Things We Know By Heart

First Lines: I don’t know how I knew, when the sirens woke me just before dawn, that they were for him.

As I was laying sick this weekend with a nasty sinus cold my students gave me, I admittedly got through a lot of books.  If there’s one thing (and only one thing) that’s good about being sick, it’s lazy reading time.

Near the end of Quinn’s junior year of high school, her boyfriend Trent was in an accident.  As part of the healing process, Quinn reached out to everyone who got one of Trent’s organs…all except for the boy who got Trent’s heart.  She hasn’t heard back from him yet.  She believes if she can make contact with that boy, she can finally find peace.  Breaking a few rules (and maybe a few laws), Quinn goes outside the system to track down 19-year-old Colton Thomas, whose life was forever changed from this priceless gift.  But what started as an accidental meeting turns into something more.  She doesn’t want to give in to it–especially since Colton doesn’t know how they’re connected–but he’s making her feel more alive than she has in months.  Nonetheless, each beat of his heart reminds her of what she’s lost…and how much she’s risking now.

Once again, I think Jessi Kirby has hit on something really special with this book.  There was a lot of heart. (HA! I couldn’t help myself.  I apologize. …Ok, not really.  I’m kind of proud of that.)  The characters seemed real and the action was interwoven with more than just Colton and Quinn being together.

The characters felt like real people to me by the time I finished reading this book.  Quinn especially, as our narrator.  Her life has gone hiatus since Trent died 400 days ago (and she’s counted every single one of them).  She stopped living the moment he did.  Her journey back to the living was full of mistakes, missteps, and hopeful reluctance.

And Colton was another lovely character.  He was sweet, handsome, and a little bit reckless.  I thought that was the most interesting aspect of his character.  I can only imagine what it would be like to spend years unhealthy enough to be on a transplant list to finally have a second chance at life.  I’d probably take a few risks too.

I loved the idea of the plot, of a heart transplant and trying to move on from a loved one’s death.  (I swear this plot is also a movie somewhere, but I can’t think of the title!  If you know it, PLEASE tell me what it is!  It’s driving me CRAZY!)  Kirby also includes quotes at the beginning of each chapter, many of which taught me a lot about actual hearts and how they function.  It’s kind of fascinating, though cardiology will never, ever be a career for me.  (I hate blood outside of the body.  It freaks me out.  Inside a body, I’m totally cool with it.)

This story is just so cute and touching, with an interesting cast of characters.  Great wisdom, great moments, and a great plot.

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