Chloe Russell is a seventeen year old straight A high school student in the USA. One day when she is training for cross country running, at which she is normally quite fast, she has a sudden heart attack caused by a rare form of cardiomyopathy. The attack necessitates Chloe having a heart transplant. Beyond this point of course Chloe’s life changes. She becomes keen on surfing, despite the disapproval of her medical adviser. Her surfing instructor is a young man named Kai Harris. The details of Chloe’s recovery from her operation are well researched.
During this period Chloe attends summer school for the first time, having missed an earlier semester. At the same time she develops an intense interest in finding the family of the individual whose heart she now owns. Her doctor has informed Chloe that the family of her donor have expressed a wish not to be contacted. For this reason the approach she desires to make would be illegal. Can Chloe achieve her aim? What steps will she have to take to make the contact possible? And how are Chloe and Kai connected? These questions now dominate the text.
Now however Takaoka makes a surprising narrative move. Most readers in this age group may have heard of the theory of the multiverse. The theory states that beside the universe which one person inhabits at a given moment there are multiple other universes in which the same individual has different lives. We now learn that there is a universe in which Kai and Chloe fall in love, and one other universe in which their relationship is as different as it could possibly be.
Although this narrative manoeuvre is no doubt interesting and original, in the context of this book it cannot be said to work effectively. The first two thirds of the novel read like a conventional romantic story about recovery from a life-saving operation. Then a science fiction coda is bolted on in a somewhat arbitrary manner. From the viewpoint of this reviewer the conjunction is unconvincing and inappropriate. A strong and emotionally potent real life story has been spoiled.