by Amy Fellner Dominy
Release Date: May 2015
Readers will happily sink into this emotionally grounded, contemporary young adult novel about the sudden end of one girl's Olympic swimming dreams and the struggles she endures before realizing there are many things that define who we are.
Sixteen-year-old Abby Lipman is on track to win the state swim championships and qualify for the Olympic trials when a fainting incident at a swim meet leads to the diagnosis of a deadly heart condition. Now Abby is forced to discover who she is without the one thing that's defined her entire life.
Abby is this powerhouse swimmer. She’s on her way to qualify for the Olympics when suddenly everything crashes around her. We really see Abby go through the stages of grief because this is what it’s really about. She is losing something she loves that is a huge piece of herself. She doesn’t know who she is without swimming. It even seeps into her relationship with her boyfriend. I have a chronic disease myself, not life threatening like Abby’s but I was diagnosed in college and I remember that moment when someone tells you that you will never be well again. That there are things you can no longer do. I thought Abby’s struggle was so well portrayed. It’s easy to say it’s only swimming and that her life is more important. To her that is her life. There are times that I felt angry at Abby for putting herself in the situations but I also felt so bad for her. We see her go through so much.
Her parents are also a really interesting aspect too. I felt frustrated at her dad at times because it felt like he was putting his dreams on Abby’s shoulders. She didn’t seem to see it that way but she was desperate to impress him. Make him proud. Her mother is really the one that steps up and wants what is best for Abby even if it makes her the bad guy.
The romance is really not the main focus but I really liked how we are introduced from the beginning to Connor being her boyfriend. He comes off as a jerk but he also has a couple sweet moments, when he’s able to describe things about Abby because he had been watching her before. I liked how it showed her HCM showing them what they really have between them. I also loved Alec, it was a good kind of love triangle. These are two very different guys and the things about Abby that are important to them are very different.
I liked Abby’s best friend Jen as well. Super supportive and concerned. That they could be fighting one minute and fine the next. A great betrayal of true friendship.
I really liked this book and I’m not that into swimming and I was sucked into those parts too. I love when a book teaches us something that we might not know. I’m aware of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy but I felt like A Matter of Heart really made me think about it. Like watching out for it in my own kids. This is a great read.
I actually have two playlist today. One is for the book and the other is the sporty topic I picked.
A Playlist You Must Listen to While Working Out
So I was a dancer for 13 years and during my run I did mostly Ballet. I also did Jazz and because I was in a dance company I did modern as well. (I was not really a fan of modern) There are a couple of songs that remind me of class because my teacher played them every day. I'm not including the ballet ones but the Jazz ones are Vogue (when I was younger) and then Black Magic Woman (when I was older). I seriously can smell the sweaty studio when I hear those songs and I feel like I need to be doing some warm up dance exercises. I also included other songs that I like to listen to.
The book has romance in it but it's really not the focus. It's more about Abby and how she deals with her swim career. So I picked songs that kind of remind of that. The song Lose Yourself is talking about music but I was thinking about it in relation to swimming. If I had to pick a song that stood out to me for the book I would have to say Pumpin Blood by NONONO