Joke time. So, a girl walks into a bar … which hurt because she had her nose stuck in this book and couldn’t see where she was going. I know what you’re thinking and I disagree with you. Because I’m hilarious and delighted with this book. Also, I could not be more thrilled to be participating in the blog tour for it! Thanks so much to HMH Books for Young Readers and Fantastic Flying Book Club for the opportunity! Scroll on down for my review and the chance to win!
HEARTS, STRINGS, AND OTHER BREAKABLE THINGS
by Jacqueline Firkins
384 pages | Expected publication December 17th 2019 | HMH Books for Young Readers
ARC Courtesy of HMH Books for Young Readers and FFBC
Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.
But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.
Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.
I realize I sound like a broken record in saying this, but contemporary YA romances are a hard sell for me. I rarely relate, get irritated by how irritating the main characters tend to be, and the predictability has me bored by the fourth chapter. Needless to say I feel like I take my own life in my hands whenever I risk cracking one open. I love being proven wrong and shown there are literal gems in this genre. It was a slow start to get into, but soon I was barely able to put this down.
This is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park, which is what piqued my interest in this book in the first place. I read Mansfield too many years ago to remember what happened, so I can’t accurately speak to how loose of a retelling this is plot-wise. However, after a quick Google, I can immediately pick out the comparisons. The town where the story takes place is, obviously, Mansfield. The main character is Edie Price, not Fanny, but she is sent to live with her wealthy aunt and uncle. There are also a few plot lines as well that seem to line up quite similarly.
Edie was a great character. She was surprisingly easy to love and never annoying or ridiculous in the dilemmas she has to deal with. The book starts with her basically coming into a brand-spanking new life. She is still grieving for her mother and she’s left a foster situation to move to a highly swanky posh town. New school, only her cousins and their friends, feeling inadequate and uncomfortable in most settings they relish in. Her childhood crush is with someone else while someone else is pursuing her in a way she wishes they wouldn’t. Honestly, everything of her journey in this book was so relatable. Who hasn’t had those awkward, blush-inducing moments with their crush? I got a little irritated with her obsession with the classics because of course she does, but then admonished myself hard when I remembered half the books I read in high school were by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. Can’t quote them off the top of my head, but I devoured them just the same.
Please be aware that there is a love triangle in this book. In fact, it features quite heavily. As a rule, I do not care for love triangles. I find them pointless and stress-inducing. Not the case here. This was done amazingly well. Edie was given the chance to grow and explore either side of her relationships without some puffed up jealous dude barging in and forcing her to make stupid decisions out of fear or love. I’m also very stoked that Firkins ensured that the concept of consent and protection was understood. There is a lot of sex-positivity and I could not love that more.
What lost the star for me was the ending, and this is just a personal opinion. Without giving anything away, I basically fell in love with the wrong dude and I think Edie chose wrong. And given who she did not pick, I’m surprised I fell for him as I did because in theory he should be absolutely the wrong kind of guy for me. I also struggled a little with the age gaps between some characters. Some may consider it a silly thing to be bothered by, but it felt super odd when Edie’s cousin hasn’t even graduated high school yet but she’s engaged to someone who is finishing Harvard.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It was a risky step out of my comfort zone and I’m so glad it paid off!
There is an awesome Instagram exclusive giveaway going on now! Click the image below for the Instagram Schedule and enter to win one of 3 copies of HEARTS STRINGS AND OTHER BREAKABLE THINGS with a book-inspired dress. Open to US and Canadian Residents only. The giveaway starts December 11, 2019 and ends December 23, 2019.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jacqueline’s a writer, costume designer, and lover of beautiful things. She’s on the fulltime faculty in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia where she also takes any writing class they’ll let her into. When not obsessing about where to put the buttons or the commas, she can be found running by the ocean, eating excessive amounts of gluten, listening to earnest love songs, and pretending her dog understands every word she says.
CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR
BUY A COPY
The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post
To All The Books I’ve Read Before – Guest Post
Yna the Mood Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
A Lovely Book Affair – Review
Jennifer Mitchell, Bibliolater – Review
Thank you again to HMH, FFBC Tours and Jacqueline Firkins for the opportunity to participate in this tour!