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Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things

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In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I've Loved Before. Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I've Loved Before. Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming. But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there's Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there's Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive. Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone's heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn't hers.


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In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I've Loved Before. Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I've Loved Before. Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming. But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there's Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there's Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive. Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone's heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn't hers.

30 review for Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest DNF @ p. 25 Reading this book was like the visual equivalent of hearing nails on a chalkboard. It's so saccharine and is trying way too hard. I picked this up because I heard it was supposed to be a Jane Austen retelling, but if Jane Austen is a gourmet wedding cake, this book is a plastic-wrapped Hostess cupcake. Maybe if you like Morgan Matson and Stephanie Perkins, and the legion of other YA books featuring idiotic and ditzy leads whose Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest DNF @ p. 25 Reading this book was like the visual equivalent of hearing nails on a chalkboard. It's so saccharine and is trying way too hard. I picked this up because I heard it was supposed to be a Jane Austen retelling, but if Jane Austen is a gourmet wedding cake, this book is a plastic-wrapped Hostess cupcake. Maybe if you like Morgan Matson and Stephanie Perkins, and the legion of other YA books featuring idiotic and ditzy leads whose manic pixie dreamgirl quirks are supposed to be endearing, you might enjoy this book. I really did try, but I couldn't stand the writing and ended up tossing it aside in disgust. Yuck. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!   1 star

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    "Either Henry had hugged a tree recently or Lucifer endorsed cologne after all." Everyone who knows me knows that there is one thing that will make me dislike a book and that’s for the author to make it seem like cheating is okay. This book made me think that and I almost gave up reading this book a few times but I powered through. That was such a bad idea and a waste of my time. Edie, the female protagonist made out with her best friend's boyfriend, knowing that it was wrong. She also expected "Either Henry had hugged a tree recently or Lucifer endorsed cologne after all." Everyone who knows me knows that there is one thing that will make me dislike a book and that’s for the author to make it seem like cheating is okay. This book made me think that and I almost gave up reading this book a few times but I powered through. That was such a bad idea and a waste of my time. Edie, the female protagonist made out with her best friend's boyfriend, knowing that it was wrong. She also expected her friend to forgive her instantly. This same girl thought it was okay to pine after a guy that she grew up with knowing that he was in a very serious relationship. While using a guy (who she hates) that was into her to make this other jealous, she still used him to get this taken guy. It was pathetic and disgusting. Throughout this book, there was cheating, mentions of cheating, and jealousy cheating. I couldn’t handle all of that. Plus it made me feel that if you have money and do these sorts of things, that it makes it okay. This is definitely not okay in my opinion. This book was definitely not for me. I shouldn’t have wasted my time but I was hoping that Edie would finally get what she deserved. The only reason why I gave this two stars was because the characters within were obsessed with books/reading. How can you say no to that? But that’s the only thing I enjoyed. Yes, we’ve all made mistakes but it was pretty repetitive here. There are a lot more amazing contemporaries out in the world, so don’t bother with this one.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fall-Out-Book-Nerd

    Well that was just... Not for me. I feel like it's my own fault for not reading the synopsis because I don't think I would have picked it up knowing about the completely cliché and just full of over the top cheating, bitchy girls and way too many love triangles. I think the only reason I'm not giving this one star is because I liked some of the songs Edie wrote and think they would actually make great songs.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Hastings

    ‘The whole delightful and astonishing truth’ is this modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is a must read! Edie (Fanny) Price is a foster kid who is spending the last few months of her senior year with her wealthy Aunt Norah and her two daughters. Maria and Julia (the cousins) aren’t necessarily likable but they are relatable and more complex than Austen’s original characters. Edie quotes women’s authors including Edith Wharton for whom she was named (loved that!). Sebastian, the boy ‘The whole delightful and astonishing truth’ is this modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is a must read! Edie (Fanny) Price is a foster kid who is spending the last few months of her senior year with her wealthy Aunt Norah and her two daughters. Maria and Julia (the cousins) aren’t necessarily likable but they are relatable and more complex than Austen’s original characters. Edie quotes women’s authors including Edith Wharton for whom she was named (loved that!). Sebastian, the boy next door, her old friend has a new flame, Claire. Claire and her brother, Henry, are wealthy, gorgeous, and irresistible. Edie sees Henry for the player that he is, but when she needs a friend he’s there. Even if he realizes that Edie is in love with his sister’s boyfriend. Friendship, love, family, lust, and messy relationships prove that this story is timeless (and timely). And the ultimate prize isn’t a boy... but a college dream.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Yna the Mood Reader

    Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Thingsis a (sickeningly)sweet YA contemporary retelling that reminds of TATBILB and a mellowed-down version of Gossip Girl. It is also linked to be a retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, which I do not have a clue about because your girl has not read any classics at all. Anyway, for a quick warning about the story, you must be prepared to deal with a love traingle, and rich teenagers managing their rich people problems and one little outsider in the Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things is a (sickeningly) sweet YA contemporary retelling that reminds of TATBILB and a mellowed-down version of Gossip Girl. It is also linked to be a retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, which I do not have a clue about because your girl has not read any classics at all. Anyway, for a quick warning about the story, you must be prepared to deal with a love traingle, and rich teenagers managing their rich people problems and one little outsider in the community a la Dan Humphrey. I, for one, have no qualms about love triangles, and I do love myself a little push and pull. I was in the mood for a cheesy cliche romance and this is what I got with this read. But though I liked most of the book, I hated the choice made by the main character, Edie. The final pick for the love triangle is not a choice that I would absolutely go for, and that choice frustrated me a lot. Well, if I were given the chance between Henry, the playboy, and Sebastian, the boy next door, I absolutely know who would I go for. But the story is not about me, oops. I love both of these male leads, though. If you are after cute conversations, swoon-worthy quotes, and clever banter, both of these young men could deliver. Looking at the main character, Edie, though, she wasn't really my favorite. I did not really feel a connection with her and I actually just feel 'meh' about her and the decisions she has made. Her cousins and the other characters are borderline ridiculous, but those antics made quite a story to tell. I have to admit I loved reading about all of their girlish drama. All in all, I'm thankful for the presence of Henry because I absolutely adore his character. I know I would love the scene as long as he was there! Anyhow, this book was still a great one for a quick read and I am looking forward to the next books by this author. 🌼 Blurb:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐☆☆ 🌼 Significant Other 1: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 🌼 Significant Other 2: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆ 🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐☆☆ 🌼 Romance: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆  🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐☆☆☆ 🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ☁ FINAL VERDICT: 3.58/5 ☁ ⭐⭐⭐🌠

