A moving novel about grief, guilt, and the unpredictability of love, for fans of Everything, Everything and All the Bright Places.
Jonny knows better than anyone that life is full of cruel ironies. He's spent every day in a hospital hooked up to machines to keep his heart ticking. Then when an organ donor is found for Jonny's heart, that turns out to be the cruelest irony of all. Because for Jonny's life to finally start, someone else's had to end.
That someone turns out to be Neve's twin brother, Leo. When Leo was alive, all Neve wanted was for him (and all his glorious, overshadowing perfection) to leave. Now that Leo's actually gone forever, Neve has no idea how to move forward. Then Jonny walks into her life looking for answers, her brother's heart beating in his chest, and everything starts to change.
Together, Neve and Jonny will have to face the future, no matter how frightening it is, while learning to heal their hearts, no matter how much it hurts.
(Features select graphic novel illustrations from Jonny's sketchbook.)
|Publisher:||Little, Brown Books for Young Readers|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Tamsyn Murray spent her childhood moving around a lot throughout England. At eighteen she left home to go to university in London and now lives in Hertfordshire. When she's not working or writing, she can be found singing and dancing with her local amateur dramatics society. She has one daughter and one son and several pets.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jonny has had an unusual childhood, missing most of the experiences that children usually have. His life so far has been spent hooked up to machines keeping his blood pumping through his body. His only hope is a heart donor, but he needs a perfect match. This is unlikely, and he believes that death may be fast approaching. One day a miracle happens, and a young person dies, giving him his heart! After he gets his new heart, Jonny struggles. He just has to know who the donor was. In searching for the donor, Jonny finds his “true heart”, learning to deal with the physical heart as well as how to deal with the new experience of falling in love. This is a charming young adult tale about a girl grieving the death of someone close to her. It is also about a boy given a second chance. The characters are realistic, well-written, and heart-warming, helping the reader to experience their pain and joy, too. I really liked this simple, yet profound book. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
It’s been about a week since I finished Instructions for a Secondhand Heart and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this book. The concept was absolutely brilliant and there were aspects of it, such as how Tamsin Murray dealt with loss, grief, and chronic illness, that were incredible. However, there were also parts that weirded me out a little, such as Jonny and Neve’s romance. Even with those parts though, I still found myself emotionally invested in both character’s journeys. Instructions for a Secondhand Heart is ultimately the story of Jonny and Neve. Jonny is finding his way in the world after being given a second chance at life through a donor heart. Neve is struggling to come to terms with a world that doesn’t have her twin brother in it. Despite their fears, both of them must learn how to face a changed future that they never expected. Both Jonny and Neve are beautifully written and realistic characters who jumped off the page. I was a little creeped out by Jonny’s actions but I could understand where he was coming from. I thought Murray did an excellent job of showing the challenges he faced after his transplant and the struggles he had in adapting. However, Neve was the highlight of the book for me. Her story hit me unexpectedly hard. I thought Murray’s portrayal of Neve’s grief and how she dealt with it was absolutely brilliant and authentic. Instructions for a Secondhand Heart was a poignant look at loss, grief, and pain that also examined the power of friendship, family, and love. The writing was excellent and I loved the inclusion of the comic books pages. I would recommend this book to YA contemporary fans, particularly those who enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
4.5 ★ – PAINFULLY REAL, INCREDIBLY AFFECTING AND HEART ACHINGLY BEAUTIFUL Instructions for a Secondhand Heart absolutely broke my heart and then wonderfully pieced it back together. It’s painfully real, incredibly affecting, and just so beautifully written that I still can't stop thinking about it. Tamsyn Murray created such a lovely story about loss, self-discovery, second chances, and love. The storyline, while full of heart shattering situations, was riveting, sweet and at times even funny. The writing was undeniably moving, laced with beauty and sincerity, and just so utterly gorgeous that deeply affected me from beginning to end. The emotions I felt while reading this book made my heart hurt, but also filled it with so much hope and joy. I smiled, laughed, cried, loved, cried even more, and then smiled again. This was such a torturous, but positively emotional read that will stay with me for a very long time. The characters in this book were so well-written and developed. Complex, flawed, and a little broken, but so real that you can’t help but just feel for them and cheer them on. Jonny may have spent most of his life in the hospital and can be morbid at times, but he’s also genuine, charming, funny and really sweet. I completely adored him and rooted for him the entire time. Through the ups and downs, the happy and the very sad, I truly enjoyed following Jonny on his journey. He definitely stumbled and made plenty of mistakes, but along the way, Jonny also found something really amazing. Neve's stubborn, cold, and quite cynical that I had a difficult time liking her. I also didn’t enjoy her POV for most of the story – she was just so angry and negative. But Jonny’s friendship made her thaw little by little. With Jonny, Neve became someone different, a better version of herself – a girl who takes chances, trusts, smiles, laughs, and even falls in love. She was the hardest character to like, but by the end, I loved Neve as much as I did Jonny. Speaking of friendships, the one between Jonny and Emily was so sweet and heartwarming. I loved their scenes together and wish there were more of them. Their inside jokes, their bantering, and the adorable way they cared about each other made my heart melt. Instructions for a Secondhand Heart is an achingly delightful story about love, trust, friendship and forgiveness. Through Jonny and Neve’s journey, the author gracefully shows that even a terrible and painful situation can ultimate lead to something really beautiful. This book made me FEEL SO MUCH – it’s raw, emotional, sad, but uplifting in every way. If you’re looking for a story that will inspire, move, and teach you something about life, then I highly recommend this book. I received an advance reader copy of this book from @TheNOVL in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.