Title: The Heartbeat Hypothesis
Author: Lindsey Frydman
Publication Date: March 20th, 2017
Age Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
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.
I pulled out my phone and set it on the table. Sixty daunting seconds later, I’d found Emily’s page and twisted the display so he could see.
Jake tapped on the phone, scrolling for only a moment before removing his finger and looking at me. “Why would you think these are mine?”
“Most of them share the same hashtag: my favorite photographer Jake. That’s you. Right?”
He returned his attention to the phone, this time picking it up, interest lighting his face. “Oh. Yeah, I took these. There’s so many damn hashtags, I didn’t even see my name.”
“Well, her whole page, it’s a done-it list.”
His gaze lifted, along with the corners of his lips. “A what?”
“According to her, she never understood why people made lists of the things they were going to do, so she made a page dedicated to all the things she did do.”
“Sounds like Emily.”
Now that is a smile. “Well, it’s inspired me to start my own done-it list, but I want to start by recreating her list.”
Jake set the phone down and slid it across the table. “Recreate it?”
“Yes. Like this one…” I scrolled until I found the photograph. “She threw glow sticks in a pool and went swimming.” I assumed he remembered, since he’d been behind the camera. “I’m going to do that, then put it on my own done-it Tumblr list. Emily only had sixteen done-its, so I plan on redoing all of them.”
After taking a slow sip of coffee, he leaned forward like he was going to share a secret. “Can I make a suggestion?”
I winced, instilled with a burning desire to flee from the coffee shop. There I was, alive and well—with a perfectly functioning heart—and Emily lay six-feet under, dead and gone. Jake probably thought—
“You should name it something else,” he said. “Done-its sounds like Cheez-its, and that’s a little weird, don’t you think? Don’t get me wrong, kudos to my sister for the idea, but uh, she could’ve been more original with the name.” His smile grew, crooked and adorable.
Relief washed over me, and I smiled too. “I agree done-it is unoriginal, but I can’t think of anything better that isn’t also weirder. Can you?”
With a considerate expression, Jake leaned back in the booth, and while he thought, I took a sip of my coffee and cream mixture.
“See. Not as easy as it sounds.” I laughed, warming my fingers around the mug.
Jake chuckled, shaking his head. “Guess I’ll have to get back to you on that one. But where do I come into this?”
I let go of the ceramic and splayed my hands across the tabletop. “I want you to photograph my…poorly named list.”
3.5 “His sister’s heart” Stars
ARC provided by the author
I’d been meaning to read this book for a couple months now, and I’m glad I finally got my hands on it.
What intrigued me most about The Heartbeat Hypothesis was the promise of heartbreak—yeah, promise me angst and you’ll have me. The romance between Audra and Jake was complicated from the start because of the role Jake’s little sister played in the story—Audra received Emily’s heart.
When Audra decides to recreate Emily’s “done-it” list, she asks Jake to help by using his skills as a photographer to capture those special moments, bringing these two people together.
I really enjoyed the premise and the whole idea behind the “done-it” list. Emily was a smart girl. We often spend too much time worrying about what we haven’t done instead of just enjoying what we have. I also liked that Audra decided to recreate that and that she wasn’t afraid of asking for Jake’s help, even though she feared he’d resent her for taking his sister’s heart.
Having said that, I wish I could’ve seen more of that element–Emily’s heart playing a big role. I didn’t feel like Jake cared enough about the fact that Audra had received Emily’s heart and that “a part” of his sister was alive inside of her. He never really showed any sign that it mattered, and it felt like a missed opportunity.
Audra and Jake had some cute moments together, especially when they were recreating the list, but they lacked that extra factor. They weren’t sweet enough, because the story had a certain heaviness to it. They weren’t angst enough, because the story never really went there as far as angst was concerned (see the paragraph above). And while they had some hot scenes, the heat never picked up enough to leave me breathless. So I guess in the end I was left wanting more of at least one of those three elements. Maybe if the author had chosen to make this really angsty (or really sweet, or really hot) and committed to it, I would’ve been hooked.
Out of the two main characters, Jake was my favorite. I liked how damaged he was (even though sometimes he came across as too damaged, especially when it came to the whole situation with his mother and the fire). I thought he had more layers than Audra.
Audra was a little harder to like. I initially felt for her due to her health condition, but I feared she ended up taking too many steps back as far as character growth was concerned. Toward the end, she’d made so many bad choices that I wasn’t sure if I could get behind her. I think she learned her lesson, but I’m not 100% sure she redeemed herself.
Overall, I liked the story. I thought it had a very strong concept and the writing was solid.
Guest review contributed by U.S. – Brazil Book Review. As a book review diplomat of sorts, this blogger reviews books in English and Portuguese. If there’s romance in the book, she’s probably loving it.