  6. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. EPIC FAIL I absolutely LOATHED the main character Edie. She was selfish and snotty, and I didn’t like the way she used everyone around her. She knew that Sebastian had a girlfriend but was still obsessed with him. Like seriously. Her crush was mentioned every few pages. She needed to halt, stop, take a chill pill, a cold shower, whatever. He was OFF LIMITS. I couldn’t stand the way she rationalized things in her mind, like, “oh, it’s okay because we’re just friends.” She did not treat him like a EPIC FAIL I absolutely LOATHED the main character Edie. She was selfish and snotty, and I didn’t like the way she used everyone around her. She knew that Sebastian had a girlfriend but was still obsessed with him. Like seriously. Her crush was mentioned every few pages. She needed to halt, stop, take a chill pill, a cold shower, whatever. He was OFF LIMITS. I couldn’t stand the way she rationalized things in her mind, like, “oh, it’s okay because we’re just friends.” She did not treat him like a friend. She basically threw herself at him. Constantly. Examples - a clandestine wrestling match in his basement where she wore only a bikini, they climbed a tree and reminisced about when they were kids, she hung out in his bedroom with him, etc. Then she made herself out to be the victim when Claire (Sebastian’s girlfriend) didn’t like her. But wait! There’s more! Then Edie decided to fake date Henry to make Sebastian jealous. For some reason (wasn’t really clear to me) she hated Henry at first. He was funny, she was comfortable with him, they had fun together, he bought her expensive jewelry. Basically he treated her like a queen and she treated him like trash. The worst part happened when she started dating Henry for real. She literally had sex with him and dumped him the next day after Henry revealed that Sebastian and Claire broke up and he was now available. I could have reached into the book and slapped her. Oh, and in case she wasn’t horrible enough, prior to the action of the story, she kissed her best friend’s boyfriend because she wanted to know what kissing him would be like or something (she had some weird justification for why she did it) and then couldn’t understand why her best friend wouldn’t forgive her! Basically, she was horrible. Okay, now for my other gripes. Sebastian. Ugh. What was her hangup with this guy???? He kissed her when they were 10, she didn’t see him or keep in touch with him for 7 years, but was head over heels in love with him as soon as she saw him! He was flat, dull and SPINELESS. He couldn’t stand up to his parents about not wanting to go to law school, he didn’t tell Claire that he wanted to be a writer because she didn’t think that was an impressive enough career, and he even let his mother decorate his room because he couldn’t tell her that he didn’t like the theme she picked out for him! He was a total wuss. What did she see in that loser??? He was also barely in the story and she had very few interactions with him. She spent tons of time with Henry but didn’t hesitate to break his heart and dump him the second she heard Sleazy Sebastian was available. The other girls in the story were “mean girls” and I don’t think you were supposed to like them. But guess what??? I liked Maria, Julia and Claire a HECK of a lot more than Edie. Edie was all, “hm, why doesn’t Claire like me?” You threw yourself at her boyfriend!! Why would she like you???? I think the book tried to make Claire snotty so you could understand why Sebastian would want Edie but guess what? Cheating is NOT OKAY, regardless of whether or not the other person is snotty! Sebastian could have dumped Claire at any time but he didn’t. Cheating is still cheating - I don’t care what the personality of the girlfriend is! He was spineless for not dumping her if he wasn’t happy in the relationship. Also, that random fight at the end with cleaning products was completely bizarre and dangerous. The best friend dumped an entire container of glass cleaner over Edie’s head. That could have seriously hurt her! It was really weird and didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the story. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book at all. It was a relatively fast read and was well written, but I did NOT enjoy the way the main character justified cheating.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sana

    Another Jane Austen retelling that I'd like to read because it sounds so good? Unprecedented pt. 2

