Cover image for Heart to heart
Heart to heart

1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, 2010.
Physical Description:
viii, 214 p. : ill. ; 19 cm
Reading Level:
HL 590 L Lexile
Relates the complicated friendship of a teenaged girl, her best friend, her best friend's boyfriend, and a young heart transplant recipient.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available

On Order



From Lurlene McDaniel, the bestselling author of young adult inspirational fiction, comes Heart to Heart . This emotionally charged novel explores loss, love, renewal, and the ways in which these complex bonds within families and between friends are tested at life's most challenging moments.
Elowyn Eden and Kassey Messechek are best friends. They share every aspect of their lives. But one thing Elowyn has not yet shared with Kassey is that she checked the organ donor box on her newly acquired driver's license. Kassey only learns of this in a startling and devastating way--when Elowyn's life-giving donor wishes are about to be honored.
Arabeth St. Clair has not had the luck to have a best friend. Due to her diseased heart, she's led a sheltered life. When Arabeth is sixteen, she and her mother receive the call that will change their lives--but they don't know to whom they should be forever grateful.
When the worlds of these three girls and their families intersect, lives are changed in ways never imagined. Most especially, it is Kassey who sees things differently, for she can keep alive the memory of her dear friend by sharing the renewed life of another teenage girl, while helping to ease the pain of the two families involved and coming to terms with her own.

Author Notes

Lurlene McDaniel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 5, 1944. She received a B.A. in English from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Before she started writing young adult books, she wrote a magazine column and promos and commercials at a television station. After her children were born, she turned to freelance advertising. When her son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 3, she attended a convention for diabetes and met up with the organizer who connected her with a publishing company specializing in children's books.

Her first book was Kickaroo: The Soccer Playing Kangaroo. She soon realized that writing picture books was not what she wanted to do, so she wrote Will Never Dance Again, about a girl who is diagnosed with diabetes. Thus began her career writing stories about teenagers who overcome life altering illnesses and the lessons learned. Her other books include Somewhere Between Life and Death, Too Young to Die, Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever, Six Months to Live, and The Year of Chasing Dreams. She received a RITA Award for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and three IRA-CBC Children's Choice Awards.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-After her best friend, Elowyn, is in a fatal car accident, Kassey finds out that Elowyn registered to be a donor while receiving her new driver's license. Her death brings new life to Arabeth, who has been on the heart-transplant list for years. As Kassey attempts to come to terms with her grief, Arabeth begins to realize that Elowyn may not be completely gone. She finds herself suddenly sharing the same intense passions as the deceased, right down to the same boyfriend and best friend. As she tries to reclaim her life, Kassey and Elowyn's family cling to the hope that she still exists in the heart of this new girl. The concept of cellular memory, where organ recipients retain knowledge, skills, or feelings of the organ's original owner, is fascinating. Unfortunately, McDaniel doesn't fully delve into the details of the concept. Instead, the book focuses on the drama and angst created by the situation, which is still enough to keep some readers interested. Kassey and Arabeth are realistic teens, and even secondary characters are rounded out and interesting. The story, although a bit melodramatic, moves quickly and makes for a satisfying read. Give this to fans of McDaniel's work or anyone who enjoys a good cry.-Jessie Spalding, Tempe Public Library, AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

After Elowyn dies, her best friend, Kassey, is grief-stricken. When she meets Arabeth, the ill teen who receives organ-donor Elowyn's heart, Kassey is freaked to notice similarities between her friend and Arabeth--changes in mannerism that Arabeth herself can't explain. Throw in a drug-addicted absentee father and romance with the dead girl's boyfriend for standard elements of a formulaic McDaniel melodrama. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Those familiar with McDaniel's tearjerker style won't be surprised or disappointed by this latest iteration, in which teenager Elowyn Eden's untimely death enables another teen, Arabeth St. Clair, to live through the gift of heart transplantation. Readers are briefly directly introduced to the charismatic teen, but fiery-tempered Elowyn lives on after her deadly car accident through the stories and memories of her best friend, Kassey, and, eerily, through Arabeth, who immediately after transplantation finds herself changed. Changes range from craving Elowyn's favorite ice-cream flavor to the transformation of her timid personality into an outgoing style she has never known. At first, Arabeth is confused, but as she befriends Elowyn's family, boyfriend and, especially, Kassey, she realizes that her transplant included more than just a heart. The author plays this as a positive sharing rather than a more sinister takeover, and woven into this emotional text are threads related to parent/child relationships, first loves and death and dying, which add depth and a sadness that is expertly tempered with hope and a love of life. (Fiction. YA)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Best friends forever, Kassey and Elowyn met in seventh grade, and not even high-school boyfriend relationships can shake their bond. When Elowyn is killed in a senseless car accident, her loved ones are left with their grief. But Elowyn's transplanted heart renews the life of Arabeth, whose newfound health also brings some sudden and uncanny parallels in behavior and expressions with her donor. Is part of Elowyn's personality now embedded in Arabeth? The prospect of the cellular memory phenomenon crops up, and the eerie connections between Elowyn and Arabeth tantalize Elowyn's parents, Kassey, and others. As Arabeth struggles with identity and healing, the role she now plays in the lives of the bereaved especially Elowyn's mother threatens to overwhelm her. Reason eventually triumphs, and life takes a hopeful turn in McDaniel's wrenching page-turner that is sure to please fans.--O'Malley, Anne Copyright 2010 Booklist