cover image Heartbeat


Norma Fox Mazer, Harry Mazer. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-05808-6

Years ago, Amos saved Tod from drowning, and the grateful friend promised to repay the debt, somehow, sometime. Now Amos shyly requests a favor; he wants Tod to get to know beautiful Hilary and then smooth the way for an introduction to Amos. Tod manages to meet Hilary, who is an aspiring auto mechanic and, in a short time, falls in love with her. Amos knows nothing of Tod's feelings for Hilary (and her reciprocal feelings for Tod), and when he finally meets her, loves her as he always thought he would. A viral infection weakens Amos's heart and he is hospitalized; Tod and Hilary break up--temporarily--so that Amos's last days can be spent believing Hilary loves him. The somewhat complicated plot twists toward the end do not undermine the sensitive telling of this trio's love for one another. Instead, the last chapters provide a dramatic extreme of the eventual outcome: one of them will be without Hilary, and all three of them will lose something in the conflict. A corny moment mars Amos's final scene when he draws Tod and Hilary's hands together. It's a B-movie cliche, out of place in this otherwise realistic story of love. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)