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I wanted to love this book so badly. It sounded like the exact kind of cute contemporary that would have me shouting from the rooftops for everyone to pick this up. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. My main issue with this book were the characters. There was not a single female character worth rooting for. They were all so catty and mean and had zero concept of what a relationship/commitment was. The moment someone would look at their man they'd turn into a cast member of Mean Girls but god I wanted to love this book so badly. It sounded like the exact kind of cute contemporary that would have me shouting from the rooftops for everyone to pick this up. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. My main issue with this book were the characters. There was not a single female character worth rooting for. They were all so catty and mean and had zero concept of what a relationship/commitment was. The moment someone would look at their man they'd turn into a cast member of Mean Girls but god forbid they knew how to be faithful in their own relationship or not drag some poor soul along. Think Anna & the French Kiss but kick that up a few notches. Contemporaries are generally very character driven, so when it's hard to like anyone, it's pretty difficult to enjoy the novel as a whole. The only things I really enjoyed was the writing and the lexicon entries. I thought both of those things were super creative and the creativity that shone through with some of the jokes/disses kept me reading. Yes, I couldn't stand the female characters, but I won't deny some of the crappy things they said were creative. I sure as hell wouldn't be able to be that clever when I'm upset about something. Overall, this book was just of all over the place for me. I wanted to love it, I really did. But I just couldn't get past how much I disliked every single female character is a character-driven book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I think this is more of a 3.5 out of 5. Goodreads it is 2020, please let us have half stars. ANYWAY This was a very solid debut and I’d love to read more from Firkins. ** I received an arc of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ** It is hard to do a love triangle that is a) believable b) interesting and c) hard to have a "winner" Personally, I didn't love this one. Maybe it's because I really believed in the couple that I felt like they were meant to be. I did love the writing and I think this is more of a 3.5 out of 5. Goodreads it is 2020, please let us have half stars. ANYWAY This was a very solid debut and I’d love to read more from Firkins. ** I received an arc of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ** It is hard to do a love triangle that is a) believable b) interesting and c) hard to have a "winner" Personally, I didn't love this one. Maybe it's because I really believed in the couple that I felt like they were meant to be. I did love the writing and the humor in this was great. Also, SWOON. It was adorable. I'd love to see Jacqueline Firkins write a hard hitting contemporary with no love triangle because I think it would be amazing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice There’s nothing better than love-hating a book to the point of shouting it to the skies, which was my exact reaction to this book. Did I absolutely fall in love with it? YES. Did I also hate the way that it ended? ABSOLUTELY, and I would read it all over again just to experience the agony of the ending, with the hope that it might be a little different each time. Like any good romantic comedy, it’s fun, dramatic, and full of Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice There’s nothing better than love-hating a book to the point of shouting it to the skies, which was my exact reaction to this book. Did I absolutely fall in love with it? YES. Did I also hate the way that it ended? ABSOLUTELY, and I would read it all over again just to experience the agony of the ending, with the hope that it might be a little different each time. Like any good romantic comedy, it’s fun, dramatic, and full of cheesy moments that will melt your heart. If that’s not enough, it’s also a retelling of a Jane Austen novel, which I feel will make a perfect holiday season read. Our story begins in Mansfield, Massachusetts, where Edie Price has come to live with her aunt and uncle the summer before college. It’s the last place she’d want to be, considering she’s still grieving the loss of her mother. The town is also crawling with wealthy elites like Edie’s cousins, who are doing everything in their power to distract her from her grief with makeovers and cute boys. However, boys aren’t included in Edie’s plans. As she’s diving head first into scholarship applications two Mansfield boys are vying for her attention. There’s Sebastian, her best friend and first love who wears his heart on his sleeve, but also has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, a local heartbreaker who’s technically off limits, despite his addictive kisses. Someone’s heart is going to break during this process, and Edie has to make sure it isn’t hers. I think the reason I loved this story so much was because of the fact that despite it being a clear retelling of Mansfield Park, there’s a lot more going on in there. Despite Edie not wanting to move with her aunt and uncle, the distance is giving her a reprieve from something that she did wrong. I can’t spoil anything, but this was another thing that I enjoyed about the story. I didn’t immediately sympathise with Edie. As the story progressed, I grew quite fond of her and her conundrums, especially the ones that involved her cousins. Her cousins were definitely characters that I felt became a little more complex in this retelling. Their antics are definitely ridiculous, but at the same time, you almost feel sorry for them because of who’s raised them. This story manages to convey how Edie is handling being isolated, ostracised socially, grieving, and the expectations of others using equal measures of humour and drama. I adored that Edie isn’t the only one experiencing growth. Sebastian is also going through his own turmoil, due to performing to parental expectations and denying your own self expression. Henry is my favourite character, if I’m being honest. He’s got all the charm you’d expect of a playboy, with some sleazy actions to back that up but with a secret heart of gold. I think I liked seeing him grow the most. If there was one character who I would have loved to see grow a little more, it would have been Edie’s best friend. She comes off as a very flat character for most of the novel, told mostly through our leading lady’s perspective. Even when you’re wanting to stay away from boys, who could possibly resist when you’ve got Sebastian and Henry on the case. I honestly wasn’t sure who I wanted Edie to be with more (that’s a blatant lie I’m telling here). I think readers will have this same dilemma and I’m still pretty sore about it. I can’t get into it much without spoiling it for everyone, so I encourage you to pick this up. I need someone to yell about this story with. The romance were definitely the cheesiest parts of the story to be sure, in the way that kids cover their eyes when they see grown ups kissing but still peek through their fingers kind of way. Let’s be honest though, the story is certainly not complete without some antagonists making the road a little bumpy for Edie. While this story does have a main antagonist, it can be argued that there are several smaller antagonists that Edie also struggles with. I had a lot of feelings about the main antagonist because I felt some sympathy for her. In some way, Edie served as a catalyst for the insecurities that she was feeling. It ramped up everything a little more in my opinion. It’s interesting, because while the antagonist was definitely in the wrong for some of her actions, Firkin was able to unveil how often people can mask their insecurities as confidence and it doesn’t take much to bring that all crumbling down. When I looked at the novel as a whole, I really did want to see more of the best friend. The story moves along so well, with creative definitions to words that Edie sends her bestie but I really wanted to see something more meaningful established. I can’t complain about the ending, but I can definitely tell you it was not how I wanted to end. A girl can certainly dream though. I’d rate this story a 9/10. It’s a hilarious story that’s perfect for the upcoming holiday season, when you just want to stay in and read that fun, feel-good romantic story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things is a young adult contemporary romance by Jacqueline Firkins. This book was so stinking cute. I absolutely loved it! it is a retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I have read almost all of Austen’s books, but Mansfield Park is one that has escaped my attention. Regardless of the fact that I have yet to read it, I was very much able to enjoy Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things, and in fact it made me want to pick up Mansfield Park to see if Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things is a young adult contemporary romance by Jacqueline Firkins. This book was so stinking cute. I absolutely loved it! it is a retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I have read almost all of Austen’s books, but Mansfield Park is one that has escaped my attention. Regardless of the fact that I have yet to read it, I was very much able to enjoy Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things, and in fact it made me want to pick up Mansfield Park to see if I enjoyed it as much as this retelling. Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things is perfect when you are looking for a fun, cheesy and sometimes angst-y young adult romantic comedy. (hint- I am almost always looking for something like this. It is a classic combo for me) In Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things, we meet our main character Edie, who goes to live with her aunt following the death of her mother. Edie is an interesting character. Though I almost immediately felt for her because of her situation, she didn’t immediately win me over. However; as the story progressed I grew to understand her better and like her more. Edie is focused when she gets to her aunt’s and will not allow the distraction of boys. Of course, this is where we enter all the adorable boys of Mansfield, planted just to try and make Edie lose sight of her scholarship aspirations. But also to provide a bit of much needed fun. There is a bit of a love triangle in this book, so be aware of that going in, but I loved that there was a lot of emotional depth explored in Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things. Henry and Sebastian (our main love interests) are both great, and though I had a clear winner on who I was rooting for, I can easily see a case for both guys. I think readers may be split on who they ship with Edie. Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things was funny, sweet, and vastly entertaining. I really enjoyed this book. I think it would be perfect to read this holiday season when you are looking for an adorable romance.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Lawford

