Title: Things We Know By Heart
by Jessi Kirby
Date of Publication: April 21st 2015
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
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.
Sometimes there’s a book that when you start to read, you just know in your heart that it’s something unique and you would never forget about it. This book is one of those.
I have been waiting for this book since last December so I want to thank HarperCollins for granting me a review copy. It has not, in any way, influenced what I thought about this book.
“It’s terrifying to realize how much of your world is wrapped around loving another person.”
This is the first time that I’ve read a title from Jessi Kirby and I can say that I was not disappointed. To start, this story is about Quinn, a girl who lost her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident and then had his vital organs donated to those who needed them. She wanted to reach out to those who had her boyfriend’s parts so that she could feel some kind of closure and contentment in knowing that even in death, he was able to help other people. She got in contact with all but one of the recipients and that recipient who did not respond got Trent’s heart. So she searched for him and after over a year, she found him—Colton Thomas. Quinn didn’t want to talk to him, or even let him know of her existence aside from those letters she sent him but as fate would have it, they got to know each other. The problem was, Quinn didn’t tell him that she knew who he was. So from the start, their relationship was built on lies and unspoken truths and there lies the problem.
This book, for me, is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Quinn, even after more than a year, has not gotten over the death of the boy she loved. As I was reading, I can feel her raw emotions—both her love and heartbreak over Trent. I just really had lots of “feels” and I cried in various parts of the book, even those parts that didn’t have anything to do with Trent’s death. Colton, meanwhile, didn’t want to spend every day thinking that he lived because someone died so he can’t make himself reach out to the girlfriend of the boy whose heart is beating presently inside his chest. I love how Colton’s character was represented—not weak, like someone still feeling the effects of a heart transplant, but someone who’s strong and has learned to live his life to the fullest.
Another thing that made me adore this book was the romance. I’m not a fan of insta-love so I’m glad I didn’t encounter that here. Quinn and Colton’s romance was built from the ground up, slowly intensifying as they spent each day together. Also, it was not forced despite what one might think because of their situation. Based on Quinn’s words and actions, she didn’t fall in love with Colton because he has her ex-boyfriend’s heart. She fell in love with him because of him. Unwittingly, they found healing withing each other.
I also loved how this wasn't focused on the romantic part only. This was also a story of familial bonds. Quinn has a very loving and understanding family. I love how they were portrayed because each person, especially Quinn’s sister, Ryan, played important parts in her healing and process of moving on. They were not just background characters that add a little something to some parts of the book, no. They were vital in the story and they were present. Same is true with Colton’s sister, Shelby. She added a perfect touch to Colton’s story because of her traits and all the things she did for him from before Quinn until present.
Also, the start of each chapter has these little snippets from books, poems and songs that give light to the chapter it represents, which was a trick and a little something extra that I really loved. You can tell that the author really spent a good amount of researching and reading other books to fit her own book perfectly and I appreciate that. I would like to point out things I didn’t like about this book as to produce a balanced review, but I just can’t find any fault with it.
Overall, Things We Know By Heart is a unique and emotional book that made me bawl my eyes out. It broke my heart and glued it back together. It is a book that will teach readers the importance of telling the truth and of living like it’s their last day on earth. Sometimes there are things we just know by heart, and for me, that thing is that I really loved this book and everyone should read this and get their hands and hearts wrapped around it, too.
About the Author