Release Date: April 21, 2015
ARC via Edelweiss
Quinn Sullivan lost the love of her life when her boyfriend, Trent, died in an accident their junior year. In an attempt to get closure, she reached out to the recipients of his donated organs. Though some answered her letters, the one Quinn feels matters most--the person who received Trent's heart--has been silent.
Nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas has spent the last several years in and out of hospitals waiting for a heart transplant. Now that he's finally received a new heart, Colton is regaining strength, and he's walking away from his bedridden past with no intention of looking back. He doesn't want to know about the person who had to die so that he could live. He only wants to move forward.
But Quinn can't let it go. Venturing outside the system to find Colton, Quinn takes a risk in hopes of finally laying her memories to rest. But what begins as an innocent conversation quickly becomes an attraction--and to make matters worse, Colton has no idea how they're connected. His zest for life pulls Quinn from her months of sorrow but leaves her torn between honesty and utter betrayal. Because no matter how hard she's falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she's lost.
My ThoughtsLast summer, I read Jessi Kirby's In Honor and fell in love with the wonderful story about loss, self-discovery and falling in love (and okay, there might have been some swooning over the love interest, Rusty, who reminded me so much of the wonderful Tim Riggins). When I first read about Things We Know by Heart, I instantly got excited. That excitement was COMPLETELY justified.
It has been over a year since Quinn Sullivan's boyfriend Trent died without a warning. One moment he was there, making Quinn fall more and more in love with him every single day. And then a horrible accident took Trent away from him and spread parts of him around through organ donation. To get some sort of closure to her grief, Quinn starts to look for the people that now have a part of Trent in them and though she succeeds to connect with some of the donors, it seems like the recipient of Trent's heart is not willing to establish contact. So Quinn starts snooping around and eventually finds the young man whose life was saved through the organ donation. And though she knows that she should not make any contact, she cannot help herself.
After an excruciating wait for a donor heart, Colton Thomas is more than ready to say goodbye to the times when he was forced to stay in hospital, only dreaming about the life he wanted to have. His weakness and thinness, caused by the illness, have changed into strenght and a body that allows him to surf and help with the family kayaking business. When a mysteriou girl arrives to the little coast town he lives at, he is intrigued - the more he sees of her, the more he wants to spend time with her.
I loved both Quinn and Colton. Quinn is broken, yet in my opinion extremely strong. She has gone through something horrible, and the way she tries to deal with it all was so realistically written that it brought tears into my eyes. As someone who has lost a person very close to me suddenly, I was able to identify with Quinn's fight to remember the last time she held Trent's hand, the last time she sat with him at the back porch and so on. The way the desire to remember was portrayed as consuming and both as a relief and a burden was so well done by Kirby. This woman really knows how to write about grief.
Colton is charming and funny, but also broken, though in a different way than Quinn is. He has been given a chance to live and sometimes it seems to him like he cannot find the way to express his gratitude. Why should he be alive when someone else had to die for it? When he meets Quinn, it seems to him like he could start again with someone who does not know what has happened to him, but as we all know, there are things we just cannot hide. Especially not from the people we care about.
Things We Know by Heart is extremely well written - Kirby's narrative flows and her prose made me both laugh and cry. Her characters are engaging, well established and full of surprises. Things We Know by Heart is definitely one of those special, unique books that I had a very difficult time putting down, as a result of which I ended up staying up until 4 am just to finish reading it.