Review: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
Publication date: Apr. 21, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received from publisher via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary:  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. She believes if she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have 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 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. (

The good
Every time I read a book about grief, I'm always struck by how different each person deals with their pain. In Things We Know By Heart, Quinn Sullivan has lost her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident and she tries to move on by connecting with the people who received his donated organs. She writes letters to each one and has almost met them all. One person has yet to write back - Colton Thomas, the boy who received Trent's heart. She believes he is the one person who can give her the peace she needs to fully heal. So she breaks the rules by finding out where he lives and driving out to meet him unannounced. But seeing Colton isn't what she expected. Not only is his life completely changed by this second chance, but he and Quinn have an immediate attraction, I'd even say connection, to one another.

I don't know how I would try to heal if I were in Quinn's shoes. But I found myself admiring how she wrote to these different recipients about the type of person Trent was and having the courage to meet them all. I don't know if I could've done that. It surprised me just how little anger there was in Quinn and that's part of what made me like her character so much. She's going through a lot of pain and sorrow and feeling lost. At the beginning of the book, she's definitely wallowing in it but meeting Colton helps her to move on. She doesn't want or expect him to be that person but he is. And I genuinely enjoyed watching their relationship develop. He is so full of life and through him, Quinn starts to see the beauty around her and experiences new things. And that is the beauty of Jessi Kirby's writing. It is always transportive. You feel what her characters feel and what they see as if you're actually there. By the end of the book, I definitely wanted a summer spent on the beach, kayaking and experiencing nature (with a cute boy!).

(Some) Reservations
The story line was really predictable and I didn't think it had to be. I would have liked the author to choose a slightly different direction because I think the overall effect of her book would've been even stronger. I also think giving the readers more insight into Trent and Quinn's relationship would've made her sadness more potent. I mean, I understood in a well of course she's sad, she just lost her boyfriend kind of way. But I didn't connect to the depth of it because we were given very few flashbacks to their relationship. The story is a heartbreaking one but I think it would've taken it to the next level (of loved), if we knew their history more and if the author had chosen a less obvious path for the plot.

Do I recommend?
I do. I still think it's a sad, beautiful tale to tell and I adore Jessi Kirby's writing. If you haven't read any of her books, I highly recommend that you do.

1 comment

  1. My favorite thing about Things We Know By Heart was the setting! There's just something about the way she wrote about the West Coast that had me itching to visit it, sooner rather than later. And I always think it's interesting when an author tackles a character that's dealing with grief, which definitely was the case here :)


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