Conditions of a Heart

Conditions of a Heart
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Release Date
February 20, 2024
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For fans of Talia Hibbert and Lynn Painter comes a funny and unflinchingly honest story about a teen who must come to terms with her disability and what it means for her identity, her love life, and her future.

Brynn Kwan is desperate for her high school persona to be real. That Brynn is head of the yearbook committee, the favorite for prom queen, and definitely not crumbling from a secret disability that’s rapidly wearing her down. If no one knows the truth about her condition, Brynn doesn’t have to worry about the pitying looks or accusations of being a faker that already destroyed her childhood friendships. She’s even willing to let go of her four-year relationship with her first love, Oliver, rather than reveal that a necessary surgery was the reason she ignored his existence for the entire summer.

But after Brynn tries to break up a fight at a pep rally and winds up barred from all her clubs and senior prom, she has nothing left to prop up her illusion of being just like everyone else. During a week-long suspension from school, she realizes that she doesn’t quite recognize the face in the mirror—and it’s not because of her black eye from the fight. With a healthy sister who simply doesn’t understand and a confused ex-boyfriend who won’t just take a hint and go away like a normal human being, Brynn begins to wonder if it’s possible to reinvent her world by being the person she thought no one wanted: herself.

Editor review

1 review
Beautiful and Heartbreaking
(Updated: March 02, 2024)
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Conditions of a Heart was such a beautiful, heartbreaking, and humorous story, not only about living with a chronic illness, but also about accepting and loving yourself and your family. The author’s own experience growing up with a disability reverberated throughout the pages. Mangle had me laughing or crying several times throughout.

I love how real these characters are.
Brynn is a multi-faceted character, but so are all the side characters. Especially Brynn’s father who is living with the same condition, and Brynn’s mother and sister on the opposite side, loving people living with EDS. Mangle succeeded in showing that each side has its own set of struggles, heartbreaks, and triumphs.

Despite the overall subject of the book being somewhat serious, Mangle does inject a lot of humor into her writing. So often, books about chronic illness are serious all the time, but Brynn’s inner monologue adds a little light to her situation. Brynn essentially doesn’t want people to see her as breakable.

In addition to Brynn's health, she is also dealing with the school board that sided with the boy whose parents use money to excuse his bad behavior.
I would have loved to see a resolution to the fight Brynn and her friends had with the school board. It ended with Brynn putting the parents of the boy in question in their place, and we can assume the outcome, but I think it would have been nice to have confirmation.

The romance is an organic subplot. It is a cute second chance romance that never felt forced. It was wonderful to see how Oliver accepted Brynn as she always was and how in the end, they were stronger for it.

There is strong found family vibes and it features a cat cafe.

Conditions of a Heart has a great focus on Brynn’s self identity, even if you don’t have a chronic illness, I think anybody would find something to relate to in Brynn’s story.
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