Book Review: This Heart of Mine

What do you do when life deals you a new hand?

In the past year, I have found a lot of comfort and joy in reading. Oddly enough, a few of the books I have read have been centered around morbid events. One of my favorite and most recent reads for sure has its fair share of depressing chapters. High school is hard enough, but it is even more complicated when you are on your third heart. To add to that, imagine you finally find a donor for a new heart, but the donor happens to be your love interest’s twin brother. I bet your high school experience does not seem so difficult after all.

In ‘’This Heart of Mine, ‘’ a novel by C.C. Hunter, one of the  main characters, Leah MacKenzie, has come to terms with the fact that her heart condition will be the end of her. She lives each day without planning for the next because she is not quite convinced she will even make it to see the next day. With an artificial heart, it is hard to be hopeful for your future and it is even harder to pretend like your future is not a ticking time bomb that could be set off at any moment. 

When who she believes to be her childhood crush walks through the door, her life begins to turn down a whole different path. Matt and his twin brother, Eric, recently felt the weight of death in their family after losing their father. As if that is not enough, Eric passes away, leaving Matt and his mother to pick up the pieces and try to figure out how to go on. 

When Matt and Leah begin connecting more, they both begin to see a little bit of brightness in their everyday lives. While Matt is left trying to figure out why his twin would take his own life, Leah receives a new heart and a new shot at life. 

Soon, Matt and Leah begin to have a lot more in common than they thought. After getting her new heart, she realizes that the heart belonged to Matt’s brother, Eric. However, when she received a new chance at life, that’s not all she got. Leah finds herself having dreams that seem to be more like memories. The memories consist of her running through woods she’s never been in and she’s moving in a body that is not her own. Are her dreams side effects from the life altering changes she has been encountering or is her new heart trying to tell her something? As the story develops , it is revealed that Matt is also sharing the same dreams. Is Eric trying to tell them something?

While trying to navigate the uncharted waters Eric has led them to, they are also trying to figure out what it is  like to actually love someone in a way they had not known before. Do Leah and Matt share a true connection?  Are they bonded by trauma and the fact that Leah holds the last part of Matt’s other half? 

Matt refuses to believe his brother would take his own life and he is willing to do whatever he needs to in order to prove how well he knew his brother. At the same time, Leah is experiencing things she is not sure are real and is also trying to balance her health in order to make sure her body does not reject Eric’s heart. Additionally, Leah is attempting to learn how to plan for a future she never thought she would have. For so long she had put aside her dreams of going to college and show she is being told she has years and years to come. After accepting your death, it must be absolutely terrifying and overwhelming to try and change your mindset and have hope for plans you were told would never be possible. 

As Leah and Matt embark on their journey to find love within each other and figure out what really happened that night in the forest with Eric, it is nearly impossible to not become addicted to the plot and the characters in this book. 

Hunter does a fantastic job on keeping the reader engaged. I couldn’t finish this book fast enough. The characters in this story are easy to sympathize with because the cards they are dealt seem to be the worst in the deck. The amount of loss Matt has experienced at such a young age makes him so easy to feel for. Being in Leah’s position is also one of the hardest experiences imaginable. Having the mindset that your days are limited must be a horrible feeling, and knowing that your only chance at life has to come from the loss of another is such a conflicting feeling. 

Although Leah and Matt have had anything but normal lives, I love that Hunter makes sure to include moments that are relatable to the average person. The couple goes on cute excursions and still share moments that make them feel as normal as they can. While they might live lives that are anything but comforting, they learn to find a home in each other and a feeling of peace they have both lacked for so long.

Overall, I would give this book a 8.5 out of 10. I loved the way it was written, but the ending almost felt like the author wanted to quickly end the story. I feel there was a lot more room for development in the story towards the end and the opportunity was missed. However, the rest of the book definitely surpassed my expectations and I couldn’t put the book down. If you are looking for a great mix of mystery, love and heartfelt emotion, I would definitely recommend picking this book up.