Review: Things We Know by Heart – Jessi Kirby

Review: Things We Know by Heart – Jessi KirbyThings We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Published by HarperCollins
Published: April 21st 2015
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five-stars

In this unforgettable teen romance that fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti will devour, Quinn Sullivan falls for the recipient of her boyfriend's donated heart, forming an unexpected connection that will leave readers utterly breathless.

After Quinn's boyfriend, Trent, dies in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the fragments of her now-unrecognizable life. But whoever received Trent's heart has mysteriously remained silent. The essence of a person, Quinn has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent's, then in a way she still has a piece of him.

Risking everything to find peace once and for all, 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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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I have been a fan of Jessi Kirby’s books for a long time. I’ve read all of her published books and loved them so it was a given I would read Things We Know by Heart. What wasn’t a given was how freaking much I LOVED it. I mean I knew it would be good, it is Jessi Kirby after all, but I didn’t know it would be as amazing as it was. I was sucked in from the start and never wanted to be pulled out by the end.

Things We Know by Heart is a heartbreaking story of Quinn, the girl that lost the love of her life Trent, to a terrible accident. Quinn is completely lost without Trent, but Trent was an organ donor so she takes to contacting the people that have a part of the boy she loved. She is able to connect with everyone expect for the one boy that got Trent’s heart, Colton Thomas. Determined to reach out to him she goes against the rules and finds Colton on her own. But Quinn doesn’t find just the heart and spirit of Trent, she finds something else that could be even scarier than losing Trent, she finds the beginnings of love. But is it worth it?

The feelings Things We Know by Heart gave me are pretty hard to put into words. I was an emotional wreck reading Quinn and Colton’s stories. That is the easiest way to put it. I mean it doesn’t do my real feelings any justice, but the book wrecked me. I couldn’t fathom being in either Quinn’s or Colton’s position and dealing with everything they were dealing with while also falling for each other. It was just heartbreaking but so beautifully done at that same time. It was a story that just felt real and felt true. You felt how desperately Quinn was holding on to Trent while falling for someone else. And how Colton wanted to forget how close he was to dying while he was once again living.

Basically Things We Know by Heart will tug at your heartstrings. You will tear up and invest yourself in this sad story about grief and moving on and how much of your soul is connected to your heart. You will hurt for Quinn and even want to shake her at times. You will fall in love with Colton but want to tell him to stop being so stupid. You will be a part of their story. And as a reader, there is nothing better than that for me. A must read. Thank you Jessi Kirby for putting this beautiful book out into the world!

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Review: Golden – Jessi Kirby

Review: Golden – Jessi KirbyGolden by Jessi Kirby
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published: May 14th 2013
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three-half-stars

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

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Golden was a different kind of book for me. I had been really excited to read this one and was thrilled when the library happened to have a copy laying around. But sadly I was disappointed to not like it as much as I had hoped to. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it a lot and thought it had a great message, but something wasn’t right for me. I don’t know if it was the main character Parker, or her over the top with all the fun BFF, Kat, or the romance of it that felt off, but something just didn’t click right for me to love this book like I loved In Honor.

Golden is about Parker Frost, a high school Junior that has done everything she was told to do. She has studied hard, had no social life and did everything her mom had told her to do. When she is selected as a finalist for the Cruz-Farnetti scholarship Parker thinks everything she has worked for is coming true. But as the scholarship gets closer and closer she starts to realize she never really lived her life in high school. She never missed a curfew, or went out on a school night. She never skipped school or missed an assignment. And she never got to kiss her crush Trevor. And when the deceased Julianna Farnetti’s diary ends up in Parker’s hands she gets to decide if she wants to stay in her safe comfort zone or if it is about time to take a chance.

I liked Parker…for the most part. I mean I got where she was coming from when it came to listening to her mother and scared to get off of her path. But I didn’t like how she was so back and forth. She never really made any kind of decision at all and when she had opportunity in front of her she was kind of whiny about it and that bothered me. I really did get that she was scared, but I think there was a better way to show that then all the back and forth, push and pull, especially between her and Trevor. It was fun in the beginning but by the end it was driving me a little crazy. With that said, I liked the message behind the story even if Parker did bother me sometimes. By reading Julianna’s journal she was able to learn that it is okay to take a chance even if you fail or if it doesn’t work out. Taking chances are what makes life life because things aren’t supposed to be easy or mapped out. That part of the book I really liked and is what I think Kirby got right.

Golden definitely wasn’t my favorite Kirby book that I have read, but it wasn’t a painful read that I would sway people away from picking up. It had a great story and good characters for the most part. It was also really well written. I just liked this book, but some loved it. Pick it up and decide for yourself where you fall on that scale.

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Review: In Honor – Jessi Kirby

Review: In Honor – Jessi KirbyIn Honor by Jessi Kirby
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: May 14th 2013
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four-stars

A devastating loss leads to an unexpected road trip in what Sarah Ockler calls a “beautiful, engaging journey with heart, humor, and just a pinch of Texas sass.”Three days after learning of her brother Finn’s death, Honor receives his last letter from Iraq. Devastated, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously sets off to California to fulfill it. At the last minute, she’s joined by Rusty, Finn’s former best friend. Rusty is the last person Honor wants to be with—he’s cocky and obnoxious, just like Honor remembers, and she hasn’t forgiven him for turning his back on Finn when he enlisted. But as they cover the dusty miles together in Finn’s beloved 1967 Chevy Impala, long-held resentments begin to fade, and Honor and Rusty struggle to come to terms with the loss they share. As their memories of Finn merge to create a new portrait, Honor’s eyes are opened to a side of her brother she never knew—a side that shows her the true meaning of love and sacrifice.

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In Honor broke my heart right from the very beginning. Honor and Rusty were so completely broken by Finn’s death that it made me so unbelievably sad for them. Grief and loss is a terrible thing and neither knew what to do with it. Not to mention the fact that there was a lot of resentment between the two of them without either knowing what the other was feeling. The story was real and emotional and completely heart wrenching, but utterly fantastic.

In Honor is about the death of Honor’s brother Finn. Well not really his death, but more how his sister Honor, who Finn essentially helped raise when their parents died, and his best friend Rusty who had a falling out with Finn before he left for the Marines, dealt with the grief of his loss. When Honor gets an idea to take a road trip to see a singer her brother had gotten her tickets to and somehow Rusty ends up on the journey, the two of them discover that sometimes it’s best not to deal with grief alone. As they drive the open road the see what is really there right in front of them and that it’s okay to be sad and to move on.

Honor made this book for me right from the start. I connected with her emotions and how she was reacting to things. I understood her from the get go so it was easy to like her and what great things for her. She even made me teary-eyed at the very beginning which is hard to do with me in a book when I barely know the characters. But I also really liked Rusty once you got past the hurt and the lashing out. We didn’t know his story or what truly happened between him and Finn until much farther in the book,  but it didn’t matter because you could still feel his pain and you could sense his pain was less when it was just him and Honor driving in the Impala. The two of them played off each other really well. And as everything from the past came forward they both dealt with their emotions in a way you would expect from two broken people that felt like they were missing a piece of themselves.  Everything just kind of clicked for me.

Definitely my fave Jessi Kirby book. It had all the elements of a great book and kept me reading and wanting to just give the characters a hug. I had been told for a while now to read this marvelous book and I’m so happy I listened. Fabulous!

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