    I’m quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I only read it because of my bookclub, otherwise I’d have never picked it up. This is a retelling of Mansfield Park..I actually had to be told that is a Jane Austen novel...that should tell you how little interest I had in reading this. Let’s be real, I only voted to read this book this month because it was the least worst of the available selections. I loved this book from the first page. The Cinderella trope will get me every time. I love me a I’m quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I only read it because of my bookclub, otherwise I’d have never picked it up. This is a retelling of Mansfield Park..I actually had to be told that is a Jane Austen novel...that should tell you how little interest I had in reading this. Let’s be real, I only voted to read this book this month because it was the least worst of the available selections. I loved this book from the first page. The Cinderella trope will get me every time. I love me a disadvantaged girl who thrust into high society and navigates female treachery and male seduction. I would have disliked this heaps more if it was just a modern contemporary romance because I wouldn’t be able to excuse the overdone tropes. But instead I loved the classic themes that came through. Again, I’m totally surprised because I really dislike classic books, movies, and anything historical! The reason I docked a star is that I found the choices Eddie made at times to be despicable. I really didn’t like how she justified her poor choices. I just can’t get 100% behind a book that I feel is excusing bad behaviour. Overall a surprising good read, an enjoyable audiobook experience and one I’m interested to discuss the details at my next bookclub. 4.5 stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    MMill

    Edie Price has been rescued from foster care by her wealthy aunt and uncle who care more about looking like do-gooders than they do about her. She moves in with them for the end of her senior year, right next door to her childhood best friend and first crush, Sebastian. Unfortunately, he's got a girlfriend. Despite the fact that Edie can't stop thinking about him, she's absolutely not going to come between him and Claire. She distracts herself with Claire's brother, Henry, who leaves a trail of Edie Price has been rescued from foster care by her wealthy aunt and uncle who care more about looking like do-gooders than they do about her. She moves in with them for the end of her senior year, right next door to her childhood best friend and first crush, Sebastian. Unfortunately, he's got a girlfriend. Despite the fact that Edie can't stop thinking about him, she's absolutely not going to come between him and Claire. She distracts herself with Claire's brother, Henry, who leaves a trail of broken hearts in his wake (including the hearts of Edie's 2 cousins, Maria and Julia) and is way too charming to be taken seriously...and yet despite herself, Edie finds herself falling for him. Can she move on for real to a guy she's not sure she can trust, or will her heart keep her tied to a guy she's not sure she can have? Full disclosure: I have never read Mansfield Park. This is a modern retelling, which meant nothing to me aside from the fact that I knew MP was widely considered to be Jane Austen's least popular book. And after reading this version, I can totally see why. Edie is a very wishy-washy character. She's kind of blah and doesn't really change through the course of the book. You want her to have learned lessons and grown up a little, and she mostly doesn't. To this author's credit, though, she DOES try to have Edie mature in the way she handles friendships and her plans for college...she worked with what she had, while still trying to stay true to Austen's original plot. Sebastian is also kind of meh. He's mostly spineless, letting his family and his girlfriend make decisions for him. Edie's memories of him as a child with a great imagination are far more interesting than present-day Sebastian. He wears lots of wrinkled linen and secretly wants more from his life than the future as an attorney that's been mapped out for him, but he's just kind of sitting there, waiting for it all to change. LAME. But again, I will say that Firkins tried to give him a little bit of a personality when she could. She tried, but I still found Sebastian to be seriously lacking. Now Henry. OHHHH HENRY. Henry is who this book is about. He's charming, he's swoony, and he's got a wicked sense of humor. He's definitely flawed, used to charming people into doing his bidding and using his wealth to get what he wants. But man, he is HOT. The countdown of 10 seconds as he and Edie are leaning against the house? HOLY CRAP. Nothing actually happens, but WOW so very hot. I don't think I'd be wrong in thinking that this author also prefers Henry to Sebastian (and maybe Jane Austen did, too), as he is so much more interesting and fully-formed as a character. Team Henry all the way. BOO to Jane Austen for doing with this story and these characters what she did, because it absolutely did not go the way I wanted it to. HOWEVER. I can't blame Jacqueline Firkins for Austen's bad plot choices. So, I will say that despite knowing nothing about this story going in and kind of being pissed off throughout because I knew it wasn't going to end the way I would have chosen, I still super enjoyed it. The banter was great (I especially loved the exchange of "man walks into a bar" jokes), and even the obnoxious characters were well-written. I didn't think I was going to get sucked into this book because so many of the characters are unlikeable (damn it, Jane), but it's a testament to this author that I absolutely did. So, to sum up: well done, Jacqueline Firkins! I'll definitely check out future books by this author. PS...Henry was robbed. ***Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for the great ARC in exchange for my honest review!***

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    Looks like I’m going to have an unpopular opinion here, but I wasn’t a big fan of this book. First off, there are a lot of female characters in this book, and none of them are terribly likable. Edie, the main, is really hard to get behind. She supposedly has this “unbreakable” string of attachment to Sebastian, but let’s be real here. She hasn’t seen him in YEARS. They haven’t kept in touch, and their last interaction was as children. But the first time she sees him, she’s irreversibly attached Looks like I’m going to have an unpopular opinion here, but I wasn’t a big fan of this book. First off, there are a lot of female characters in this book, and none of them are terribly likable. Edie, the main, is really hard to get behind. She supposedly has this “unbreakable” string of attachment to Sebastian, but let’s be real here. She hasn’t seen him in YEARS. They haven’t kept in touch, and their last interaction was as children. But the first time she sees him, she’s irreversibly attached to the point where it dictates all her actions moving forward. It’s too much like instalove; there’s no real build up. And honestly, Edie and Sebastian share very few moments in the book over the course of the few months it takes place in. Most of their time is spent ignoring the other for various reasons. The other girls are written as tropes of catty, super beautiful, self-absorbed and shallow popular girls, stooping to major lows when someone starts scoping out their man. No surprises here, no real redeeming characteristics. None of them were likable, and I didn’t want to root for anyone. Edie included. We’re supposed to feel sorry for her as the poor, picked on, charity case, but she’s not particularly nice either. Even when knowing better, she puts herself in questionable situations, and by the end it’s clear she’s leading two different guys on. Her justifications are sad, or just plain selfish. When Henry asks her if she can’t be with him because if the “other” guy, she’s says no, and that in “that moment it was true”. Just that moment? But an hour from now it may be? Sorry honey, that makes you a liar. Henry can’t ask every moment whether it is or isn’t your reason. By the end, Edie has supposedly learned her lesson, and has changed for the better, but by then, I was too irritated with her to care. Too little too late. And then the icing on the cake; the very last line she says, once she’s about to start her freshman year of college, that she doesn’t have time for boys because she was focusing on her education. So what was the entire point of the book then?! All that drama, and now she’s “over it”. Well, so am I. The only thing I really found myself enjoying was the lexicon entries. They were clever, and I liked them a lot. I’ve seen this book compared to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but it’s a flawed comparison. It lacks the same charm, the same humor, and mostly, the same heart as that amazing book. I received an advanced copy from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nina-Tala (JustAddAWord)

