Monday, February 19, 2018

This Heart of Mine - Review

This Heart of Mine

By: CC Hunter

Expected Publication: February 27th 2018 by Wednesday Books

384 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

This Heart of Mine is a haunting, poignant tale about living and dying, surviving grief, guilt, and heartache, while discovering love and hope in the midst of sadness.

Transplant stories can be a bit controversial. There are real stories about transplant patients having all sorts of odd feelings, dreams, and behaviors after receiving a transplant. But many people who haven't experienced this are skeptical and find stories about this to be...hokey and unrealistic. Before, I address This Heart of Mine I wanted to say that I appreciated that CC Hunter based this story on her husband's own personal experience with being a transplant patient. Of course this story stretches a bit beyond her husband's experience, but it adds credence to things that seem completely impossible.

This Heart of Mine is full of weighty topics and emotion. To start things off, Leah's currently living with an artificial heart, but she knows that this is only a temporary solution. And with her rare blood type, it's unlikely that she'll receive a heart transplant and will probably die. I mean talk about weighty and emotional up front. Matt's father died in the military a couple of years ago and so his entire family (mom and twin brother Eric) are still struggling with the grief from his death. Again...weighty and emotional. But then something happens and Eric dies too. What's ruled as a suicide by the authorities just doesn't sit right with Matt. He knows his twin brother so much that Eric used to accuse him of being inside his head. And Matt knows that Eric wouldn't put his mother and himself through the grief of losing another member of their family. And then Leah received Eric's heart. She's faced with the gratitude that her life may not be as short as she once believed, but that's only possible because someone else died. And even still, there's no guarantee that her body won't ultimately reject the heart. And so now she has the possibility of a future that she never had before, but that future isn't set in stone. So much depth. And the emotion is pretty authentic, especially knowing that CC Hunter experienced some of these same situations with her husband.

Some might accuse Matt and Leah of having an insta-love kind of relationship because of their first encounter that we get to experience. However, I liked that CC Hunter provided a background where each had noticed and liked the other prior to the first encounter that we get as the reader. Also, there's a large gap between their first encounter and their second. Again...this isn't their true first and second encounters...just the ones that are revealed to us as the reader. I really enjoyed their relationship and the balance between the two of them versus their mission of finding out what really happened to Eric.

I did predict what happened to Eric from early on. I had one slight detail off in regards to Cassie, but overall, this aspect of the book wasn't as mysterious as I would really have liked. And the resolution of this part of the book really felt wrapped up maybe a smidgen too quickly. It was like there was a question for so long throughout the book and then BAM it was answered.

Favorite quotes: grandmother used to say it was okay to see someone in a beautiful red dress and think, I want a dress like hers. But it wasn't okay to think, I want a dress like hers and I want her to have a wart on her nose.

-I reach for the cereal bowl. Heart healthy is printed on large letters on a package. And it shows a bowl of cereal topped with strawberries. Generally when they show fruit on top, it's because you're gonna need it.

-Don't do anything you know you'll regret. But do enough to know exactly what you'll regret and learn to regret less.

Overall, I really enjoyed This Heart of Mine. I'm intrigued by the twin connection and the donor/recipient connection as well. While there were so many emotions that I went through, I didn't cry. I did tear up though. And I liked the relationship between Leah and Matt. I also really loved the friendship between Leah and Brandy. Even though I didn't discuss this in the heart of my review, I would put these two down as one of my favorite sets of BFFs. This Heart of Mine gets 4 Stars. Have you read This Heart of Mine? What did you think? Let me know!

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