Title: A Matter of Heart
Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Readers will happily sink into this emotionally grounded, contemporary young adult novel about the sudden end of one girl's Olympic swimming dreams and the struggles she endures before realizing there are many things that define who we are.
Sixteen-year-old Abby Lipman is on track to win the state swim championships and qualify for the Olympic trials when a fainting incident at a swim meet leads to the diagnosis of a deadly heart condition. Now Abby is forced to discover who she is without the one thing that's defined her entire life.
A Matter of Heart is a whirlwind of a story. Abby Lipman has spent her entire life focusing on swimming. Every day she wakes up really early to get to the pool and then she swims again later at night. She's the fastest swimmer on her school's swim team, and this year, she knows that she could qualify for the Olympic trials. Her times keep getting better and better, until she gets diagnosed with a heart condition. Now she can't swim competitively or work herself as much as she used to, because she needs to use beta blockers. How could she live her life without swimming every day?
This book made me realize how much people focus on sports. Some people really do that, and that just blows my mind. I couldn't imagine having to live my life without the one thing that I rely on to keep me happy-my books. Poor Abby had to learn to live without her crutch. I felt so bad for her at times, because no matter how many times she was told that she shouldn't swim competitively, she kept saying that she still wanted to. It was heartbreaking to read when she said things like that.
One thing I loved about this book was the relationship between Abby and her father. Her father had been a super fast swimmer who wanted to hopefully end up at the Olympics one day as well, though he was injured and hurt his collarbone so his dream got passed on to his daughter. I love how Abby was always talking about how she and her father always talked about their dream as well. Relationships like the one that Abby and her father have are important.
Abby's boyfriend, Connor, absolutely got on my nerves from page one. He was so annoying! My favorite character was definitely Alec. He was training hard to hopefully end up at Stanford with a scholarship for his swimming abilities. Alec was also way nicer than Connor was, especially to Abby. I just wish that Abby hadn't hated Alec so much!
A Matter of Heart was an eye-opener. It's heartbreaking to know that the diagnosis that Abby received actually does effect tons of athletes in today's society, even causing some deaths. Amy Fellner Dominy definitely did her research with this topic, and I think it's great that she's getting the word out about it. This book is worth a read if you're looking for something different!
"Swimmers swim-and I'm a swimmer."
"I've never seen you move so fast except when class is over."
"Right before he sends us off, you flip down your goggles like you're putting on a helmet and going off into battle."
"Swimming wasn't always about winning. When I was a kid, I swam because it was fun and not because I was trying to get somewhere."
"'You're wrong about a lot of things.' He shoots me one last intense gaze. 'For one thing, I've been staring at you for a lot longer than a month.'"
I know it's wrong, making him believe in a lie, but I don't care. I finally feel alive again."
"I want to leave me behind and I want to fly to where the pain can't reach me at all."
"Life is full of risk."
"You have more heart than anyone I know."
"I'm Abby Lipman, and I'm a fighter. It's time I get in the pool and remember who I am and what I can do."
"Death is what happens when your dream ends."
"And in that last instant when my life is fading out, it's suddenly clear. I don't want to die."
Sports I Play!
Believe it or not, I'm actually still a high school student! Therefore, I still play sports every year. I've been playing field hockey since seventh grade, so it's been about five years of playing that. I'd have to say that it's my favorite sport because I enjoy it so much. I'm a pretty fast runner, so I always play midfield. I've never played any other position in field hockey!
I also started playing lacrosse my freshmen year of high school, so I've been playing that for three years. In my opinion, it's kind of like field hockey in the air. It's a great alternative to my fall sport. For lacrosse, I play midfield and defense, though I think I prefer defense more!
Though many may say that it's not a sport, I'm a huge fan of jump roping. I don't exactly play it on a team, but my town has been doing a jump rope camp for ages. It's pretty intense actually... it's not your average little girl jump roping camp once you get into the higher levels. I have been jump roping since kindergarten as a camper there, though ever since age 11, I've been coaching younger girls on how to do tricks and different techniques. I look forward to it every summer!
What sports do you play?
About the Author
Amy Fellner Dominy worked as a copywriter in the advertising business before leaving to earn her MFA in playwriting. Her plays for adults and children have been staged in various cities around the country. Amy's novels for teens include OyMG (Walker, 2011) and AUDITION & SUBTRACTION (Walker, 2012.) Amy's next book is a contemporary YA coming Spring, 2015 from Random House. It's called A MATTER OF HEART.
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