Hearts Still Beating

Hearts Still Beating
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Release Date
April 02, 2024
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Seventeen-year-old Mara is dead—mostly. Infected with a virus that brought the dead back to life and the world to its knees, she wakes up in a facility to learn a treatment for the disease has been found. No longer a Tick, Mara is placed in an experimental resettlement program. But her recovery is complicated by her destination: she’s sent to live with the best friend she hasn’t seen since the world ended—and since their first and only kiss.

Seventeen-year-old Rory is alive—barely. With impaired mobility from an injury and a dead sister, Rory’s nightmares are just as monstrous as the Ticks that turned her former best friend. Even after the Island—one of a handful of surviving communities—rebuilds itself, Rory is prepared for the Ticks to return at any time. She never expected them to come in the form of the only girl she’s ever loved.

As the girls struggle with their pasts and the people they’ve become, and with the Island’s fragile peace in the balance, Rory and Mara must lean on each other to survive—or risk losing the girl they love all over again.

Editor review

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Hearts Still Beating
(Updated: May 02, 2024)
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What worked: Thrilling post-apocalyptic romance where not even a plague can stop love. This story had me glued right from the start. Fifteen-year-old Rory and Mara shared a kiss. Then hours later the plague hits. In this case, those bitten by the deadly virus become 'Ticks'. It's kind of like zombies. The story starts with Mara in a facility being treated with a daily injected drug Dyebucetin, that suppresses the urge to kill but doesn't bring Ticks back to life. To Mara's surprise, she's told she'll be sent to her godparent's place on an island outside of San Diego, California. Unfortunately, they are Rory's parents. Mara fears seeing Rory again, especially after what she did.

Rory is now hardened and is angry that her parents have accepted Mara into their home. Everyone has lost someone, including Rory. Not all are happy at Mara and the Altered(Ticks who have been rehabilitated) coming to their town. This includes Mal, the leader of the island.

Action-packed scenes include the 'pit' where Rory is thrown in with Ticks. The story is told in both Mara and Rory's POV. Each carries their pain and regrets. Add to this Mara's older sister Carter who refuses to forgive Mara after she slaughtered their parents.

Sapphic romance set behind a world gone mad with violence, hatred, and the walking undead. The major plus of this novel has to be the chemistry that sizzles between Rory and Mara. You can't help but hope that Mara gets cured and they get back together again.

Warm Bodies meets queer romance set in a world-turned-topsy turvy and a love that survives all odds.
Good Points
1. Great chemistry
2. Post apocalyptic romance
3. GLBTQ representation
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