Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books

Annie loves drawing, running barefoot, her family, and possibly Max, her running partner. It’s an eventful time for the 12-year-old: as her mother is about to give birth, her beloved grandfather is sliding slowly into dementia.

Her friendship with Max is in transition too. He believes joining a team will be his route to a better life, but Annie is reluctant to exchange the sheer joy of running for external notions of success.

The changes in Annie’s life are paralleled by the alterations in the apple she has to draw 100 times for art class: the fruit is eaten, begins to decay, and finally the seed is all that remains.

An unusual, spare novel written in free verse, Heartbeat tackles the largest of themes - life, death and art - but leaves plenty of space for readers to ponder the questions and make their own connections.

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