Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Publication: October 13, 2020 by Candlewick Press
Synopsis: A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just a heart from her donor in this compulsively readable debut.
Seventeen-year-old Chloe had a plan: work hard, get good grades, and attend a top-tier college. But after she collapses during cross-country practice and is told that she needs a new heart, all her careful preparations are laid to waste.
Eight months after her transplant, everything is different. Stuck in summer school with the underachievers, all she wants to do now is grab her surfboard and hit the waves—which is strange, because she wasn’t interested in surfing before her transplant. (It doesn’t hurt that her instructor, Kai, is seriously good-looking.)
And that’s not all that’s strange. There’s also the vivid recurring nightmare about crashing a motorcycle in a tunnel and memories of people and places she doesn’t recognize.
Is there something wrong with her head now, too, or is there another explanation for what she’s experiencing?
As she searches for answers, and as her attraction to Kai intensifies, what she learns will lead her to question everything she thought she knew—about life, death, love, identity, and the true nature of reality.
This is the first book I’ve read in months that took less than twelve hours to read. I finished this one in two sittings, actually, which hasn’t been very common, if it’s even happened at all, this year. I expected your typical coming-of-age story, but it was so much more. I don’t want to say too much, to avoid spoiling the book, but this book is definitely worth the read.
Chloe and Kai had such strong chemistry, which I think is one of the things that made the book such an emotional ride. I’m usually expecting a plot twist, but I hadn’t even thought of the possibility of one happening – especially the twist that did happen. I was kind of hoping that this would be the usual sweet, wholesome young adult book I’m used to.
Before picking this book up, I hadn’t even known that cell memory was a theory; no one had ever mentioned it to me or around me. It was definitely a very intriguing concept that I’ll likely end up researching a bit more on my own. I’m actually willing to bet that this is what kept me so invested in the book from start to finish.
I’ve read a couple of other reviews, and though a lot of people seemed to hate the plot twist, I actually really liked it. I feel that it’s actually what made the book more than what it would have been without it; if it hadn’t ended the way it had, I likely wouldn’t have been nearly as emotionally hit by it.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via JeanBookNerd Tours. This did not influence my opinion in any way.
Buy the Book
Meet the Author
Shannon Takaoka is a young adult fiction author who wrote her first book at age 12, when she blatantly ripped off C.S. Lewis with an epic fantasy inspired by THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. (Well, maybe it wasn’t that epic — do 10 pages count?) Madeline L’Engle, Charlotte Brontë, Neil Gaiman and a host of other authors inspired her lifelong love of reading, and she’s especially into all things gothic, weird and nerdy. If a story involves time travel, strange science-y stuff or alternate realities, she’s in.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Shannon now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two children and one very needy dog, who is probably leaning on her right now as she’s pecking away on her keyboard. Her debut novel, EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW, about a 17-year-old girl questioning everything about who she is and who she wants to be following a heart transplant, will be published by Candlewick Press on 10/13/2020 and Walker UK in 2021. She promises that it’s a little weird — but in a good way.