Mini-reviews: The Heartbeats of Wing Jones + Letters to the Lost

pub 3/14/17 by Delacorte Books
for Young Readers
YA - Contemporary
Receive e-ARC via Netgalley
I can’t say I went into The Heartbeats of Wing Jones with any expectations but wow was I impressed with what I encountered! Wing Jones comes from an unconventional family — biracial, two outspoken grandmothers, a single mom and her old brother all under one roof — and oftentimes, she feels a bit out of place. But the one thing she does have in common with everyone else? Absolute pride and love for her popular, star football player brother Marcus. Then, one night, Marcus falls into a coma after driving drunk and killing two people and his family is left to deal with the aftermath. There’s grief, rumors, the sudden hatred directed towards her him, medical bills to worry about and Wing’s own confusing mess of feelings. I thought the author portrayed her internal turmoil so accurately. She hates what her brother did but at the same time, she can’t help but feel grateful that he’s still alive. And it’s during this time that Wing starts to find who she is. In her grief, she strangely finds herself turning to the school’s track to run like she’s never run before. Aaron, Marcus’ best friend, sees her and recognizes the incredible talent she possesses. They begin running together and soon he becomes mentor, friend and as expected, something more. I was very much swooning over their relationship but more importantly, I was drawn to Wing’s journey and the dynamic in her close-knit family. Even if you haven’t been in her exact shoes, it’s easy to relate to her feelings of insecurity and then pride at finding something for herself. I will say the ending did feel a tad too abrupt but otherwise, what a book!

Do I recommend? Yes! I pre-ordered after reading it! That is, until I discovered that the gorgeous UK cover (see Rainbow Rowell's pictures) was already out so I ordered that instead.

pub 4/7/17 by Bloomsbury
YA - Contemporary
Received from pub via Netgalley
I think I officially love books that involve characters writing letters to one another. In high school, I constantly wrote notes to friends in class. There’s just something so fun and personal about it. (Totally showing my age here: but do teenagers even do that anymore when they have text and Snapchat??) When Declan Murphy finds a letter beside at grave at the cemetery he does community service for, he wasn’t expected to be moved by the words or compelled to add his own little note at the end. Likewise, when Juliet Young goes back to look at the letter she left, she doesn’t expect to find a note and feel compelled to write back. But that’s exactly what happens and before long, they start really writing to one another and opening up. Juliet is still mourning her mother’s death and uses the letters to cope while Declan has his own demons to face that we get to slowly learn about. Through their connection, they each find someone they can talk to. I loved the book’s underlying message of how powerful words can be. And as someone who’s been a fan of Kemmerer’s, I wasn’t surprised to find myself completed engaged by the writing and her characters. There are twists, angst, friendships (more Rev please), family, and of course, romance, and Kemmerer balances all aspects really well.

Do I recommend? I do! I enjoyed this a lot and I actually wouldn’t mind if she decided to do a companion novel at some point, just so I could revisit these characters again!


  1. I really enjoyed both these books. I thought both books had fantastic supporting characters. The grandmas were the bomb in Wing Jones.
    Sam @ WLABB

  2. Umm how beautiful are the pages in Wing Jones' UK edition?! They're worth a physical copy all by themselves! Haha

  3. Yay for enjoying both these contemporaries! I definitely liked them both as well when I finally got a chance to read them. I adored Wing's family; it reminded me a lot of my own. And I loved the letters and back-and-forth in Letters to the Lost!


with love,