This Heart of Mine is a mystery, but even more so, it’s Leah’s journey to figuring out who she is. Being homeschooled and removed from her high school has changed her, so has almost dying, so is the knowledge of this new life. And who is Leah MacKenzie now?
A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?
Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.
Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living took more courage than dying?
I do want to start my review off with a caveat, while the mystery of Matt’s twin brother’s death is a large part of the book, I felt kind of uneasy about it. Since you don’t find out for a while, I felt like the book kind of relies on this mystery and not knowing if Eric’s death is a suicide, like it was ruled, or a mystery (accident or murder). And I felt uncomfortable with that because just because a person doesn’t seem sad or suicidal like we might be expecting, doesn’t mean they didn’t die by suicide. So in many ways it felt like it was sensationalizing this belief or denial.
Leah & Self-Discovery
So what ended up drawing me to the story was Leah and her journey. Her illness has changed her in monumental huge ways and being re-immersed with her old friends makes Leah realize that maybe she’s someone entirely new now. Being someone who moved a lot in the last few years, I can relate to this feeling of returning back to somewhere, to people, who used to know you and feeling like you’re someone else completely.
Obviously our situations are not the same since Leah has a very serious medical condition, but I could relate to Leah’s uncertainty about who she is now. Is she a more outspoken Leah? In many ways, returning back to Germany after being away for a year felt like coming back showed me that this new person, this new me, was too loud. Too outspoken. Too political. It’s like there’s all these versions of you living on top of each other, fighting for a voice, and you’re not sure who you are anymore.
Leah’s growth as a character was one of the most fulfilling parts of the book, but it took a side seat as the book progressed and more of the emphasis was on Eric’s death. But, as I mentioned earlier, the mystery element definitely sweeps you away, mostly because I had this very ominous feeling in the pit of my stomach. If you read this with a grain of salt, and if Leah’s character appeals to you, then I think it’s still worth a read.