Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 281
delightfully dark YA fantasy
(Updated: June 19, 2022)
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OUR CROOKED HEARTS is a delicious, dark YA fantasy read. The book takes place in dual timelines, following Ivy in the present, and her mother in the past. Ivy's story begins quickly as she and her boyfriend almost get into a car accident when they swerved to avoid crashing into a naked girl in the road. The encounter seems strange, and things begin getting stranger when Ivy finds something disturbing in the driveway and all the secrets seem to revolve around her mother.

In the before, Dana was 16 and felt like there should be something more. When she and her BFF Fee meet Marion, who is a little older and a lot more mysterious. Marion has found a pathway to magic, and she opens Dana and Fee to their abilities. As things escalate, they will find themselves in the middle of something bigger and more dangerous than they ever could have imagined.

What I loved: This is such a layered and twisty read. The start of the book hooks the reader with the characters and mystery and pulls them into something absolutely riveting and deliciously dark. The plot was endlessly fascinating with surprising turns that were hard to see coming. Both Ivy and Dana's stories held equal sway in pulling us toward the hidden secrets that had the power to change lives. Later, the story again evolves to show another perspective that brings the reader even further into the mire.

Both Ivy and Dana were compelling characters whose lives were easy to get lost in. Ivy is trying to understand what happened to her, why the boy next door dislikes her so much, and why she feels like something is missing, while also trying to figure out what her mother is hiding. Dana is looking for something bigger than herself and the world that she lives in with her volatile father and consuming friendship with Fee. Marion gives her something that feels like she regains the power that she had lost and gives her something more from the world. They were each complex characters who come to life with each chapter.

This is not a book to be read at nighttime - it is haunting, chilling, and deliciously creepy. As a page-turner, this will keep you up late with all the lights on. The pace is just perfect, building slowly at first and escalating as the story builds. The switches between timelines were seamless and just the right length to keep you invested in both without getting too distant so that you forget one before turning to the other.

Themes around power, friendship, family, betrayal, secrets, memory, dreams, and honesty make this a really consuming read. The use of magic and multiple perspectives really makes these come to life, with key messages around secrets, honesty, and the power of the lies.

Final verdict: Twisty, haunting, and deliciously dark, OUR CROOKED HEARTS is a compelling YA fantasy that is sure to haunt and consume readers.
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