Friday, August 16, 2019

Backlist Mini-Reviews: The Jessi Kirby Edition

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby (2015)

After her boyfriend's death, Quinn wants to find all the recipients of his donated organs.  The heart recipient never gets back to her, but she's able to find out his identity.  When she meets him, she doesn't anticipate falling for him - while trying to keep her secret.

When we meet Quinn, she has spent the last year mourning the death of her boyfriend, Trent.  She's finished high school, but has no other plans and is just sort of floating through life.  It made me sad that she was only 18 and felt her life was over.  Quinn's desire to reach out to all the organ recipients was bittersweet, and even she wondered if it was bringing her closure or helping her cling to Trent's memory.  I wasn't sure how I felt about her search for the heart recipient.  I wanted her to respect their desire for anonymity, if that's what they truly wanted, and the fact that she's even able to discover his identity was a little crazy.  When Quinn and Colton meet, it seemed a little convenient that he's a gorgeous, sweet guy and they fall for each other.  I thought their kayaking dates were cute, but I kind of wish Quinn had found out about Colton's donated heart after they met - it would have felt more like fate.  The fact that she had this big secret and had to pretend like she didn't know all about him already was a little off-putting.

Quinn's family was a great addition to the story.  I wanted more of her spunky grandma, and I really loved the way her sister helped her move forward, even though she was going through some stuff of her own.  Overall, this was a well-written, emotional story that had a few bumpy elements.  3.5 stars


The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby (2017)

After a near-fatal car crash, Liv wakes up from a coma to realize she has no memory of the last four years of her life.

I think this is my favorite Jessi Kirby book so far.  I loved how real it felt.  At times, I was maybe hoping for some more drama or bigger secrets and revelations, but in the end, I appreciated the story for what it was.  Liv was an amazing main character.  She's understandably freaked out when she realizes the accident has taken her memories of the last four years, but I actually thought she handled it pretty well.  I mean, she can't remember her entire high school experience - her best friend is no longer her best friend and she doesn't know why; she doesn't remember learning how to drive; she finds her birth control pills but has no memory of having sex with her boyfriend of two years.  It's kind of devastating to realize all the big AND little things she can't remember.  Kirby did a great job of getting inside Liv's head; I really enjoyed watching her try to understand how the person she was at 14 became the person she is today.  I thought there were some good lessons, too, about being the person we want to be, not the one others want us to be, and following our passions.

As always, Kirby's writing is simple, straightforward, and just plain good.  Although the ending felt a bit rushed, following Olivia on her recovery journey (and also meeting her fantastic family) made for a truly solid read.  4.5 stars

24 comments:

  1. The Secret History of Us sounds very good. Scary premise, but it's awesome that the author managed to get into the character's head so deeply! Love your review :)

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  2. I read both of these awhile ago and really enjoyed them! I remember loving the grandmother in Things We Know by Heart. I haven't read Kirby's last few novels, but hopefully I'll get around to it. Great mini-reviews! Glad you enjoyed them overall!

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  3. These both sound really good. I think I have The Secret History of Us, I'm off to check right now. :) Great reviews!

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  4. My ratings for these two were opposite yours. I liked The Secret History of Us, but I loved Things We Know by Heart. You know I am a sucker for grief books, and then Colton just stole my heart.

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    1. Interesting! Haha, yes, your love for grief books is well-known!

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  5. These are lovely reviews, Angela! I need to check out the Jessi Kirby book!

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  6. I really liked The Secret History Of Us too. I need to read more of her stuff.

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    1. I think I still have one more on my shelf!

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  7. Things We Know By Heart sounds so sad -- it reminded me of Return to Me, but with a YA POV -- and like the movie it sounds lovely.

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  8. The Secret History of Us sounds amazing. I've never read anything by Kirby but I think this one needs to go on my TBR!

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  9. The Secret History of Us has been on my TBR for ages! I've only heard good things about it, and it seems like something I would enjoy. The other book is new to me, but I'm going to add it to my list. :)

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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    1. It was so, so good! I hope you love them both!

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  10. Things We Know by Heart is one that has been on my TBR for a long time. I’m glad you put it back on my radar because it really does sound like one I would enjoy!

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  11. I have yet to read a Jessi Kirby book and I should change that soon! This one sounds like an amazing read. It is definitely going on my TBR. Thanks for sharing these! :)

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  12. Ohh lovely reviews, Angela! I have a couple of Jessi Kirby's books on my TBR and can't wait to get to them, it seems like I need to prioritize The Secret History... it sounds like a hard hitting story, but it sounds so good, too!
    Thank you for sharing! :)

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!