One year after surviving a heart transplant, Linnea should be celebrating; instead, she is terrified.
On the first anniversary of Linnea’s transplant surgery, she should be celebrating her recovery. Instead, she can’t help but feel that her donor wants her heart back—and that her body is becoming less and less her own. Meanwhile, across town, Maxine struggles to keep her family together in the aftermath of her sister Harper’s death. The one person Maxine thinks she can confide in is her boyfriend, Chris, who, after losing his little brother, seems to be the only one who understands what Maxine is going through. In the first two acts of the novel, the combination of debut author DiStefano’s lyrical prose and effortlessly nuanced characters makes for a gripping and heart-wrenching read. Unfortunately, the final act of the book trades skillful character development for sensationalized scenes of violence and sexual assault (some of which may be triggering to survivors), focusing on a villain whose lack of a defined backstory makes him feel more like a caricature than a real person. Furthermore, the author’s attempts to include diversity do not necessarily succeed; while there are some secondary characters of color, the primary characters are white, and the only one identified as black is Florabelle, a mystical truth teller who embodies the “Magical Negro” trope.
A book full of beautifully written prose that, ultimately, includes a poorly executed resolution. (Fiction. 17-adult)