Friday, 2 July 2010

Second Hand Heart by Catherine Ryan Hyde

[image description: a blue and white stripped deck chair with a copy of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol in it.  Above that the words The Summer Reading Challenge are written in an arc (split in two lines with challenge on the second).  Plain font, dark blue.  The background is white]

Second Hand Heart is the first of the books I have to review as a part of Transworld's Summer Reading Challenge.  It's by Catherine Ryan Hyde and is the first of her books I've read.

I really wanted to love Second Hand Heart based on what I read on the back of it.  I thought that I would as it's the sort of book I love and I find the process of transplants interesting.  I did think that it was a good book.  But unfortunately there were one or two bits which I thought were unrealistic so I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected. My creative writing teacher is always telling us that things don't have to make sense or be realistic they just have to work. And the bits that I found unrealistic did work for the plot.  So overall it's a good book.

Vida is 19 and dying if she doesn't get a heart transplant very soon.  She's been ill her entire life. Richard's wife dies unexpectedly and he donates her heart to Vida.  Second Hand Heart is the story of what happens to both Richard and Vida after they meet very soon after the transplant (it was how soon after the transplant they met I felt to be unrealistic).

The plot changes and twists around as the story goes on. And the characters grow and change along with it.  I particularly enjoyed seeing how Vida grew as a person once she got healthier and discovered the world.  The perspective changes from Vida to Richard and back again repeatedly. Seeing things from the others perspective gave a different light to the book and brought it to another dimension.

Based on the subject matter you might think this would be a depressing book.  It was anything but.  Well written, it keeps you interested and has a nice feeling to it.  I'm glad I read this book.

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