Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: April 21, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
Quinn Sullivan's lost her boyfriend, Trent, in a tragic accident. It's now summer and quite some time has passed, but she is just a shell of the happy girl she used to be. Trent donated his organs, which means five different people's have benefited from his untimely death. She reached out to all of the organ recipients and met them all except for the recipient of Trent's heart. It drives her nuts that this person won't reply to her letters, so she searches on the internet for who exactly received Trent's heart. After tracking him down, thanks to his sister's very public blog, she is able to determine where this guy, Colton, lives. She is just going to see Colton from afar, but that plan gets thrown out the window when she has an accidental run-in with him at the local cafe in his neighborhood. She recognizes him from the pictures on his sister's blog and can't deny her attraction to him. Looks like he feels the same way and their accidental run-in becomes something more. Jessi Kirby's heartwarming tale about forgiveness, love, and moving on tugged on my heartstrings. Things We Know By Heart is my favorite of her novels to date.
Quinn is struggling to live in Things We Know by Heart. She is physically fine by all means, but she isn't really living. She's not enjoying things that other teenagers would and isn't putting herself out there again after the sudden death of Trent. She is sort of stuck on that page and can't get past it. Determined to see who received Trent's heart, she goes on trip by herself to a neighboring beach town to sort of stalk Colton. He enters the cafe she is in and they start talking. Quinn tries to escape without any more interaction, but the series of events that occur sort of guarantee that won't happen. Consequently, Quinn freaks out that she has somehow crossed a line, because what if Colton didn't want to meet the person who wrote the letter to him? They hit it off, despite Quinn's super awkward behavior and she doesn't tell him the real reason why she came to his sleepy beach town. As time goes on, the longer she waits to tell him, the harder it gets. Plus, what if she loses him? Her friendship with him has made her start living again; even her parents have noticed that Quinn is starting to enjoy life.
The characters, the romance, and the family life are all really, really well done in Things We Know by Heart. I love how Kirby makes even the secondary characters memorable. Speaking of which, I absolutely loved Quinn's family. Maybe they can adopt me? I loved her older sister and her grandmother was the best. It was nice to see a normal, not perfect, but normal portrayal of family.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Kirby's writing style in Things We Know by Heart. I thought her dialogue was relatable and and I loved how she incorporated a quote or fact about the heart before each chapter. This definitely added something special to the story.
Kirby's portrayal of a beach town was on point. I was practically dying for the ocean, sunshine, and some kayaking after I got done reading Things We Know by Heart. It's apparent that Kirby is a beach lover and as a beach bum myself, this was one of my favorite aspects of the story.
I enjoyed Moonglass, I loved Golden, but I ended up loving Things We Know by Heart even more. If you are looking for a smart, moving and romantic young adult tale to read this spring, definitely check out this book.