[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.ย 

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. ย 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 ย 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.

  • Beautiful review, Joy! I loved this book so much. It was just so full of emotion!

  • Christy

    I’m glad I read this before I fully lost my YA interest, because I loved it too. I wasn’t sure which way you’d go with this one, so I’m glad to see you enjoyed it!

  • Completely agree with your review, I also gave this one four stars and was bothered by the same issues, especially how she was kind of obsessed with finding the guy. Pretty cute contemporary though.

  • Stunning review Joy. <3 I'm so thrilled you loved this book ๐Ÿ˜€ While I think it seem interesting, I doubt the plot would work for me :p You are awesome for reading so much from this genre ๐Ÿ™‚ I could never, lol. I prefer fantasy books the most ;p Or at least books far away from a town and school and such, hah. Anyway. I'm so happy you loved it ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you for sharing about it sweetie. <3

  • I’ve seen thing around before. I never really gave much thought about it . It sounds a nice read although not really something that really makes me want to read it now. Great review, Joy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’d totally forgotten about this book! I’m definitely going to have to pick it up when I’m in the mood for a good cry, because I can promise you I’ll cry. I’m glad you liked it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • I’m glad that after reading a lot of contemporaries you couldn’t enjoy as much this one came along and gave you hope in the genre again! I have this one so I am looking forward to trying it a lot. I think the idea of parts of someone you knew being in others can be hard to grasp and I don’t know how I would feel if it were me. But it makes the book sound all the more interesting.

  • This sounds like an interesting read Joy, a little different from what I usually read. Glad you enjoyed it though!

    Naomi @ Naomiโ€™s Reading Palace

  • Ksenia

    Great review, Joy! Glad that this book helped you come out of your book slump. You asked some interesting questions and itโ€™s difficult so imagine what I would feel in Quinnโ€™s situation.

  • i vaguely remember a romantic movie that dabbled with this theme. I don’t think I’d wonder but if maybe my loved one was ripped from me & his organs donated, I think I’d like to know if its done its job or if the organ went to waste. The heart part is dubious, it does make for a great story though!

  • Like you’ve said I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and how warm and touching it is. The fact that the heart may or may not retain memories from previous body has me ready to investigate. What a lovely review, Joy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I can’t remember any reviews for this one, so…new to me ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Yayyyy so happy you enjoyed this one~ Makes me so glad I got it last week lol! It sounds super sad but I’m ready so bring on the feels ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Great review! This one is on my TBR. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • RO

    I love these type of thought-provoking books, that can’t help but bring on tears and precious memories. Your review was right on point and the book being added to my list. Hugs…

  • Fab review. I thought it was a nuanced portrayal of grief and a supportive family – the stalking thing made me take off a star, but other than that I really enjoyed it.

  • I read this one before, I thought the concept was really good but quite.. cheesy. I actually didn’t like it that much ๐Ÿ™ Atleast you liked it more than me though, wonderful review.

  • I have enjoyed this author before, I’m going to have to read this one as well, especially if you liked it so much!

  • I’m so happy you loved this book, Joy. I read it and re-listened to it on audio last week and it was just as amazing. And yes, I agree with you. It definitely raises interesting questions about memories and the heart. The characters were my favorite. Kirby definitely does them well!
    Lovely review, Joy!

  • Yay! Glad you enjoyed this one Joy! I really did as well. It was my first Jessi Kirby book and now I can’t wait to pick up whatever she writes next. I love that you put the emphasis on the fact that this book is fictional, it raises interesting questions, but like you said it doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. Lovely review!

  • Great review Joy! I also loved this book and I felt their guilt, especially Qhinns because she just wanted clousure when she went looking for Colton.

  • Yeah, I need to read this one! Great review. I’m so intrigued!

  • I’m glad you enjoyed this one! It is my favorite of her novels to date. I really enjoyed how Kirby portrayed Quinn’s family (loved them!) and I really enjoyed the relationship in the novel. I’m glad this got you out of your reading slump!

  • I hate being in a reading slump, so I’m happy to hear this book took you out of it. It would be difficult knowing parts and pieces of someone I loved and lost was in another human being. I don’t want to think about it. Fab review, Joy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Oh yes I heard great things about this one and I’m glad to see you had a great time as well. It sounds quite bautifully done. I’m curious. great review!