Kirby, Jessi. Things We Know by Heart.

NY: HarperCollins, 2015.

This is a new author for me, and this is not her first book, but I’m impressed with both her style and her ability to construct an unusual but convincing plot. The focus is Quinn Sullivan, now seventeen, whose life on the Southern California coast seemed perfect until her boyfriend of three years was killed. She thought she’d be spending all the rest of her life with Trent, but now it’s Day 400 since he died, and Quinn still can’t get her life back.

Trent’s parents agreed to full organ donation, and the grateful recipients of his lungs, liver, kidneys, and corneas have all made contact with the family (of which Quinn is considered a sort of honorary member), and that has helped with the healing. But there’s one holdout: The boy her age who received Trent’s heart, which Quinn can’t help but consider the most important part of him.

Quinn can’t understand why the mystery guy hasn’t replied to her carefully written letter asking to meet with him (passed on to him through the hospital for the sake of anonymity), but she decides she just has to see him, at least from a distance, just to know. The guy’s sister kept a blog all during her brother’s time on the transplant list, about his slowly failing health, and Quinn is a whiz at online research, so she’s able to identify the recipient pretty quickly — Colton Thomas, nineteen years old, and only a half-hour’s drive away. But when she visits his beach town, intending only to get a look at him, promising herself not to make any sort of contact, things naturally don’t go the way she had hoped. And soon she’s meeting Colton, an avid kayaker and surfer, on a regular basis. In fact, she’s falling for him, and that’s a betrayal of her memories of Trent, right? And she still hasn’t told Colton who she really is. And the longer she puts it off, the more impossible it becomes.

It’s a good story, dealing with what seems like a highly improbable set of circumstances, but Kirby makes it work. And there’s some truly gorgeous descriptive writing about the oceanside world of Southern California.

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Published in: on 17 August 2019 at 3:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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