Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Release Date: April 21st 2015 by HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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.
A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
The quote above perfectly captures the message of this lovely novel: sometimes we have to take risks for us to experience life at its greatest. Along the way you’ll have to make sacrifices, but after that beautiful things will happen. Like a second chance at love.
This is my first Jessi Kirby novel. From what I’ve heard, she writes these wonderful stories that thousands of readers can identify with. And I’ve read my fair share of realistic fiction, so what could possibly Kirby bring to the table? Well, the answer is a story that is full of heart. No kidding.
At first glance, I thought the plot was outrageous. I mean, how serendipitous it must be to fall in love with a random stranger who has the literal heart of your boyfriend? But where the book falls short of its storyline, it makes up for its emotional depth. Though I didn’t cry (which I was expecting, by the way), I still felt the powerful emotions of these fragile characters tug at my heartstrings.
And the reason why my heart was greatly affected is largely due to the relationship between Quinn and Colton. Their romance was actually a hit and a miss for me. I loved it for its realness and they’re just plain adorable to read. Their nervous exchanges of conversation is such a refresher from the typical flirty type I’ve read countless times. On the other hand, it felt like – and I hate to say it – instalove. Regardless, I soooo ship this couple.
Overall, I really liked this read. Surprisingly, it wasn’t heartbreaking as I thought it would be, which is totally okay with me. I think I would’ve appreciate this more if it were in dual-perspective. Colton’s a very reserved character and I would’ve loved to see what’s going inside his head. But that’s just me.
P.S. It wouldn’t be a contemporary novel without any Taylor Swift to go around. It’s funny because I keep on seeing her lyrics being referenced, and what’s even weirder is that they fit the story so well. Here is the best example:
Put your lips close to mine
As long as they don’t touch
Out of focus, eye to eye
Till the gravity’s too much
Your name has echoed through my mind
And I just think you should, think you should know
That nothing safe is worth the drive and I would
Follow you, follow you home…
This song also captures the theme of this novel especially the lyric in boldface. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone and testing out this new romance, which Quinn so bravely does.
An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.