“People are always saying this are a nightmare. The traffic is a nightmare. There are three people ahead of them in a queue, and it’s a nightmare. The ATM only gives fifties, and it’s a nightmare. They can’t open their shoelace because it’s knotted too tightly and they’ve cut their fingernails and that’s a nightmare too. They don’t know much if that is their idea of a nightmare.”
Annie is in love, and the thing about love is that it’s a nightmare, when you can’t work out if the boy you like likes you back and you read into everything that happens. Love often leads you into a hell, but it rarely leads you to finding a dead body and a missing person does it? Now Annie has to piece back her life and though she relies on the help of her dad – her only parent – her best friend and Dr Thing, it is only Annie herself who can gather the pieces for the full picture. But to do that she has to delve into the scary past.
I was all set for an emotional roller coaster when I opened Heart-Shaped and that is exactly what I got. A poignant tale about love, loss and figuring out who you really are, Heart-Shaped is an emotional and sometimes muddled read which leaves you wanting more.
When I claim Heart-Shaped is muddled, I really do mean that, at the beginning of the book Annie is so confused about everything that has gone on that she skips back and forth whilst telling her story and sometimes you can’t work out where she is. But this works so much in this book. Annie has just found a dead body and its brought up a lot of emotions that Annie can’t really handle, plus the story is kind of told by what she is telling Dr Thing and thats why it comes out a little muddled. Once you get the timeline sorted in your head though you work out certain things and understand more about Annie and why this body has effected her so greatly.
I loved Annie and her personality. She came across as very young and a bit naive in the beginning of the book, I honestly thought she sounded more like an eight year old rather than the 14 year old she actually was, but again the reasoning for this comes to light more when you learn more and once things started making more sense to Annie you could really see a difference on the page. Her best friend Emma was awesome too and really helped Annie out. Dr Thing and Annie’s dad were present but not really spoken about much but I loved the relationship Annie seemed to have with her dad. Other minor characters came across as really well developed even if I didn’t like them (Keith) and I absolutely adored Julie!
My one niggle whilst reading the book was that Jono wasn’t really present enough for me, I couldn’t work out if he was a decent guy, I couldn’t work out what had happened with him. However once I had finished Heart-Shaped I realised that it is actually a companion story to another of Siobhan Parkinson’s books, Bruised, which tells his story. I now HAVE to get my hands on that!
I also HATED that the whole thing with Keith at school was taken the way it was by so many people, but it was realistic (making it even more worrying!) I loved Annie’s brothers reaction to it though and although he wasn’t in the book a lot I loved the effect his reaction had on Annie as she realised that he was there for her.
I really enjoyed Heart-Shaped and thought that it was a beautiful story. Annie had to come to a few realisations to allow her to recover from both the recent events and the not so recent ones and I think that the recent ones helped her with the older ones. I would definitely recommend this book to others but I think I would suggest reading it along with Bruised as things can be a little confusing until you know what Bruised is about. The writing and the story is fantastic and whilst reading I could clearly see why Parkinson has had the crown of Irish Children’s Laureate, I will definitely be checking out more of her work.
Heart-Shaped will be published on August 1st by Hodder Children’s Books. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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