ARC Review: Things We Know by Heart

March 26, 2015 Review 34 ★★★★

ARC Review: Things We Know by Heart
Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 304
Release Date: April 21st 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART was sweet, heartbreaking, and humorous all at the same time. Most of all though, it was uplifting. It made me feel so many different emotions and the takeaway was perfect.

One of my favorite things about this book was the importance placed on familial relationships. I absolutely love when this happens because the focus is usually on a romantic relationship instead. While this book did revolve around a romance (a great one, at that) so much depends on the characters’ connections with their families.

Each and every character is given their own personality and traits, adding depth to the story as a whole. Although a majority of the development goes toward Quinn and Colton, the secondary characters play an important role because they affect the main characters.

While I rooted for the couple in this book and enjoyed their interactions with each other, I did have a small problem with the development of their relationship, or lack thereof. They seem to skip the friendly strangers stage and go right into the love interest stage. This is somewhat understandable because of the plot but going right into the romance was a small issue of mine.

THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART is a solid Young Adult contemporary, it introduces some elements new to the genre and includes others that I love to see in any book. Definitely recommended.

Rating Report
Overall: 4

34 Responses to “ARC Review: Things We Know by Heart”

  1. Andreea

    Sounds like such a great read. I love the sound of this book and I will definitely check it out. Awesome review!


  2. Kirsty-Marie

    Yesss! Been waiting to see what you thought of this (I think we read it at the same time, too.) I loved the family dynamics, especially the relationship she had with her grandmother and sister, and how they pushed her to move forward without being like OI, YOU. MOVE ON. I did think it would be more emotional and heavy, which at times it was but the parts where the small things go to to her and snuck up on her, those were the parts where I almost cried. Almost. For once I didn’t, haha. Totally get you on the romance though, I did root for them and I loved it, and it did feel like it was going to be more of a slow burn and then…the change. :( But still, the feels.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Denton Little’s Deathdate

    • Alise

      Awesome! I have a terrible memory but have you reviewed it yet? Oh my gosh yes, I loved how supportive they were without being pushy or aggressive, it was a really healthy and loving dynamic. Yep, missed that slow burn but ah, well.

  3. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Well, I may not read all that many contemporaries, but something about this one really appeals to me! The synopsis really drew me in and then your review for it sealed the deal. Even though there’s a minor issue with the romantic development, I’d be willing to give this one a go – I’m already curious how Colton and Quinn meet up and when the sparks will fly…and your comments about the importance of family bonds sealed the deal! I’ll be adding this one to my tbr shelf, thanks for bringing it to my attention Alise :) xx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Fairest

    • Alise

      I used to avoid contemporaries but all the original ones coming out are really making me get into the genre! For sure, it didn’t bring the book down too much. I’m so glad, I hope you will enjoy it!

  4. Kezia

    I haven’t touched any books by Jessi Kirby but I admit, this one sounds the most interesting to me! The romance seems a little insta-love-ish but from your review, this whole book sounds like a great one. I’m a huge sucker for humors as well, especially since this is a contemporary and the blurb sounds a bit sad.
    Kezia recently posted…[Review] Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

    • Alise

      This is my first read by her but now I really want to read Golden. It does have that vibe but it isn’t annoying or frustrating so it was alright, you know? It definitely makes you feel a lot of different emotions!

  5. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    Oh, yay! I’m so glad you liked this one. It’s really high on my TBR because I have a review copy :D

    I like books that have a focus on a romance relationship AND other relationships – especially family ones. Because most people have families (lol), so the fact that these relationships aren’t really explored in YA is a bit unbelievable.

    The little bit of instalove is a bit disappointing, but it sounds like this was a really good book overall, and I certainly cannot wait to read it :D
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

    • Alise

      Ooh, nice, I really hope you like it!

      Same for me, I completely agree. It adds another level of depth and realism to the story.

      Yeah, it is. It didn’t bother me too much so I don’t expect it being a huge issue.

    • Alise

      Thank you! The synopsis definitely hooked me as well so I am happy to report the story inside is just as good!

  6. Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

    Lovely review Alise! I love YA romances where this is a focus on the family aspect as well as the couple, so this sounds like something I’d really love. I’ve only read one book of Jessi Kirby’s (Golden) and I really enjoyed that so I’m looking forward to this one. Thanks for sharing :)
    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book recently posted…The Book Cake Tag

    • Alise

      Thanks! It’s one of my favorite things to see in a YA contemporary as well :D Ooh, nice, I shall have to read that one soon!

  7. Faye M.

    Totally agree with your thoughts, Alise! I even thought this was one of the more finer contemporary novels this 2015… I know I am saying this way too early considering I haven’t read that much but this one was just seriously so good and inspiring in so many levels.
    Faye M. recently posted…Review: Duplicity by N.K. Travers

    • Alise

      Aha, yeah, I know what you mean. Their situation kind of excuses the quick romance and wasn’t too much of an issue in the bigger picture, I agree.

  8. Romi

    I know the first thing I say about a book shouldn’t be in regards to the cover, but I’m making a small exception because this is a beautiful cover. The process of hearts to hearts is SO NEAT. Ah. Love it.

    Glad you had a really good time with this, Alise! I’ve really missed seeing the activity on Readers in Wonderland, so seeing a review up is always pleasing, but reading your update post I can completely understand! Here’s hoping you all get some nice reading in during the holidays.
    I’m not sure whether or not I would enjoy this myself, I might look into it a bit more, but the fact the romance wasn’t the sole focus makes me happy. I love when something else takes the forefront of importance- the fact the romance is really fast generally would frustrate me, but maybe it works well with this book. Nice review! Xx
    Romi recently posted…The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente.

    • Alise

      It is pretty clever! Definitely catches your eye.

      Yeah, we have been trying our best but college these days is pretty hectic, so many big projects. Thank you! :)

      I think this book deals with multiple different topics using relationships (of all kinds) as sort of a backbone.

    • Alise

      Yeah, it wasn’t too frustrating in context but I wish it had been just a bit more fleshed out. Thanks!

    • Alise

      This was my first novel by her but now I’m really excited to read her other stuff! It really is, they are so rare in YA. Yay, I’m glad!

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