ARC Review: Things We Know By Heart

Posted April 15, 2015 / Book Reviews / 10 Comments

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC Review: Things We Know By HeartThings We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Harper Collins on April 21st 2015
Format: ARC (304 pages) • Source: Borrowed
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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 am actually pretty bummed about this book… which you would never guess, based on the decent rating. I had to break it down with my rating report, below, in order to sort my feelings out. If there was a way to give this 3.75 stars, I would. [EDIT: Upon further reflection, my rating has come down quite a lot. The issues I explain here have only bothered me MORE with time.] This book was easily at the top of my most-anticipated list for this year and the lovely Brittany let me borrow it ahead of time. There was just something about the topic that really drew me in. I expected something very heavy and sad, yet emotionally gripping and (hopefully) uplifting/ inspiring by the end. That’s not exactly what I got.

When I first started the book, I was immediately drawn in. I wanted to know exactly what happened with Trent, how she tried to move on, and her experiences with the other organ recipients. Again, I didn’t exactly get that. The timeframe of this book starts a year after Trent dies and after she’s already met every other organ recipient. The boy who got the heart, Colton, never wrote back to her. She takes it upon herself to track him down and accidentally gets involved with him. Of course, you can immediately tell that this is going to be one of those books where she holds out until the last second to tell him the truth about how she found him and there’s some big dramatic confrontation at the end when she confesses. I was reaaaally hoping that this wouldn’t happen, because frankly, it’s overdone. View Spoiler » In addition to being drawn in by the beginning of the book, I couldn’t stop reading at the end. The whole middle section of the book was where everything fell flat. Of course, I predicted the entire ending (literally), but still needed to see how it all ended.

I did find it interesting, though, that the both of them were hiding things from each other. Hers is obviously a bit more serious, but Colton is keeping the secret of his illness from her in general. I got the feeling that the two of them needed each other for different reasons. It was nice that it wasn’t just her clinging on to him and trying to move on. The two of them start hanging out and talking about very few things. I felt like they never talked to each other. It was a lot of telling and not showing, as far as the relationship-building goes. With a book like this, I need MORE. If she’s moving on from a dead boyfriend, I want to feel the sadness. I want to feel her fall in love with someone else. I want to feel everything – not be told. I’m incredibly sad to say that I was fairly emotionally detached from them.

I hate to say that it was very surface level, but it was. I just didn’t feel anything through the whole middle part of the book! My feels were minimal, and that depresses me. I liked her family members, but again they were very surface level. Her dad had health issues, her sister broke up with a boyfriend, her grandma was cool, and her mom was focused on making her dad stay healthy. That’s really all we get. She says that her parents have been there for her throughout the whole ordeal, but we aren’t shown how or why or anything. If the book had maybe 50-75 more pages and had the relationship fleshed out a bit more, I can easily see this becoming a near-perfect book.


I needed more depth. I felt some grief, some sparks, some love, some family feels – but not nearly enough. I was emotionally invested for the sake of being invested; I just wanted them to be together. I wasn’t emotionally attached though. I wanted to SEE their relationship develop and not be TOLD that it just was. Even if there was just one heartfelt chat about something, I would have felt better. Not a lot happened in this book and I am a very, very sad panda about that.

rating report

plot premise  four-stars characterss  two-half-stars writing style  five-stars pacing  three-stars feels swoons  three-stars addiction  three-stars

10 responses to “ARC Review: Things We Know By Heart

  1. OMG. I am so, so, so jealous that you’ve already read this one! I must have requested/entered to win a copy like a bajillion times. I need it in my life that badly, even though I read something really similar a few years ago for school. lol

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as you thought you would, but 3.75 stars is still pretty good. It’s kind of a bummer to see that the romance is a bit wonky, but it seems like everything else could work for me.

    P.S. The honest rating actually makes me want to read it more now. 🙂

    Erin @ The Hardcover Lover recently posted: Waiting on Wednesday (22)

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