Review Detail

 
Hearts Unbroken Featured
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

Solidly written with plenty of heart

WHAT I LOVED:
When Louise’s boyfriend Cam first disparages Native people in front of her–specifically his brother’s Kickapoo spouse–he isn’t aware Louise is a Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizen herself. Then he keeps doing it and has the gall to get mad at her for “being too sensitive.” The instant Louise breaks up with Cam via email, you’ll be feeling relief like you just finished a hard workout. And that’s all before she starts her senior year of high school and the drama department’s Wizard of Oz causes undue controversy!

Like Louise, I was on my high school’s tiny student newspaper. Senior editor, whoop whoop! If it wouldn’t dox me by my former name, I’d link to a couple of the many pieces I wrote during my two years on staff. Leitich Smith really captures what it was like to practice high school journalism in a school where it’s underappreciated. Heck, Louise’s adventures in reporting on happenings around school almost made me miss being on the paper!

Almost. I don’t miss the constant anxiety about ads and getting literal nonsense articles from one classmate/reporter who probably let predictive text write her first drafts rather than writing them herself.

ANYWAY. Hearts Unbroken is a novel that makes the effort to represent what our schools and teens look like in 2018–and knows exactly where we are in 2018, for better or for worse. You decide to do colorblind casting for one student production of a play and suddenly half the town is allied with Parents Against Revisionist Theater because a black girl will play Dorothy. Louise’s little brother Hughie also has a role in the play as the Tin Man, so she’s got an especially personal stake in what happens!

Throughout the book, Leitich Smith confronts Native stereotypes and makes clear what life is like when you’re a Native person living in the current United States. Whether it’s Louise feeling bad that she dumped that racist ex over email (which no, that was appropriate and he has no right to be upset, the racist almost-man) or Hughie struggling with anti-Native racism that Wizard of Oz creater L. Frank Baum spouted during his life, readers come to better understand an underrepresented population.

The local uproar over kids of color being cast in roles typically played by white people has great parallels to Hamilton and discussions of how much of our negative, racist history can be reclaimed through such productions. Words like “queer” have started to be reclaimed by the people whom the word was long used against, but not everyone wants to reclaim it. It’s simply done too much harm to them.

For instance, say someone adapted an Orson Scott Card novel into a play, made a ton of characters queer as a statement, and encouraged queer actors to audition. Considering Card’s rampant homophobia over the years, I can understand queer actors who’d love to take part in order to make Card mad. I can also understand those who wouldn’t be able to put Card’s beliefs aside and act in it in the name of reclamation.

And that’s not even remotely on the same scale as race. It’s complicated and Hearts Unbroken makes no bones about it.

WHAT LEFT ME WANTING:
Louise’s romance with new guy/newspaper rival Joey rubbed me the wrong way in a manner that’s 100% personal, nothing to do with the novel or the character. See, I knew a guy named Joey in high school. He was emotionally abusive to his girlfriend, sexually harassed me “jokingly” whenever I wore a skirt (we were partners in science class), and told me I was something like 47% demon for a ridiculous reason. The name Joey is just ruined for me because I just kept seeing the awful guy I knew instead of this book’s own Joey!

Also, I got giggly during a very intense part of the novel when it probably wasn’t intended. Joey and Louise are out covering a marathon when a tornado hits. Like everyone else, they take shelter underground–specifically in the underground level of a parking garage. While waiting for the storm to pass, they start rounding the sexual bases to pass the time.

Is this what people do in the Midwest when they’ve got to wait out their regular tornado? Really??? (Of course not, I know better. It just makes me laugh.) Mind you, this is a probably-not-real regional behavior getting laughed at by a resident of Florida. We’re the state of tossing reptiles into fast food drive-thru windows and yet these two screwing around in a Jeep as a tornado passes over the area is what makes me laugh!

FINAL VERDICT:
Okay, okay, I think I’m done. Solidly written with plenty of heart, Hearts Unbroken both stands on its own merits as an entertaining, educational novel and would make a great substitute for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (which was written by a dude who sexually harassed a ton of women, btw).

