The title of this book – Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things – got to me first, and then the cuteness of the cover. So I had to pick this one out from NetGalley in spite of all the huge backlog there
The Book Review
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.
Mansfield, Massachusetts, is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburban mothers and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. She’s got her own plans, and they don’t include any prince charming.
But as she dives into schoolwork and getting a scholarship for college, Edie finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys strumming for her attention: First, there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love, who’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player who’s totally off limits—even if his kisses are chemically addictive.
Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help herself from being caught between them. Now, she just has to make sure it isn’t her heart that breaks in the process.
Austen, All the Boys, and Other Related Things
The name of the town the story is set in should have been a dead giveaway – or so I thought, after I finished reading the book. I had wondered at its vague familiarity. And when I checked what other people thought about it, it hit me – this is an adaptation (or is it a retelling?) – of Jane Austen’s ‘Mansfield Park’. I read Austen’s book decades ago now so can honestly say my recall of it is mild-ish (but somewhere in the labyrinth that is my mind, it was there).
‘Hearts, Strings..’ reminded me of other books and movies and TV shows (Gilmore Girls, for one) but not by so much as to become repetitive. Just the right amount of familiarity and a wonderful amount of freshness in the writing to make me keep reading till the end.
side-note, I am yet to read ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’!
What Kept Me Going
The writing was charming, funny, sweet, smart; and the characters endear themselves to you effortlessly while confounding you at the same time.
Oh! Why did he…she…they.. make that choice? What is he… she.. thinking?! And so on and so forth went my inner dialog as I read(devoured) the book in a few hours. To be honest, I did not expect to get caught in it.
- But the storyline and the characters hooked me from the start.
- And oh, how can I forget all the really ‘lit’ literary references (Age of Innocence, for one)
- Or the smart use of words – especially the apt, artful alliteration – and also the cool definitions of common words Edie makes up for her shared lexicon with Shonda.
- & those ‘walks into a bar’ jokes Edie shared with Henry
- as well as Edie’s exchange of quotes with Sebastian
- also, that ‘evil-ish’ aunt, the cousins, the whole circle of family and friends, and
And yes, can’t forget about the hearts, strings, and other breakable things too!
Summary, Not Quite
Well, I sure am glad I read this (way too many pages bookmarked is one proof). A story of love, family, friendships, dreams, goals, priorities, texting, tattoos, music, quotes, jokes – all this and more! A story you will enjoy…
I certainly am looking forward to more reads by Firkins.
A couple of randomly chosen quotes (from the many I bookmarked)
- “Long-held secrets, missed opportunities, and one hell of a held hand.” –> Edie’s one line description of Edith Wharton’s ‘The Age of Innocence’.
- “……I envy my words once spoken, for they’re closer to your ear, closer to your heart than I am. They live, inked in your memory, when I’m absent…..” –> Part of one of the quotes Sebastian exchanges with Edie
A book I know that a reader will enjoy simply because…..It is a sweet and fun read that will make a great gift for that chick flick reader or that Jane Austen fan or anyone looking for a light yet smart YA romance..
Reading Level: 14 years and above
Disclaimer: Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and NetGalley for this opportunity to read this eARC.
And Then, Well, The End of this Post
My previous posts for this month are below, and I hope I can keep this up 🙂 even if each day’s post makes its appearance in the early hours of the next..