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“Thump-thump, thump-thump / bare feet hitting the grass”: this is how Annie likes to run. With bare feet “skimming the ground” she feels free “like the air.” It is a year of change for Annie: her mother is pregnant, her Grandfather is losing his memory and her moody friend Max is running “father and faster” than ever before. In a series of poems, Annie attempts to articulate the sense instability she feels during this time of transition.

Carnegie medal winning author Sharon Creech has experimented with verse forms in other works for children and young people. By using free verse – poetry without a regular rhythm or rhyme – she captures the feelings of flux so commonly associated with the process of growing up. In Heartbeat, the form is used cleverly to convey the key topics of the novel. In one passage, Annie feels her Grandfather is:

[…] evaporating
or shrinking
disappearing –
little pieces vanishing each day

Creech’s book also contains some memorable and inventive imagery. When Annie hears the heartbeat of the “alien baby” in her mother’s stomach it is “a rushing sound,” but when her brother arrives into the world, he seems “infinitely delicate / and yet infinitely whole / already a person.” Creech combines lyrical phrases with a strong sense of pace throughout her novel. Here at BunnieBuzz we would recommend this book for anyone wanting to read poetry in a new and thoroughly thought-provoking way!  
Lydia Mihailovic, literary editor
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