My favorite part about this book is Marlowe’s voice. It’s so fresh and relatable, particularly in her life-is-stranger-than-fiction moments. Like Marlowe, there have been countless times when I have also wondered, “how did I get here?” I love how Plozza lets Marlowe ramble on, especially when she sets the scene and asks rhetorical questions. Marlowe is a sympathetic character, but isn’t written for sympathy, hero worship, or inspiration porn. She’s written like a human and meets every situation like one too.
The star-crossed lovers’ subplot is also a lot of fun. Two hot-blooded teenagers working next door to each other at their parents’ shops. One is a butcher. The other is a hippie vegan. What could possibly go wrong? This part of the story could have easily been too cheesy, but Plozza walks the line carefully, and because Marlowe and Leo’s relationship is not the main focus of the book, it works. Marlowe and Leo’s banter make me laugh and I love how dynamic Leo is.
With that being said, there are multiple stock characters in this book that detract from the story. For example, there’s the angry dad who wants his son to take over the family business and doesn’t want him to go to college, the school bully who is relentless and has no remorse, and the dumb teacher who is completely out of touch with what is happening in his classroom. I also had no idea where the book was taking place until I was about one third of the way through. I would have appreciated a stronger setting, especially since I’ve never been to Australia and it would have been nice to be able to visualize it better.
Overall though, TIN HEART is a wonderful book, full of humor, romance, friendship, and playing dress-up.