Beating Heart: a ghost story
A. M. Jenkins
She is a ghost: a figure glimpsed from the corner of your eye, a momentary chill, and a memory of secret kisses and hidden passion. He is 17 years old: Evan Calhoun, warm and alive, and ever since moving to this big abandoned house, he has dreamt of her. Ghost and boy fascinate each other–until her memories and his desire collide in a moment that changes them both.
Combining verse fragments with chiseled prose, A. M. Jenkins captures the compelling voice of a long-dead ghost and the perspective of a modern teen, twining mystery and romance in this evocative, sensual, and unrelentingly engrossing novel.
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This verse novel is a beautifully written piece, made up of half verse, half prose. The plot is simple, making this an easy read. The plotline follows the story of a room in a house, or rather, what has occurred in that room. It is the story of the ghost of a young woman who was murdered (albeit by accident) in the 1890s. Many years later, a family moves into the house, and the room of the ghost is taken by Evan, a young man. The ghost begins to make connections between Evan and her lover. Evan finds himself having ‘sex dreams’, as he refers to them, in which he makes love to an unknown young woman. Although he is already in a relationship, he realises he is in love with the woman in his dreams. When Evan’s mother finds a strange box full of newspaper clippings and photographs in the house, Evan recognises that the girl in his dreams is the girl who was murdered in his room many years ago. At about this time the ghost begins to remember how she was murdered.
The book has adult themes and would be suitable for readers aged fifteen and over. It is both a romance and a murder mystery, with solid text counterbalanced by the whisperings and memories of the ghost. This is a very satisfying book for both verse and novel lovers.
Maria, age 16, Canberra, Australia