Published by Penguin Teen Australia on February 26th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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When Marlowe gets a heart transplant and a second chance at life, all she wants is to thank her donor's family. Maybe then she can move on. Maybe then she'll discover who she is if she's no longer The Dying Girl.But with a little brother who dresses like every day is Halloween, a vegan warrior for a mother and an all-out war with the hot butcher's apprentice next door, Marlowe's life is already pretty complicated. And her second chance is about to take an unexpected turn...
Tin Heart was yet another wonderful contemporary novel by Shivaun Plozza. Frankie was absolutely amazing and her new release is no different. It’s real and it’s raw and I connected with every aspect of what Marlowe, the main character, was feeling.
Tin Heart is about Marlowe who had a heart transplant about a year ago and has been getting strange feelings of dissociation of identity. She was the girl who was dying and now that she’s not, she doesn’t know who she is and who she wants to be. Coupled with that, she isn’t allowed to directly contact the family of her donor and her letters to them through the hospital are unanswered. Marlowe goes on a journey trying to learn more about her donor and to connect with the family, and along the way, she forms friendships, discovers love and takes control of her life back, at least a little.
Just like Frankie, the characters were my favourite part of the story. Marlowe was so easy to relate to, even though I’ve never had the experiences that she’s had. It’s a great coming-of-age story that is familiar to many teens and young adults. Marlowe was calm and patient with her family but also lost her temper sometimes, which was also a really relatable aspect. Her eagerness to make friends and to return to her normal life was really inspiring and I found myself constantly rooting for her. Her family is eccentric and interesting and I loved reading about her mother and younger brother, Pip, who dresses up every day in costume. I really enjoyed how much Pip loved his sister and did anything to cheer her up. And of course, it was so endearing that he got up each day before 5am to dress up and get made it. I loved him so much. Marlowe’s mother was also really interesting character. A former lawyer, and now activist, she adopts a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle, while also participating in protests around the community. She’s overprotective and controlling of her children, especially Marlowe, but ultimately gives them enough space for them to pursue their interests and become the people who they want to become. Besides being a ‘carnivore’, of course. The family dynamics were amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the novel.
And then, because I am my mother’s daughter, I finish off with a line about why everyone should be vegan.
I also absolutely loved the friendships in the book and the fact that the romance didn’t take over and the friendship aspects were allowed to shine. I loved Marlowe’s friendship with Zan, who is another sassy, diverse and self-aware character. I enjoyed the camaraderie they had and how quickly Zan was willing to take Marlowe under her wing. I also really liked Marlowe’s friendship with Carmen and how well they got along despite the slight age difference. There was a lot of female empowerment in this novel and I absolutely loved it.
The romance for me was also great. It was humorous and adorable. The story starts off with a feud between Marlowe’s family and their shop neighbours who are butchers. Marlowe has an intense feud with the butcher’s son, Leo, over their differences in dietary choices. This results in lots of little pranks but also a bit of respect for each other. Marlowe and Leo bond over a mutual feeling of pressure from their overbearing parents and a feeling of a lack of control over their lives. The family theme is one that runs throughout the book and we see the struggles that each family faces.
If you enjoyed Shivaun Plozza’s debut novel, Frankie, or if you just want a gritty but funny and fast-paced contemporary, Tin Heart is one to look out for. It is a wonderful coming-of-age story with relatable themes and characters. It is short and fast-paced but it really packs a punch.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thank you to Penguin Teen Australia for providing a review copy of the book.
Tin Heart was released on 26th February by Penguin Australia. It is now available at all Australian retailers for $19.99.
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