coldhands

All Dani wants is to be normal.  However that is a tall order cause Dani is not normal.  She was born with her heart on the wrong side of her body and if she wants to see her 16th birthday she will need a miracle in the form of a heart.  Amanda is a star gymnast, little ball of dynamite, who puts the fear of God into her competitors. In Cold hands Warm heart by Jill Wolfson, Dani and Amanda lives become intertwined all because of a tragic accident.

No blood flow to the brain.  Death staring at family in the face.  Enter a representative from the transplant network stage right.  When asked if they have considered organ donation, it is quite a shock – of course they haven’t thought about organ donation, after all their daughter just hours ago was healthy, vibrant and strong. They need time to figure things out. Unfortunately there is no time; it is a race against the clock.  The family is still hoping for a miracle but there wasn’t going to be a miracle for Amanda. There could be a miracle for someone else. Amanda unfortunately is Dani’s miracle.

When I got my drivers license I signed up to be an organ donor.  I felt that if anything every happened to me and my organs were in good condition that they could go to some people in need.  My friend Sara is an organ donor recipient.  Six years ago she received the kidney of a young girl who died in a car accident.  She is so very grateful for that kidney – it gave her a new lease on life. At the same time she also realized the cost and grieved for the family just as much as they did. Today, Sara is not just living she is thriving.  The parents of that little girl even in their hour of grief gave her the best gift she has ever received.  It’s the ultimate oxymoron for a person – they lose their loved one but end up saving as many as five lives. There’s this tremendous sadness, but at the same time happiness.

Cold hands, Warm Heart is bound to grab the reader especially the reader that likes melodramatic plotlines with a hint of romance. Realistically told, it brings you into the world of organ donation, both the medical aspect and the emotional one. The book spins its tale in alternating chapters.  Dani is one narrator and Amanda’s brother who is coming to grips with his sister’s death is the other.  The two different perspectives tie this book together and make it an interesting read.  Though Dani’s body is weak, her spirit is very strong and I fell in love her voice. She puts her situation into words at the end, quite succinctly – “when you almost die and some combination and timing and blood type gives you a second chance, you see things differently than other people.” She is very feisty with a great sense of humor. You can’t help hope that everything is going to work out for her in the end.  Tyler, on the other hand, like the rest of his family is grieving the loss of his sister.  It comes as a blow to him though while using her computer how little he knows about her and they lived just down the hall from each other. As he gets to know Amanda, we get to know Amanda and this makes the story all the more powerful.  Thanks to him, we see the connections, the everlasting effects Amanda’s donation had on other people’s lives. This book is truly a celebration of life.

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