Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Things We Know By Heart

Things We Know By Heart
Author: Jessi Kirby
Published: April 21st, 2015
Hardcover, 304 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend's donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent's heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent's, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas - a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it - especially since he has no idea how they're connected - but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she's falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all that she's lost... and all than remains at stake.

I knew this book would be a tearjerker, it's written all over it. Young girl loses her boyfriend in an accident and must continue living without the boy she's fallen in love with. It's hard to lose anyone at any age, but when you're seventeen and you think you're invincible and you lose someone you love, it does something to you. So Quinn does the only thing she thinks will help her, she tracks down all the recipients of Trent's organs to give herself closure. But when the boy who got Trent's heart doesn't reply to her letter, she takes it into her own hands to find him. But the man she finds blows her away. He is sweet and kind and after a freak fender bender, he takes her to the hospital and doesn't leave her side. He keeps his past hidden, his time in the hospital with his heart problems where he felt weak and afraid, and she keeps her reasons for finding him locked up tight, even though she knows she eventually needs to tell him who she is and that she knew Trent. The closer she gets to Colton, the harder it is to tell him the truth.

I was hooked into this book from the start. Kirby is a great writer and fills her pages with emotion, realism, heartbreak and love. Quinn is living half alive, her heart still belonging to Trent, but when she meets Colton, suddenly the world is colourful again and her heart starts beating for real. Colton lives life to the fullest. After years of hospitalization, he can finally surf and canoe like he used to. He shows Quinn a world she thought she'd lost and the more time she spends with him, the more she falls for him. I loved how the romance built in this book. They were both hesitant at first for different reasons. Colton's family protects him but he just wants to live. Quinn looks at Colton like he's Trent, knowing Trent's heart beats inside him, but the more she gets to know him, the more she realizes he is his own person and that's his heart now. Quinn's growth is amazing and watching her come back to life with Colton's help was a joy to read. The drama that came with all her lies was expected and predictable, but I loved it all the same. It was only a matter of time until the truth came out and I loved how Kirby played it all out.

This is contemporary at its finest. Kirby is a great writer and this book proved she still has it. She weaves stories I would never think to write and creates characters that stand out from the page. Quinn's heartbreak is palpable and her recovery is amazing. This is a great book about moving on without forgetting, finding joy again, and falling in love without fear. This book made me smile, cry, and want to hold my loved ones close. And maybe go surfing, living life to its fullest and knowing that adventure awaits.

"For so long, I was the one with his heart. I just need to see where it is now."

"But it's terrifying to realize how much of your world is wrapped up in loving another person."

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