Monday, December 21, 2020

Heart Bones - Review

Heart Bones

By: Colleen Hoover

Publication: August 27th 2020 by Hoover Ink, Inc.

300 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

( Goodreads | Amazon )

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Goodreads description--Beyah comes from a life of poverty and neglect; Samson from a family of wealth.

When the two find themselves spending the summer as neighbors, they soon realize money is one of the few things they don't have in common.

Their bond is too intense to ignore, but with only ten weeks separating them from the start of their new lives on opposite ends of the country, Beyah and Samson decide to stay in the shallow end of a summer fling.

What they don't realize is that a rip current is coming and it's about to drag both their hearts out to sea.

While I always get sucked into Colleen Hoover's books and characters, I often find them to be dark. Many of them aren't books that I'm interested in ever re-reading. I've rated several of her books as 5 Stars mostly because she's made me cry more than an intense like of the stories. It Ends with Us, All Your Perfects, Regretting You and Ugly Love are all ones that fit this recipe. When I think about it, all of her books have so much darkness that the characters have to overcome. I find myself caring about the characters and wanting them to succeed... wanting them to find a happy ending. Yet the journey to get there isn't full of sunshine and rainbows or happiness.

So as dark things seem to be a focus of her writing, we start off with Beyah coming home from work to find her mother finally overdosed on drugs and died on their sofa. Their landlord is a jerk and Beyah's mother was already behind on rent. She has no other choice but to contact her father. He hasn't really been there for Beyah even though he's always sent child support payments and Beyah used to visit him every summer for two weeks until they both started making excuses not to make the trips happen. Unfortunately, Beyah never saw a cent of the child support money. Her mother spent it all on drugs, alcohol, and various other vices over the years. Surviving has been anything but easy for Beyah. She actually won a scholarship for volleyball to Penn State, and she can't wait to get out of her hometown that's never felt like home at all. So she makes the trip to Texas to spend the summer with her Dad before heading off to college. She doesn't plan on growing ties, making friends, and certainly not falling in love.

As the description says, Beyah and Samson are both drawn to sad things. And the saddest thing around either of them is the other. Samson is living in the house next door and he's good friends with Beyah's stepsister's boyfriend. So Beyah and Samson find themselves thrown together frequently. And both feel a draw they can't ignore. Both have plans to leave at the end of summer so they're trying desperately to both savor their time remaining together as well as hold themselves from falling into the deep end.

As always with Colleen Hoover, there are twists and spoilers that I can't discuss here. But I will say that I wasn't surprised by any of the events that took place in this one. That's not always a bad thing though. After 22 books, I've learned a lot about her writing style and storytelling preferences. I will say that even though she included a letter, it was short, not an information dump, and not a means of explaining away plot holes. For that I'm thankful.

Colleen Hoover hasn't been impartial in her political views. They trickle into her stories. Usually, they aren't overdone or preachy. Granted I'm probably too sensitive to these things. I wouldn't say Heart Bones is particularly political, but I just take issue with "toxic masculinity". And the other issue, not political at all really, was how Beyah was encouraging Sara not to worry about her weight. Should Sara be mimicking Beyah's every bite of food in an attempt to get to Beyah's same size? Of course not. But dang if losing weight isn't hard enough as it is when you're trying. So being encouraged to "just enjoy your food" isn't always helpful. I say this from personal experience. What's wrong with someone wanting to lose weight or be more healthy? It's just a tough thing to balance. And mostly a first world problem.

Some quotes I'd like to discuss:

-People like me are extremely skilled at pretending we’re just fine.

Then don't blame others for not helping you or seeing you when you intentionally set out to deceive them and you succeed. You can't applaud your own abilities to deceive and then fault them for not seeing through you.

-Sometimes I believe personalities are shaped more by damage than kindness. Kindness doesn’t sink as deep into your skin as the damage does. The damage stains your soul so bad, you can’t scrub it off.

Maybe so. Or maybe that's more of a victim mentality. I know plenty of people who have been dealt horrible hands that haven't let those things define who they are or how they see the world.

-I’ve yet to shed a tear for my mother, but I can somehow spare one for a repetitive act of nature? I can’t help but be a little moved by this, though. The sky is swirled with so many colors, it’s as if the earth has written a poem using clouds, communicating her appreciation to those of us who take care of her.

Romans says "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Romans 1:20) This means that creation proclaims the glory of God. The reason you feel so small and so big at the same time when you look at the ocean or the stars...the reason why you are profoundly moved by nature is that it proclaims the glory of God.

-She reaches down for a bottle of liquor stuck in the sand. “Here,” she says, handing it to me. “Alcohol makes everyone fun.” I bring it to my mouth and pretend to take a drink. I’d rather be boring than become my mother, so I have no desire to actually swallow it. But I pretend to for Sara’s sake. I’ve already been enough of a downer tonight, I don’t want to deny the alcohol and make her feel guilty for drinking.

I'm convinced that many find alcohol so appealing because as teenagers it's forbidden. And forbidden things are always enticing. Then adults flaunt their ability to now do the thing they were forbidden from. I just don't understand why so many treat drinking like it's so awesome, so cool, so fun. Like life can't be lived without drinking. That's just me. Sorry to come off as judgy. It's just a pet peeve. Own it if you don't want to drink. Especially given what she's been through in her life.

-I wonder what version of herself my mother could have been if it weren’t for her addictions? I wish I could have known that version. For her sake, that’s the version of her I’m going to choose to miss. The person she never had the chance to be.

-I’m at a point in my life where the outcome of my future won’t be determined by the outcome of any potential relationship.

Ultimately, I read Heart Bones quickly, in about 2 days. I cheered for Beyah. I hoped for her. I wanted to see good things coming to her. And Samson too. I loved Beyah's faith in who he was and how he'd treated her. I found myself able to predict the twists and turns, but I didn't mind being able to do so. Heart Bones gets 4 Stars. Have you read Heart Bones? What did you think? Let me know!

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