After his twin sister, Minnie, dies in an accident, Emmitt's world goes sideways. He’s lost his best friend and it feels like the family is falling apart without her. But Minnie was an organ donor and Emmitt soon receives an anonymous thank you letter from one of the transplant recipients. Inspiration strikes, and he decides to try and put his sister back together, in spirit. He’s going to track down each organ recipient and film them to show his parents the results of Minnie’s selfless act and help them move on. But when each recipient falls short of his expectations and the star of his film, the girl who received his sister’s heart, refuses to meet him, Emmitt has to turn to extreme measures to find her. What he doesn’t know is that his "heart sister" is hiding an agonizing secret, one that could push Emmitt to the breaking point.
When Emmitt’s twin sister Minnie dies in a tragic accident, it cripples not only him but his parents with grief. A letter from an anonymous organ transplant recipient arrives soon after, thanking his family for the gift that saved his life. Emboldened, Emmitt seeks to track down every person who received a part of his beloved sister. What he finds is a lot more than he bargained for, and thus embarks on a journey that may just be his family’s only chance to heal.
What I loved:
The voice. I could tell from the first page that the author was writing from personal experience, and that shines through. This story had the potential to be bleak and sad and soooooo depressing, but there is more than enough humor and quirky fun and unexpected turns to balance out the more emotional parts. Emmitt is a wonderful character, innocent and naïve in many ways, but with an ingenuity and a never-say-die attitude that any reader won’t help but love.
What I didn’t love:
There were times when the format vacillated between a book narrative and that of a screenplay, which at times I felt was jarring. I know it served a purpose as it incorporated Minnie more completely into the story, but there were times when it felt unnecessary. Other than that, I really had no issues with anything about this book.
My Final Verdict:
Heart Sister is a wonderful story that will have you reaching for your box of tissue over and over again. It will make you cry, and laugh, and give you the warmest of warm fuzzies. No two people deal with gut-wrenching grief the same way, but one can’t read this book and not feel as if it’s happening to a stranger. It’s a truly remarkable work of fiction, even though much of it was based on events from the author’s life.
I loved that the author decided to write a novel about this difficult and rarely touched on subject. The information about the author says that he was inspired to write this story based on his own family's experience with organ donation. His personal experience with the subject brings the story to life. Stewart takes a emotional subject matter and adds humor and teenage culture.
What I loved: I loved the bond between Emmet and Minnie and how a twinless twin could feel unmoored when their twin dies. I have boy/girl twins myself. While twins can have totally different personalities and interests, there is always a special bond.
I also thought the family's grief and how each member dealt with it was especially poignant. While Emmet tried to deal with his grief, his parents drew into themselves and would not let others in.
I loved the characters of both Emmet and Minnie. I also loved how Minnie had such a cute and quirky personality.
What left me wanting more: I appreciated that the author showed a diverse group of recipients to Minnie's organs. I thought that a lot of the side characters personalities were a little flat. I would have liked a deeper dive into their pre-transplant lives and personalities. Also, I found the dialog related to the virtual fireside interviews a little confusing.
My final word: I loved the topic and the main characters. A wonderful novel that explores the complicated subject of organ donation.