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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Matter of Heart by Amy Fellner Dominy
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on May 12, 2015
(Last Updated On: November 1, 2021)
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.
Today I am lucky enough to be part of the A Matter of Heart blog tour brought to you by the Fantastic Flying Book Club! Read on to see my review, my favorite quotes, the sports I played in high school, and at the very end there’s a special giveaway for you all!
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.”