    It’s good, it’s cheesy, and it’s good BECAUSE it’s cheesy, but honestly, rating-wise, it’s tricky to gauge just how good this was. It’s addicting, for sure. Edie is a fine lead - she’s easy to understand, and while some of her decisions are questionable, she’s realistically messy and that, I think, is the exact point that HEARTS, STRINGS, AND OTHER BREAKABLE THINGS is trying to bring across. Did it succeed? Yep. I get it. I get its message. We’re good on that front. On the plus side, this is It’s good, it’s cheesy, and it’s good BECAUSE it’s cheesy, but honestly, rating-wise, it’s tricky to gauge just how good this was. It’s addicting, for sure. Edie is a fine lead - she’s easy to understand, and while some of her decisions are questionable, she’s realistically messy and that, I think, is the exact point that HEARTS, STRINGS, AND OTHER BREAKABLE THINGS is trying to bring across. Did it succeed? Yep. I get it. I get its message. We’re good on that front. On the plus side, this is addicting and totally readable (I, a slow reader, finished 90% in one sitting and would’ve read the whole thing then and there if I didn’t have to sleep), and it can join the ranks of books like Morgan Matson’s SAVE THE DATE that are meant to be adapted to the screen because it felt humorously cinematic, with a fully-fleshed-out cast of characters that are dying to be fan-cast. Dare I say it would make a better movie than book? Given that my primary issue is the writing style but not the concept, I’d say Aye. So why dock two stars off the rating? Partly it’s a subjectivity thing - the writing style and I didn’t fully click because there were lots of weird references and weirder similes sprinkled every now and then that tried just a touch too hard to sound like Teen Speak; and the other part is the repetitive rhythm that sapped the pacing’s speed toward the middle where the plot loses a tad bit of steam and waffles for a while before it rights itself and sticks the landing. And the ending? Let’s talk about the ending. I like it. It’s jarring and sorta non-traditional while also being just familiar enough not to stray too far from its trope. It’s satisfying, and that’s not something you can say often. Thanks to HMH Teen for sending me an ARC for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura Namey

    I came for Jane Austen, but stayed for Jacquline Firkins and her beautiful Mansfield Park retelling. Witty dialogue, lovely prose, well drawn characters and plenty of swoon worthy moments make this a winner on my shelf, and this talented debut author a must-buy from now on. Well done!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay (pawsomereads)

    A Jane Austen retelling?? Perfect for fans of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before?? Say no more, I’m hooked

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carrie (The Butterfly Reader)

    I won't rate this book because I DNFed it at around 130 pages BUT I do have thoughts on what I read. So before I tear into this book, I want to say that if you loved this book, good for you. You might not want to read this review because I HATED it. I don't often have such strong emotions towards a book but this one just ruffled my feathers. Now onto my thoughts. Every single person in this book is a Grade A piece of shit. Edie wanted to kiss her best friend's boyfriend because she wanted to be I won't rate this book because I DNFed it at around 130 pages BUT I do have thoughts on what I read. So before I tear into this book, I want to say that if you loved this book, good for you. You might not want to read this review because I HATED it. I don't often have such strong emotions towards a book but this one just ruffled my feathers. Now onto my thoughts. Every single person in this book is a Grade A piece of shit. Edie wanted to kiss her best friend's boyfriend because she wanted to be wanted. So she let him kiss her and then is sad when her best friend is mad at her. Like WTF?! Why on earth would you kiss your best friend's guy? This is the character we follow in the book, the one we should be rooting for but I just wanted to rip her hair out and smack her in the face for being such a selfish bitch. Not only does she kiss her best friend's guy but she's also after a guy who has a girlfriend. She even almost kisses him once knowing he has a girlfriend. Bitch. I don't even care if he's not happy with the girlfriend, he's taken! Respect boundaries you selfish chick! Now onto the guy who has a girlfriend. He flirts with Edie even though he has a girlfriend! What a freaking asshole! I mean at this point the two deserve each other in the land of horrible cheaters. Then there's the cousin to the main girl, she cheats on her boyfriend whom she claims to love all because the other guy is such a great kisser. Also, the guy she kisses knows she's got a boyfriend and doesn't give a rat's ass! I'm a character-driven reader, I have to like the characters to want to read the story but I honestly hated each one we ran across. I hope none of them find happiness and then they can be shipped off to cheater hell where everyone is single so they will suffer forever. I know that morally grey characters are totally in right now but I don't like that trend. Sorry. I like a character I can root for not one that just pisses me off. Cheating is one of my hard limits when it comes to reading and so, of course, this book wouldn't sit well with me. The writing is great and I loved that this book wasn't clean. There was mention of sex just like real teenagers would talk about and that was something I really loved. I also enjoyed that we got to see the 'rich' people. I love those kinds of books where we take the 'poor' character and throw them into a world that they never even dreamed of. So if you like those kinds of things and don't mind cheating characters, then you might still like this one. As for me... I'm selling it to HPB. If I had a fireplace I would've burned in my fit of rage but I can be a bit dramatic.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kali Cole

    3.5 stars, Although this story was filled with romantic quirks and well developed characters. I really disliked how Edie’s thoughts were kind of manipulative without her really being aware of them. I kind of connected to this love triangle thing on a deep level in terms of my previous ex and how our relationship felt like Edie’s and Henry’s and how trusting your partner and being confused in a relationship is normal and you should end it before it progresses. This book would definitely have 3.5 stars, Although this story was filled with romantic quirks and well developed characters. I really disliked how Edie’s thoughts were kind of manipulative without her really being aware of them. I kind of connected to this love triangle thing on a deep level in terms of my previous ex and how our relationship felt like Edie’s and Henry’s and how trusting your partner and being confused in a relationship is normal and you should end it before it progresses. This book would definitely have helped me realize certain things before it was too late. I think this book is a really beautiful read and will teach the readers something valuable. I am very thankful I was able to read this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janye

