cover image A Heartbeat Away from You

A Heartbeat Away from You

Ann M. Miller. Sword and Silk, $16.99 paper (244p) ISBN 979-8-9853-2737-3

Seventeen-year-old Ali Benton’s father has been overprotective ever since she was diagnosed with bradycardia and had a pacemaker implanted, so she’s less than enthused when her mother leaves for an archeological dig in Europe and Ali is forced to uproot her happy life in bustling Toronto to move in with her father in “Snoozeville personified” British Columbia. He won’t let her drive anywhere on her own or stay out late, and he’s also forbidden her to play baseball, which Ali says is “the only thing that made me feel truly alive.” Things are looking grim until she runs into her childhood friend Max, and the two nurture growing romantic feelings while bonding over stressful emotional conflicts, such as Max’s grief over his mother’s recent death and Ali’s frustration in navigating her parents’ divorce. But complications arise when Ali finds out that her father has been paying Max to keep her safe. Feeling hurt and deceived, Ali reckons with her strained relationships—both with her parents and Max—and with a future that might not include her beloved sport. Miller (Captured in Paint) employs alternating perspectives, smart dialogue, palpable chemistry, and tenderly depicted relationships to handily ennoble this stirring, summery read. Characters cue as white. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)