I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by HarperTeen on April 21st 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
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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 she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.
I knew right from the start this book would get me right in the FEELS! A girl mourning the loss of her first love searches out the recipient of his heart and falls in love? The concept isn’t entirely new, in fact I’ve seen a movie with a similar premise, but nevertheless, it is a heartfelt storyline that I couldn’t wait for! I devoured the novel as soon as I got my hands on it and wasn’t disappointed in the least!
The days pass, one after another, measured out in an unbroken, never-ending rhythm. Seemingly infinite, but gone in the blink of an eye-like waves crashing on the shore, or the seasons passing.
Or the beating of a heart.
It’s been 400 days since Trent died after a horrible accident and Quinn is having a rough time of it, needing closure. When her letter to his heart recipient goes unanswered, Quinn tracks him down, hoping that just seeing him living his life may help her feel closer to the life she’s lost. Of course nothing goes as planned and Quinn finds herself getting more than she bargained for when she meets Colton.
Starting in at a point in a character’s life where things are already extremely emotional can leave the reader feeling out of place and disconnected, completely outside of the situation. I never felt that in Things We Know by Heart. Right from the beginning I was connecting with Quinn and feeling her deep loss. Her hesitancy for something new when she meets Colton felt spot on and realistic. Quinn doesn’t jump right in and look for a replacement, but starts a friendship with someone who wants to show her a world she has never seen. That relationship builds and builds into something more, something beautiful. Quinn genuinely falls for Colton and sees a new start and a new life. And who could blame her because Colton was so amazingly sweet! His pursuit of Quinn was adorable. He showed her so many new things and every scene with the two of them made my heart swell for the both of them. Of course there are truths needing to be revealed that cause a snag. I found myself so anxious to get to that point, wanting so much for these characters that deserved all the happiness in the world.
And it wasn’t just Colton who helped heal Quinn’s broken heart. Her family played a huge part in it as well. Quinn’s sister, Ryan, was everything a big sister, and best friend, should be. Pushing her when she needed it but also letting her feel the emotions she rightfully should. Quinn’s grandmother was also a wonderful addition, as well as her parents. The family dynamic was stellar and everything I enjoy in a read.
And what is probably the absolute best is how well the author balanced out the mourning loss of Trent with Quinn’s ability to move on in a romance with Colton. It flowed so well. My heart broke when Quinn would break down, worrying her memories of Trent were fading. But my heart was then lifted when Colton would enter the page. This was one of those rare novels where I would check and see how far along in the book I was and I’d get disappointed when I was coming to the end because I never wanted it to stop. I was in awe of Kirby’s writing and am now kicking myself for waiting this long to read her work, something I will be amending ASAP!
A beautifully told story with just the right amount of heartbreak and romance to leave you crying and smiling all in the same moment. I was truly touched by the story the author was able to tell about a girl trying to pick up the pieces of her heart and finding love again. BRAVO!
His lips trail down my neck, brush soft over my collarbones, then come back to my mouth, and we kiss away our pasts. We kiss away everything that isn’t us, here, now. Our scars, and our pains, and our secrets, and our guilt. We give them to each other and take them from each other until they all fade away in the rhythm of the rain.
*Quotes were taken from a digital advanced reader’s copy and may differ from the final version.