Review by: Astilbe

Three short stories of teen love and longing

Beneath the Surface:
Lariena can’t go in the water, and the mysterious Adrian won’t come out. Is that any way to have a summer romance? But eventually Adrian teaches Lariena to face her fears and not be afraid of what’s Beneath the Surface, even when it’s the scary unknown.

Shortcut to Romance:
An assignment, a snow storm and a detour take Becca on a Shortcut to Romance.

Even ten years after she disappeared from his life, Ben cannot forget the magic of the girl named Saskia. What will he do now that he has the opportunity to see her once more?

Sometimes the perfect guy shows up when you least expect him to.

The romance in “Beneath the Surface” moved too quickly. I liked Lariena and Adrien as individuals quite a bit, but it was surprising to me to see how quickly they moved from meeting to falling for each other. They knew almost nothing about one another when this happened. It would have been nice for them to discover they shared some common interests or goals in life so that I could have had at least one concrete reason for hoping they’d end up together. With that being said, I did like how much room the ending left for readers to come up with our own theories about what might have happened next.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about “Shortcut to Romance” was how opinionated and perfectionistic the main character was about everything from her schoolwork to what kind of Valentine’s Day card she was planning to make for her crush. She had a well-developed personality that was so complex she genuinely felt like a real person to me, flaws and all. Becca’s insistence on doing everything strictly and methodically was also a fascinating contrast to Colt’s relaxed approach to their group assignment and to life in general. I loved seeing them work together. While it took me a while to decide that I wanted to see them become a couple, I didn’t look back once I made up my mind about that. Sometimes opposites attract in all kinds of interesting ways.

There were a few things about “Saskia” that I didn’t fully understand. Ben’s memories of the girl he used to know were vivid and beautiful, but I had trouble making the leap from his memories to what was currently going on in his life as he met up with her once again. It was never completely clear to me where the past ended and the present began. That made it hard for me to get into this tale despite how much I enjoyed the first scene.

I’d recommend Heartbeats to anyone who is in the mood for some gentle love stories.

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