Sixteen-year-old Hailey Scott was sure her ex-boyfriend’s cheating shattered her heart. Turns out, it’s not broken—it’s just sick. Diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a life-threatening condition that can result in sudden cardiac arrest, Hailey is sure her heart will never be the same. After handing in her title of cheerleading captain and her brand-new driver’s license, Hailey realizes she must keep her condition a secret if she wants any shot at a normal life.
Refusing to live as the girl with the ticking time bomb in her chest, Hailey sneaks into a club to see Madison Avenue, the hottest new local band. There, she crashes into the band’s drummer, Declan, whose wild but rhythmic beats make her heart thump. Together, Hailey and Declan wreak havoc through the mall, crash the homecoming dance, and search for the perfect snare drum. As she navigates their relationship around her disease and her overprotective mom, the walls of Hailey’s heart grow weaker—forcing her to decide if falling in love one last time is worth the risk.
I stand in front of the TV, blocking my parents’ view. There’s a commercial break so I have their attention.
“I’m just staying the night at Leah’s.”
“I don’t know…” My mom glances over to my dad. If it were up to her, I’d be strapped to a hospital bed, hooked up to a bunch of bleeping machines.
If my parents knew where I was actually going tonight, they’d be mad. Really, really mad. Like murder-me-themselves-instead-of-waiting-for-the-inevitable mad. But this ache in my chest, it won’t let up. I just need to get out of here—forget that I have a diseased heart and drown out the pain now—before it kills me. That is, if they’ll let me go.
“All we’re going to do is watch movies. And make popcorn.” I look at my dad with big, pleading eyes. Like good, healthy girls do.
“Hailey,” he says in that way that makes me feel like I’m five. “I don’t think it’s a good idea right now.” My mom nods. I open my mouth to say something, but he holds up a hand. “You should take it easy tonight.”
“I can take it easy at Leah’s house.” I’m talking too fast. I’m going to blow this. “I promise, I won’t overexert myself. I’ll lie around all night. We’ll go to bed early. And I’ll—”
There’s a honk in the driveway, and I flash him one more desperate look. Please, please just let me go. If that doctor is right, I might not have that much time left.