Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany, pub. 2013, 370 pg. Rating: 5/5 stars
As someone who loves to read, I blow through books pretty quickly. I remember staying up for a full twenty four hours just to finish the last installment of the Harry Potter series. Lately though, it seems like none of the books I’ve picked up were ones I could stay glued to for hours. For that reason (and many more), Heart Like Mine was a refreshing change of pace – once I picked it up, I couldn’t make myself set it down until I’d finished reading it.
The book begins with a death. Grace, one of the book’s leading ladies, is at work when she finds out her fiancé Victor’s ex-wife, Kelli, has died. Grace had never really imagined herself as a mother (in fact, she had decided she didn’t want children of her own), but with Kelli gone, she has to step up to help Victor in his new role as a full-time parent. She also has to help Victor, his seven year old son, Max, and his thirteen year old daughter, Ava, cope with the loss of someone they had each loved.
Victor and Kelli got divorced when Ava was right around ten years old. Since then, Ava spent a lot of her time helping her mother take care of Max and deal with crippling bouts of depression. When Kelli dies, Ava begins to act out as she wonders what dark secret her mother had that caused her so much sadness.
Death, divorce, and problems between parents and children are just a few of the tough issues this book tackles. The characters are complex and incredibly realistic, which made it really easy for me to relate to them even though I couldn’t always relate to the problems they faced. I could practically feel Grace’s stress as she tried to balance her job, her love life, and her new responsibilities as a mother figure. Similarly, Ava’s frustration at her circumstances seemed to jump off the page.
One of my favorite things about this book was the way chapters switched between character points of view. Grace, Ava and Kelli are each able to tell their own stories with their own unique voice and style, and switching between them shows how all of their stories are woven together. Kelli’s chapters, which are told as flashbacks, slowly reveal the childhood secret that haunted her throughout her life.From the moment I found out that Kelli had a secret, I desperately wanted to know what it was. It really made this book a page turner for me.
I really enjoyed how, although the majority of the book deals with difficult real-life situations, there were also moments of humor. READ THE FULL REVIEW AT THE DAILY QUIRK!