    I have been a book of the month member since last September and I must admit this is the first book I have actually finished from them. It's sad, I know. I really enjoyed Edie's character in this YA/New Adult book. She clearly has some inner conflicts with herself. Watching her find out who she is, and wants to be, was such a validating thing. Obviously boys had a heavy influence in the novel, but I feel the underlying message of accepting yourself was also pretty clear.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Joke time. So, a girl walks into a bar ... which hurt because she had her nose stuck in this book and couldn't see where she was going. I know what you're thinking and I disagree with you. Because I'm hilarious and delighted with this book. Full review and blog tour stop at Write, Read, Repeat. I realize I sound like a broken record in saying this, but contemporary YA romances are a hard sell for me. I rarely relate, get irritated by how irritating the main characters tend to be, and the Joke time. So, a girl walks into a bar ... which hurt because she had her nose stuck in this book and couldn't see where she was going. I know what you're thinking and I disagree with you. Because I'm hilarious and delighted with this book. Full review and blog tour stop at Write, Read, Repeat. I realize I sound like a broken record in saying this, but contemporary YA romances are a hard sell for me. I rarely relate, get irritated by how irritating the main characters tend to be, and the predictability has me bored by the fourth chapter. Needless to say I feel like I take my own life in my hands whenever I risk cracking one open. I love being proven wrong and shown there are literal gems in this genre. It was a slow start to get into, but soon I was barely able to put this down. This is a modern retelling of Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park, which is what piqued my interest in this book in the first place. I read Mansfield too many years ago to remember what happened, so I can't accurately speak to how loose of a retelling this is plot-wise. However, after a quick Google, I can immediately pick out the comparisons. The town where the story takes place is, obviously, Mansfield. The main character is Edie Price, not Fanny, but she is sent to live with her wealthy aunt and uncle. There are also a few plot lines as well that seem to line up quite similarly. Edie was a great character. She was surprisingly easy to love and never annoying or ridiculous in the dilemmas she has to deal with. The book starts with her basically coming into a brand-spanking new life. She is still grieving for her mother and she's left a foster situation to move to a highly swanky posh town. New school, only her cousins and their friends, feeling inadequate and uncomfortable in most settings they relish in. Her childhood crush is with someone else while someone else is pursuing her in a way she wishes they wouldn't. Honestly, everything of her journey in this book was so relatable. Who hasn't had those awkward, blush-inducing moments with their crush? I got a little irritated with her obsession with the classics because of course she does, but then admonished myself hard when I remembered half the books I read in high school were by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. Can't quote them off the top of my head, but I devoured them just the same. Please be aware that there is a love triangle in this book. In fact, it features quite heavily. As a rule, I do not care for love triangles. I find them pointless and stress-inducing. Not the case here. This was done amazingly well. Edie was given the chance to grow and explore either side of her relationships without some puffed up jealous dude barging in and forcing her to make stupid decisions out of fear or love. I'm also very stoked that Firkins ensured that the concept of consent and protection was understood. There is a lot of sex-positivity and I could not love that more. What lost the star for me was the ending, and this is just a personal opinion. Without giving anything away, I basically fell in love with the wrong dude and I think Edie chose wrong. And given who she did not pick, I'm surprised I fell for him as I did because in theory he should be absolutely the wrong kind of guy for me. I also struggled a little with the age gaps between some characters. Some may consider it a silly thing to be bothered by, but it felt super odd when Edie's cousin hasn't even graduated high school yet but she's engaged to someone who is finishing Harvard. e-ARC provided by HMH Books and FFBC

  22. 5 out of 5

    Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)

    This book was exactly what I needed right now. I have been reading emotionally charged novels lately and needed something on the lighter side. This is a retelling of Mansfield Park. After spending three years in foster care after the death of her mother, Edie is moving in with her uncle, aunt, and two cousins. She knows that this is only temporary until she graduates high school and heads out to college in the fall. Soon after moving in, she rekindles her friendship with Sebastian, the cute This book was exactly what I needed right now. I have been reading emotionally charged novels lately and needed something on the lighter side. This is a retelling of Mansfield Park. After spending three years in foster care after the death of her mother, Edie is moving in with her uncle, aunt, and two cousins. She knows that this is only temporary until she graduates high school and heads out to college in the fall. Soon after moving in, she rekindles her friendship with Sebastian, the cute next-door neighbour and she discovers that she has strong feelings for him. Sebastian is dating Claire and their relationship is pretty serious. Edie tries her best to stay away but he is like a magnet and she keeps wanting to see him until she meets Henry, Claire’s brother. For a while, she stays away from Henry because she thinks he is a player, but he proves her wrong. Edie is caught between her love for Sebastian and Henry. Who will she choose? The story is light and fun. There are the usual teenage drama and all the ups and downs of teenage love. This is a fantastic novel. 🙋🏼‍♀️ Thank you RainCoast Books for sending me an ARC of this lovely novel. Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins will be available at your favourite bookstore on December 17th. #poodles #poodlestagram #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram #dogsandbooks #bookishlife #bookishlove #bookstagrammer #book #books #booklover #bookish #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #bookreviewer #bookcommunity #bibliophile #bookphotography #heartsstringsandotherbreakablethings #jacquelinefirkins #bookreview

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alyson Grauer

    Jacqueline Firkins’ sweet, awkward, brilliant heroine Edie is a painfully real reminder of my own uncertain teenage years and even those early college times where Things Are Just Complicated and nobody tells anybody a straight answer. Meanwhile the world charges on, demanding that you keep up even if you haven’t effectively figured out the rules of play yet. “Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things” is a retelling of Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park” set in modern day Massachusetts and filled Jacqueline Firkins’ sweet, awkward, brilliant heroine Edie is a painfully real reminder of my own uncertain teenage years and even those early college times where Things Are Just Complicated and nobody tells anybody a straight answer. Meanwhile the world charges on, demanding that you keep up even if you haven’t effectively figured out the rules of play yet. “Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things” is a retelling of Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park” set in modern day Massachusetts and filled with the milestones of young love, social upheaval, familial strife and loss. Firkins brilliantly crafts her own tale with echoes of the original throughout. The bitchy girl talk had me gritting my teeth, the uncertain feelings of nostalgic love for the boy next door had me squeaking aloud for these cinnamon rolls, and the complexity of the bad boy entering the game had me either holding my breath or audibly exhaling loudly (depending on the scene, HOO BOY). I absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait to read more from Firkins. I adore Firkins’ voice and intelligence and deeply real, flawed, multifaceted characters. No one is what they first seem to be, and that’s a lovely reminder to be sure.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cassie O. | Lost In Tomes

