Monday, November 6, 2017

THE HEARTS WE SOLD BY EMILY LLOYD-JONES - BOOK REVIEW

I had very little idea of what to expect going into this book. I knew it was about demons and trading hearts for deals with them but not much else. In the end, it was definitely much more than that and I was the one who ended up having their heart ripped out!

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones.


The story follows Diedre, or Dee, a teenager who got herself a scholarship to go to a boarding school to get away from her alcoholic and verbally abusive parents. When the school's budget is cut, so is her scholarship. Without the money, she'll have to go back to living with her parents. So she makes a deal with a demon, her heart for enough money to pay for school. It turns out, however, that the demon also requires her and her fellow 'heartless' troop to do errands for it, doing jobs that no one with a heart can. It's in this group that she meets James, a fellow heartless who helps her adjust to her new life and shows her that even without a heart, you can still feel.

As a whole, this was a really fun, interesting and quick read. It was exactly what I was looking for right now and I am so glad I decided to pick it up when I did.

The story itself is really interesting, the concept of demons being so integrated into society that it's perfectly normal for people to be missing parts of their bodies, signifying a deal had been made. The backstory provided about the demons was a little hazy, all we're really told is that they just showed up a couple years earlier and want to help the humans - of course, in exchange for a body part, but help nonetheless. Upon finishing the book, I can see why this initial explanation isn't great, but there were a few times throughout the book that I questioned some details.

Ultimately, the story, at least for me, is less about the demons and what they are doing, and more about Dee and her life. They are kind of intertwined, but I found myself really enjoying reading parts about her personal issues, even without the demon drama. I haven't read many characters like Dee before, so I appreciated the freshness of her character. I really enjoyed her relationships with her roommate, Gremma, and of course, James. I definitely went into this thinking she would fall in love with the demon (that's what happens when you skim the synopsis), but I'm so glad that's not how things panned out.

The passage of time in the book was hard to follow, so this didn't feel like inst-love to me. Lloyd-Jones did a great job building up their relationship, platonic at first and then shifting into something more. There was a lot of tension and nothing really happened until later on in the book. But they were cute together and I loved how James didn't act like he had to take care of Dee. She was capable of handling things herself, but when she needed to, she let him in.

This book also touches on parental abuse, specifically verbal, and alcoholism. While I've been fortunate enough to not have been in a situation like that, I felt like Lloyd-Jones did a really good job of portraying the situation and Dee's feelings within it. She would go home for the weekend, everything would start out okay and then backslide. She'd leave and feel guilty and then go back, hoping this time things would be different. This was a horrible situation, no doubt, and it took her a long time to stand up for herself. Dee also talks to James about feeling like her abuse, which she doesn't even really recognize as such, is invalid because her parents didn't do anything, that is, physically abuse her. Lloyd-Jones shows the visualizations a lot of people have, that the only "true" type of abuse is physical when there are undoubtedly many other forms. I thought this was a really important point and it was brought up tactfully.

Overall, this book was about a lot more than just making deals with demons and I really enjoyed it! (except for that ending! How could you do that to us?!)