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 suburbanites 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. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.
But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.
Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.
It’s good, it’s cheesy, and it’s good BECAUSE it’s cheesy, but honestly, rating-wise, it’s tricky to gauge just how good this was.
It’s addicting, for sure. Edie is a fine lead – she’s easy to understand, and while some of her decisions are questionable, she’s realistically messy and that, I think, is the exact point that HEARTS, STRINGS, AND OTHER BREAKABLE THINGS is trying to bring across. Did it succeed? Yep. I get it. I get its message. We’re good on that front.
On the plus side, this is addicting and totally readable (I, a slow reader, finished 90% in one sitting and would’ve read the whole thing then and there if I didn’t have to sleep), and it can join the ranks of books like Morgan Matson’s SAVE THE DATE that are meant to be adapted to the screen because it felt humorously cinematic, with a fully-fleshed-out cast of characters that are dying to be fan-cast. Dare I say it would make a better movie than book? Given that my primary issue is the writing style but not the concept, I’d say Aye.
So why dock two stars off the rating? Partly it’s a subjectivity thing – the writing style and I didn’t fully click because there were lots of weird references and weirder similes sprinkled every now and then that tried just a touch too hard to sound like Teen Speak; and the other part is the repetitive rhythm that sapped the pacing’s speed toward the middle where the plot loses a tad bit of steam and waffles for a while before it rights itself and sticks the landing.
And the ending? Let’s talk about the ending. I like it. It’s jarring and sorta non-traditional while also being just familiar enough not to stray too far from its trope. It’s satisfying, and that’s not something you can say often.
Thanks to HMH Teen for sending me an ARC for an honest review.