    DNF @ Chapter 10 / 25% This reads like it's written by someone whose only knowledge of what it's like to be in high school comes from watching bad teen movies. Cliche, in the worst kind of way. I can't get behind any of the love interests or our MC. There's no chemistry. It all just feels so... fake. None of our characters have any redeeming qualities and are riddled with "rich kid" stereotypes. It was hard to like anyone. Our cast didn't "mesh" well together, which is strange because they also DNF @ Chapter 10 / 25% This reads like it's written by someone whose only knowledge of what it's like to be in high school comes from watching bad teen movies. Cliche, in the worst kind of way. I can't get behind any of the love interests or our MC. There's no chemistry. It all just feels so... fake. None of our characters have any redeeming qualities and are riddled with "rich kid" stereotypes. It was hard to like anyone. Our cast didn't "mesh" well together, which is strange because they also all felt hard to differentiate? It was weird. There didn't seem to be any kind of real plot. And it felt at times like this was trying to justify cheating? I didn't make it to the end but it definitely seemed to be going in that direction already. All in all. Just really not for me and not something I can see myself recommending in the future. Content Notes (at least as seen up to Chapter 10): - Strong Language - Substance Use: drinking - Sexual Content: kissing - Triggers: Cheating

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was a delightfully light and romantic read! It’s loosely based on Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park. A lot is modernized obviously, including a few bits I wish hadn’t been, but I appreciated the addition of a sort of slow burn family relationship. It was sweet and genuine and heart-warming. Some of the changes from the original story involved the romance, and those - to me - were the most clunky and disappointing. I think the end was rushed into trying to get the right people together, This was a delightfully light and romantic read! It’s loosely based on Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park. A lot is modernized obviously, including a few bits I wish hadn’t been, but I appreciated the addition of a sort of slow burn family relationship. It was sweet and genuine and heart-warming. Some of the changes from the original story involved the romance, and those - to me - were the most clunky and disappointing. I think the end was rushed into trying to get the right people together, which made me wonder if they should be... Overall, this was a fun contemporary retelling with lots of heart and family!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Many thanks to HMH for sending me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review This book was basically like a sponge cake. All the fun and fluff and sweetness, but no real substance. Objectively I would consider it to be pretty average, not exceptionally great but not bad either, but in terms of enjoyment, this was super cute and so enjoyable! It's no secret that I love retellings, so when I saw this retelling of Jane Austen'sMansfield Park,one of her books that I've actually read, I knew that I Many thanks to HMH for sending me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review This book was basically like a sponge cake. All the fun and fluff and sweetness, but no real substance. Objectively I would consider it to be pretty average, not exceptionally great but not bad either, but in terms of enjoyment, this was super cute and so enjoyable! It's no secret that I love retellings, so when I saw this retelling of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, one of her books that I've actually read, I knew that I had to get my hands on it!  I think Mansfield Park is considered by many to be Jane Austen's worst work, and there are certainly a few things that weren't my favorite that found their way into this retelling. I kind of wish a few of these things had been changed for a looser retelling, but it unfortunately stuck pretty close--in fact, this entire book stuck to the original story very closely (albeit changing Fanny's love interest/cousin to the boy next door which is great because yay 2019 we don't love incest). On the other hand, there were parts of the original book that I loved, including the fun romantic story, and the crazy whirlwind that comes with the Crawfords! I loved seeing the old timey story adapted to a modern setting, with parties and prom instead of those old balls, talk of pretty dresses in modern fashion adapted from amazing Victorian dresses, and just Edie's adaptation to her new life with her cousins. I've read tons of fairy tale retellings but not so many of classics, so I really loved getting this unique retelling! And don't worry if you haven't actually read Mansfield Park--you can still enjoy this story without it (and frankly, I would recommend just looking up a Wikipedia summary of the original if you're not down to read it but still want to see how the retelling mirrors the original--I've definitely done that before). Fanny can be a bit uptight in the original, but Edie was definitely looser and more fun here! She was a cute romantic, dreaming out romantic schemes in her mind. I also liked how focused she was on future and planning for college--this is set in her last semester of high school, and she's definitely taking charge of her education, worrying about getting a job to pay for college and being adamant that smart girls should be just as "attractive" as pretty girls--we're worth more than our looks! I very much appreciated this as a Ravenclaw myself haha. She's also rather bookish, and collects quotes, so fellow book lovers will love her! This book is full of quotes, many traded back and forth between her and Sebastian, the boy next door, both bookish quotes and just other quotes about life, and I loved reading those! One thing that I was a little annoyed by was the fact that Edie always talks about how smart she is, and it's even revealed that she got into Yale, but aside from knowing random quotes, I feel like I never actually get to see her being studious. Obviously it's a contemporary romance so that's the main focus, but there are almost no scenes at school, and I don't think there are any scenes of her actually studying, so although I appreciated how she championed for girls being worth more than our looks, it felt a bit like telling rather than showing, a bit like the author was trying to beat us over the head with the idea rather than integrating it into the story. But the book isn't mainly about that, it's about the romance, so let's talk about that! I normally don't like love triangles, but this book was compared to To All The Boys I've Loved Before, which is one of my all time favorites and has a love triangle, so of course I wanted to read it!! Since I know many of you guys love TATBILB too, I'll let you know that the comparison to the romance was perfectly valid and I found myself drawing many similarities that I loved! So if you loved that book, there's a good chance you'll enjoy this one as well! There's the boy next door, Sebastian, and the more archetypical "bad boy," Henry, and Edie finds herself drawn to both of them! And what I didn't know before but loved was there was the fake dating trope, which I'm absolute trash for! I loved the romantic moments, and honestly, there were things from both guys that I liked. Unfortunately, I was not a huge fan of the ending of this book. I was definitely on Team Loosing Guy, and from the way the book and characters were written, I suspect that a lot of other people will be too. Despite liking Edie for most of the book, I found her actions at the end to be rather cruel, and didn't really like her at the ending. Overall, as I said in the beginning, this is a pretty fun fluffy book. There's little substance besides the fluffy romance, and the deeper themes and meanings felt kind of shallow, not fully developed and leaning more on telling than showing in favor of giving more time to the romance--I would say that this book has all of the cute fun romance from TATBILB but almost none of the deeper substance and meaningful themes. It was SO much fun to read though, and I definitely liked picking it up at the end of long stressful days to just sink into. It's not going on any all time favorites lists, but it was fun to read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a light, quick, fun contemporary!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rida Quraishi

