Wednesday, 10 August 2016

{Blog Tour} Review & Author Interview: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

22864849Posted by Donna
Release Date: April 21st, 2015
Finished Date: August 1st, 2016
Publishers: HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Hardcover 
Pages: 304
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.

The Review: Things We Know by Heart is a beautifully written and moving story by YA author Jessi Kirby and it’s one that’s going to stay with me for a long time. 

When Quinn Sullivan’s boyfriend Trent dies, her world is turned upside down and she doesn’t know how to move on. So when his organs are used and go to people who are on the donor waiting list, Quinn decides to reach out to them through the reach out program and see if this helps her to move on. Four out of five people response but the person who receives Trent’s heart doesn’t. Quinn does the only thing she knows she’s not supposed to not do – she tracks the person down but it’s something she’s not prepared. Her and Colton Thomas’s first meeting doesn’t go to plan. After that, Quinn knows she’s breaking the rules but there’s something about Colton that she’s drawn to and Colton’s pretty determined to get to know her too. But can they have a relationship when there are so many secrets between them?

I loved Things We Know by Heart. It’s such a short story – just 300 pages – which I flew through it within a day. Had it of not been for work I would have finished it much quicker. Even though it’s a short read, it didn’t stop the feels I got from this book. The emotions really packs a punch from the impact of this story. It’s such a heart-breaking read. It’s a story about loss and life but then hope and love.  Jessi Kirby writes the story so beautifully that is well developed and you can see through each chapter how much research has gone into the story.

The characters are written great. Quinn is a teenage girl that makes mistakes but also recognises when she’s made them. Her decision to find Colton might not have been the best one but once she meets him, she can’t forget him. And the same goes for Colton. They have an undeniable connection that as a reader, you can see immediately. It’s not an insta-love but a just a tiny spark that continues to grow throughout the story. I loved all of Quinn and Colton moments. I struggled with them. I cried with them. And I laughed with them. I came to love both of them very much and even Trent that we only see through Quinn’s memories. He was a lovable character too. 

Admittedly the plot of the story is a little predictable but it didn’t bother me at all. I was so wrapped up in the story that no matter what, I loved it. I loved everything about it and even though Quinn and Colton’s story is over, I can’t help wanting more. 

In all, Thing We Know by Heart is a beautiful story, full of angst, heart-break, grief, hope, and love and about moving on after losing a loved one and I'm proud to have this book sitting on my shelf - definitely one of my favourite contemporary reads to date!

Thank you to Harper 360 for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Jessi KirbyAuthor Interview with Jessi Kirby! 

1) Could you tell us a little bit about Things We Know by Heart? 
Things We Know By Heart is the story of a girl who loses her boyfriend in a tragic accident.  When his parents make the decision to donate his organs, she reaches out to the recipients in an effort to deal with her grief.  All of them respond but one--the one who she believes is most important, because he received her boyfriend’s heart. Quinn can’t seem to let this go, so she finds out who he is, which leads to an unintended meeting, where they have an undeniable connection.  

2) Where did you get the idea behind the story? 
I first got the idea for the story when I read an article about the theory of cellular memory—the idea that our very cells carry the “memory” of who we are as people, so that in the case of transplants—especially heart transplants—there’s this idea that some essence of the donor could be present.  There are all sorts of anecdotal stories about this, and that’s the original direction this story was going to take.  But then I started researching  the relationships between donor families and recipient families—how some want to meet each other, and others never do, and that’s what I found most interesting.  I thought about how complicated it would be if one party really felt the need to meet, and the other absolutely did not want to do that, and that’s where Quinn and Colton came from. 

3) How long did it take to write?
This took roughly a year to write.

4) What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?
The thing I found most challenging about writing this book was balancing out Quinn’s grief over her first love with the fact that she was healing from that grief and finding a new love.  

5) Do you have a favourite non-spoiler quote from the book?
I do! I found so many great passages about the heart when I was researching this story that I began collecting quotes and ended up beginning each chapter with them.  The following comes from Plato, is one of my favourite, and I do think it captures the feel of the story.:
“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back.” –Plato

6) Can you describe Quinn and Colton in three words?
Meant to be.

7) What’s next for you?
Next up I have a novel called THE SECRET HISTORY OF US, which will be released in Summer 2017, and is about a girl who has a near-drowning experience.  When she wakes from a coma, she has lost the memories of her most recent years—those that include high school, graduating, and even her boyfriend.  This one is a story of trying to find out who you are, while uncovering secrets about your past. 

Fun Questions 
1) What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Ha! This is a fun question, and no one has ever asked me this. I try to eat pretty clean, so lots of fruits and veggies, but it’s also summertime, so there’s almost always a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc there for when friends stop by. If you looked in the cabinet, you’d find my favorite treat to have with that wine—potato chips.

2)What are some of the most recent books you’ve bought? 

I just picked up HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR by Corey Whaley, and THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING by Morgan Matson, both of which I can’t wait to read!
AUTHOR BIO:  Jessi Kirby  is a former English teacher and librarian. She lives in Orange County, CA with her husband and two kids, where she writes stories and runs the beach every day. Well, almost every day. You can contact Jessi at  

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