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Tin
Tin
In an alternative England of the 1930s where the laws...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stolen Girl
Nadia is haunted by World War II. Her memories of...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Iliad
More than three thousand years ago, two armies faced each...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
A Light Amongst Shadows
James Spencer is hardly the typical troubled youth who ends...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
the orphan fixed.jpg
Sometimes the ones who save us are the ones we...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Astrid the Unstoppable
Pippi Longstocking meets Heidi meets Anne Shirley in this tale...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dreamland
In his sleep, Louie starts visiting a magical world where...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Me, Shakespeare and the Anti-Love Club
Heartbroken and spurned Kassidy starts an Anti-Love Club in response...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Last Hope (The Raging Ones, #2)
Sacrifice all you have to survive. ...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
NewBookCover.jpg
The Akakies, a peaceful, technologically advanced alien species known as...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
A new, revised edition of Edward Willett’s multi-award-winning young adult...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Love at First Fight
Band Geek vs Quarterback... One humiliating photo, a stupid...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ellie Quinn has spent most of her sixteen years behind...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
King Geek vs the Cheerleader Julia Farrow...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Gamer vs Player Some girls have a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Long live Solaris. One bloodthirsty ruler has...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Mage's Apprentice
 
4.0
"Aspen lives in New York City where the Mage's council oversee the well being of the people in it. As..."
 
5.0
"Feedback I absolutely loved this book and looking back I’m honestly a little surprised. Hear me out! This book..."
The Iliad
 
3.7
"Long ago in Ancient Greece, a prince of Troy, Paris, steals the most beautiful woman in the world from another..."
Plague of Death Anchoress Series Book Two
 
4.5
"Van, Paley, and Brux are back in D.L. Armillei‘s Plague of Death, the second book in the Anchoress series. I..."
Golden Curse (The True Story of Rapunzel)
 
5.0
"It’s no secret that I enjoy a good fairytale retelling and Golden Curse by M. Lynn is that. This book..."
A Bond of Venom and Magic
 
4.0
"Diamond is a half-fae and is considered an abomination. When her home is attacked and her father is killed, she..."
The Crimson Deathbringer
 
5.0
"It will be weird for me to review my own book, so instead, I am going to post one of..."
Astrid the Unstoppable
 
5.0
"Nine-year-old Astrid is the only child in her Norwegian village, and she's called the little thunderbolt by the adults living..."
The F Word (Redefining Me book 1)
 
4.0
"After a tragedy that changes the community of Twin Rivers forever, Peyton finds herself coping with it the way a..."
Second Star (The Neverland Transmissions)
 
3.0
"SECOND STAR alternates POV between Peter and Wendy. It starts off with Peter sabotaging Captain Hooke's ship and stranding them..."
Shadow Realms: A Vampire Hunter Novel
 
5.0
"When Kali's brother Mason is taken by the demons, she has no choice but to turn into the very monster..."
Shock of Fate: Anchoress Series Book One
 
4.0
"Shock of Fate by D.L. Armillei is the first in the Anchoress series. Aside from the gorgeous cover (y’all seriously,..."
The Last Hope (The Raging Ones, #2)
 
4.7
"THE LAST HOPE is a thrilling conclusion to the THE RAGING ONES duology. As we know from the first book,..."
Love at First Fight
 
5.0
"Take everything you think you know about the geek-and-jock-fall-in-love trope and throw it away because this book does not follow..."
Dr. Snow Has Got To Go
 
3.5
"Dr. Snow Has To Go is a loosely illustrated chapter book with humor that just might go over some young..."
Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
 
5.0
"SPIN THE DAWN is an unbelievably fantastic read with some elements of a high-stakes PROJECT RUNWAY, some elements of FLAME..."
The Comet Club
 
5.0
"This book is so much fun. I loved the story and can't wait for a sequel. Just read it!..."
Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship
 
4.0
"MANGOES, MISCHIEF, AND TALES OF FRIENDSHIP is based off of Indian folklore. It's broken up into two parts, but both..."
Lost in the Antarctic: The Doomed Voyage of the Endurance
 
5.0
"LOST IN THE ANTARCTIC takes you on the doomed, yet brave journey of the ship called the Endurance and its..."
Secrets of a Fangirl
 
5.0
"Sarah Anne is the biggest fan of the MK Nightshade series, but it's taboo in the popular world of her..."