[532]: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

17571215 Harper Teen | Hardcover, 304 pp.
Publication Date: April 15th, 2015
Young Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I have been in such a terrible roll of contemporary suck-fest lately. Usually, it’s the genre I run to whenever I feel the tell-tale bump of a reading slump coming on. The last couple of tries left me feeling disillusioned, and wondering what I ever liked in the genre to begin with.

And then this book came long.

Things We Know By Heart is a thought-provoking book about a person’s willingness to cross a line for the sake of closure. Truthfully, I’ve never even given a thought to what I would do in Quinn’s situation. I don’t know if I’d risk being labeled a stalker by insinuating myself into another person’s life because I wanted to know, had to know. 

I’m sure you’ve read quite a few loved-loved reviews for this book. I’m sure they told you that it left its readers in a soggy mess. I’m sure they all told you it’s a heart-wrenching read. And they would be right.  It was all those.

It gave me an insight into what it’s like to deal with the knowledge that a part or parts of the person they loved who’d died still lived in another: sight, liver, kidney, heart. It’s easier to deal with the first three. The last one is a bit more difficult. Imagine for a moment that your partner’s heart continues to beat in another’s body. Wouldn’t you question whether or not it would beat the way you remember how it sounds?

So is the heart really a muscle that has the capacity to retain its memories long after a person has passed? It is an interesting question, but this book being fictional is probably not a good source to get an answer. You’re better off reading Science and Medical research journals. It’s at least thoughtful and it does make its readers consider that possibility.

I’ve always thought that Jessi Kirby is quite adept in giving us well-rounded, realistic characters. It couldn’t be more true in Quinn’s and Colton’s respective situations. Quinn’s grief was palpable, understandable. Readers will feel how heavy it weighs her down. And Colton’s difficulty in accepting his gift was understandable. I was able to empathize with both; I understood why Quinn temporarily forgot the moral implications of her actions. I got why Colton was unable to deal with the fact that someone had to die in order for him to live. That kind of gift is both a blessing and a curse.

Things We Know by Heart was a lovely read that didn’t pretend to know what its talking about. It didn’t tell you that sure, the heart is like a brain that can somehow  retain memories. You might be led into believing that, but you have to remember that the book is fictional. It’s hard to explain love. Lust is much simpler. There are a lot more involved for a person to truly recognized it’s love staring at them in the face. My point is, when Colton met Quinn the first time, there wasn’t an instant recognition or even remembrance that made his heart quiver to a healthy degree. Unless I missed it altogether. In the end, Colton and Quinn had to get over their own guilt to have a fighting chance at a relationship.

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