Marlowe has spent much of her life living on the edge of death thanks to a congenital heart defect, but she’s got a new lease on life thanks to a heart suddenly becoming available. Not that it’s doing much to make life easier other than keeping her alive. Some of her classmates are bullying her over the transplant, she’s trying to find the family of her heart’s original owner, and her mom’s fight with the butcher next door leads Marlowe into her own rivalry with the butcher’s son/apprentice.
As I’ve been the recipient of a donated organ or even donated one of my lesser organs, there’s simply no way for me to understand what it’s like. If it’s normal to fixate on finding your donor and their family like Marlowe does, I just wouldn’t know. I do know that her younger brother Pip seems younger than eleven years old since his way to cope with his sister’s condition was to design outrageous costumes so she’ll laugh or smile. Regardless, I adore him. I also adore Marlowe’s new too-cool friend Zan, a Chinese Australian lesbian who isn’t having it when Marlowe gets into some bull.
WHAT LEFT ME WANTING:
Much like Plozza’s previous novel Frankie, the romance in Tin Heart is built out of a half-serious antagonism that conceals the couple’s true feelings. However, Marlowe and Leo’s rivalry is a little too antagonistic for me to be convinced. The selfish behavior Marlowe’s mother indulges in also goes unremarked upon. If Marlowe’s wants don’t align with her own, her mom will just ignore Marlowe. And yet she gets away with calling Marlowe selfish while she steamrolls all over her eighteen-year-old daughter? The poor girl never gets the chance to call her mom on her crap either.
Tin Heart left me with a pleasant feeling in my heart and all kinds of headcanons about the characters. For instance, Pip will grow up to be a drag queen and fashion designer; Marlowe is going to realize she’s bi in a year or two. The scenes where she’s around Carmen are too electric to be just her being near her donor’s sister. If you’re someone whose appetite for good old Aussie YA is never satisfied, this is a good candidate for your TBR pile.