    This went from being so good that it would get 5 stars to - oh-God-Whyyy kinda bad in the last 10% of the book... You ruined the ending for me Jacqueline

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    This was just not for me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    * Thank you Raincoast Books for the advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review * ACTUAL: 4.5 stars Edie is stuck in Mansfield, Massachusetts, for her last summer before college. She wants to avoid her rich cousin's and their friends, and focus on applying for scholarships. But soon enough, two guys have caught her attention. Sebastian, Edie's childhood friend, is sweet and smart... and already taken. Henry, on the other hand, is a bad-boy and player, who should be off-limits. Even if * Thank you Raincoast Books for the advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review * ACTUAL: 4.5 stars Edie is stuck in Mansfield, Massachusetts, for her last summer before college. She wants to avoid her rich cousin's and their friends, and focus on applying for scholarships. But soon enough, two guys have caught her attention. Sebastian, Edie's childhood friend, is sweet and smart... and already taken. Henry, on the other hand, is a bad-boy and player, who should be off-limits. Even if his kisses are addicting. This Jane Austen retelling was so cute! While I have not read the original Jane Austen novel, I think those who have will enjoy this one. I loved the witty characters and the love triangle trope I enjoyed more than I usually do. The slow-burn romance drew me in, and I could not put this one down. it was a fast read, and a cute teen read in general. Occasionally, I found Edie a bit immature, but overall, contemporary fans will enjoy this one very much!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    4/5 Stars Author: Jacqueline Firkins Publisher/Imprint: HMH Books for Young Readers Edition: Paperback ARC, 371 Pages Hardcover Publication Date: December 17, 2019 A Spine that Shines? Quite Well! *This review is based on a paperback ARC edition received from the publisher. All quotes used in this review come from the uncorrected proof. These are my honest opinions. Thank you.* ‘Hearts were fragile things, prone to fractures, though they were surprisingly strong, too.’ -Jacqueline Firkins, Hearts, 4/5 Stars Author: Jacqueline Firkins Publisher/Imprint: HMH Books for Young Readers Edition: Paperback ARC, 371 Pages Hardcover Publication Date: December 17, 2019 A Spine that Shines? Quite Well! *This review is based on a paperback ARC edition received from the publisher. All quotes used in this review come from the uncorrected proof. These are my honest opinions. Thank you.* ‘Hearts were fragile things, prone to fractures, though they were surprisingly strong, too.’ -Jacqueline Firkins, Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things Initial Thoughts: For a debut novel, Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things is done quite well! This book is a cute, modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. I very much enjoyed reading this retelling. Here are some aspects I want to point out about the book: The writing style is quite humorous, and there were moments when I laughed aloud! I like a good laugh! Many common tropes appear, but the book is still satisfying overall. (See more about specific character tropes below.) The author’s knowledge of costume/fashion design really shines through! Much of the clothing in this novel is described in a very detailed manner. I also love the title of this book! The title is a reference to themes and objects throughout the book, and I think it ties things together nicely. It also contains a reference to a passage in Jane Eyre, which is not a Jane Austen novel, but is still super cool. I really enjoyed reading Edie’s lexicon of words relating to her life. They enhance both the humor and character of the story. ‘Better to break a heart than to have your heart broken.’ -Jacqueline Firkins, Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things Characters & Romance: The romance in this novel is adorable! Here is a brief overview of some of the characters and their romantic entanglements. Edie Price has just moved to Mansfield to live with her rich cousins while she completes her high school education. She is the smart girl who lacks self-confidence and assertiveness. She has had a crush on the boy next door since childhood. She is good at storing bookish quotes in her memory. She is working hard to win scholarship money for college while also trying to repair a broken relationship with her BFF back home. Sebastian is the boy next door. He is the creative type who wants to become a writer, but he is afraid to tell his parents that he doesn’t want to become a lawyer like his step-dad. He seems to enjoy books as much as Edie does, and it is adorable to see them exchange bookish quotes with each other! Henry is the bad boy figure. He is quite the player and is a bit handsy, but always makes sure to ask for verbal consent first. Edie is determined not to fall for Henry, but she has difficulty resisting his charms. He serenades her with guitar ballads! Claire is Sebastian’s gorgeous girlfriend. Yes. And she does NOT appreciate Edie’s interference in her relationship. She is also Henry’s sister. Maria and Julia, Edie’s cousins, add quite a bit of character to the story. At times, they are hilarious! They often can’t stop bickering without Edie’s intervention. While Maria has an obsession with boys and fashion, Julia constantly consults beauty blogs when seeking dating advice. One thing that did make me wonder is the age difference between Edie and Henry. Edie is 17, but Henry doesn’t seem to be in school or have any career goals. So, is he an adult? How old? At one point, I was really annoyed with Sebastian, who couldn’t seem to choose between Edie and Claire. I wanted him to step up and CHOOSE! ‘Some people were simply tied to each other. Some knots never came unraveled. Some strings never broke.’ -Jacqueline Firkins, Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things Final Thoughts: Here are a few other things I feel I should mention. Although the writing style is humorous, sometimes it can also be a bit over-descriptive. By this, I am referring to the author’s tendency to include a long string of hyphenated adjectives before a noun. Here is one example: “… Edie had her first skin-tingling, breath-stealing, knee-weakening, heart-pounding, lip-burning, tongue-tangling, bone-decimating, chest-exploding, hair-gripping, brain-erasing, blood-bursting, … kiss.” In my opinion, that is quite a mouthful and too many adjectives for my brain to absorb simultaneously. Another thing I noticed was how distant I felt from Shonda, Edie’s BFF back home. As readers, we are only truly introduced to her at the end of the novel. For most of the book, she is a faceless character who has been ignoring Edie as a result of a quarrel. Overall, I liked how things ended, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to review this one! Today is the book’s release day, so it is now available for anyone to buy! See content warnings below if you want to be informed of those. Happy reading :) *Content Warnings: Some sexual content and a bit of innuendo; the f-word and s-word are both used several times.*

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