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Heart's Desire: A Novel Paperback – July 26, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345479556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345479556
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,400,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this disappointing sequel to Beginner's Luck, spunky teen Hallie Palmer is finishing up her first year at the Cleveland Art Institute, juggling student loans, finals and the ever present dilemma of when and how to lose her virginity. Amid her troubles, Hallie is called upon by her former quasi-guardian, Bernard Stockton, to help him win back his boyfriend, Gill, so she agrees to stay with him once again and earn money doing garden work for the summer. (Bernard still shares a home with his 60-something, pornography-writing, cause-driven mother, Olivia, and her Italian live-in lover, Ottavio, as well as with Olivia's unpredictable pet chimpanzee, Rocky.) As a sign of changing times, Hallie's harried mom asks for her help with Louise, Hallie's party girl younger sister. Gill contemplates leaving his gay lifestyle to marry a woman and start a family, Bernard decides he wants to adopt a Chinese baby and Hallie can't get sex off the brain. Though Pedersen tries hard to match the zany, madcap atmosphere of Beginner's Luck, the sequel lacks the fresh spirit and charm that made its predecessor so winning. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Hallie Palmer comes home from college with lots of problems. She is broke and without a boyfriend, and her complicated family life has gotten worse. Her employer-guardian, Bernard, has broken up with his longtime lover; one of her sisters is in trouble; and every guy she meets has issues. Undaunted, the ever-capable Hallie gets to work. She will find a boyfriend, help Bernard, earn money, and, as a bonus, save her town, a weird mix of Mayberry and Las Vegas. It all seems a bit much, and when Pedersen throws in an alcoholic chimpanzee and a story that owes a lot of its momentum to her previous book, Beginner's Luck (2003), one wonders how it can work. But oddly enough, this sweet-natured and inviting book manages splendidly. Readers are quickly drawn into Hallie's world and are ready to cheer for her and her motley crew. Funny, tender, and poignant. Neal Wyatt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Laura Pedersen writes for The New York Times and is the author of Play Money, Going Away Party, Beginner's Luck (chosen as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection), Last Call, Heart's Desire, The Sweetest Hours, and The Big Shuffle. In 1994, President Clinton honored her as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. She has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, and The Late Show with David Letterman, and she writes for several wellknown comedians. Pedersen lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
This book is laugh-out-loud fun.
Jean Callahan
I really enjoyed BEGINNER'S LUCK, the first book in this projected four-book series by Laura Pedersen.
Sherri Caldwell - The Rebel Housewife(tm)
And the teen angst Hallie goes through is so real and painful, one has to feel for her.
jesse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on September 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
After a year in college, Hallie Palmer has all summer to figure out how to pay for her next year at college. Because if she can't come up with some cash, she'll need to drop out after a semester and work full time. Fortunately, her foster father, Bernard, offers to let her work in his garden again--and a high-stakes poker game has come to Cosgrove County, Ohio--and Hallie is something of a gambler. But both of these offers come with strings. Bernard has broken up with his longtime lover, Gil, and is despondent to the point of playing suicidal opera arias. And the late-night poker games come with a bit of a moral dilemma attached.

Then there's the virginity issue. Hallie thinks she may be a sex-maniac because she can't stop thinking about sex. There's the boyfriend from school--the one she was just at the point of having sex with. Then there's the ex-boyfriend from high-school. The one who seems to have more girlfriends than he can shake a stick at. And the nerdy future Bill Gates who's had a crush on her since fourth grade. Finally, there's the town bookie's cute grandson--even if he is math impaired and seems to read and write stories about death (and Bernard picks him up with his gaydar). Between the difficulties of finding a suitable guy and Hallie's own ambivalent feelings toward sex, love, and forever, she starts to wonder if she's going to be carrying her virginity into old age.

Author Laura Pedersen has created a houseful of delightful and vivid characters. Bernard, his larger-than-life mother (who is always ready to protest for justice and point out the Unitarians who have served America and the world so well), Bernard's ex-lover, Gil, the alcoholic chimpanzee, his mother's Italian lover, and even the town cop are all fully realized and fun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sherri Caldwell - The Rebel Housewife(tm) on September 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed BEGINNER'S LUCK, the first book in this projected four-book series by Laura Pedersen. I love the intrepid teenage heroine, Hallie Palmer, and the author's straightforward, funny, clever writing style and turns-of-phrase. Laura Pedersen's books bring to mind the charm, eccentricity, and small-town appeal of BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE for an older teenage audience.

Hallie's story continues in the second book, HEART'S DESIRE, during the summer after her first year away at college. Hallie returns to the wildly eccentric, wonderful Stockton household, pre-occupied with (someday) losing her virginity, finding true love, and figuring out if the two are inextricably linked. She's also faced with new crises to solve, both in her old family and in her new one, and another 60-second mystery, in addition to figuring out how to fund her second year of art school (legally).

The Sex issue comes up again; actually, it is pervasive throughout HEART'S DESIRE, as 17-year-old Hallie grapples with the complexities of love and sex. Laura Pedersen again handles this subject exceptionally well, with humor and sensitivity.

I enjoyed the interviews with the author at the end of each book, and look forward to continuation of the Hallie Palmer series.

Enjoy!

Sherri Caldwell, co-author, The Rebel Housewife Rules: To Heck With Domestic Bliss!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jesse on January 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I hated to leave the Stockton household when Hallie went off to collage at the end of Beginner's Luck. But, when Hallie comes home after her first year at college in Heart's Desire, I came home, too. I missed Olivia and her way of teaching; Bernard and his way of cooking and Hallie and her way of trying to find her self, her money for school next year and her sexuality.

The characters are just as outrageous, funny and lovable as in 'Luck.' And the teen angst Hallie goes through is so real and painful, one has to feel for her.

What a wonderful series Pedersen has produced. I can hardly wait for the next one in the 'Hallie sagas.'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joni Rendon on July 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's impossible not to fall for the winningly eccentric cast of characters in Laura Pedersen's laugh-out-loud sequel to her acclaimed novel BEGINNER'S LUCK. Pedersen reunites 17-year-old card-shark Hallie Palmer with the zany Stockton clan, including cause-obsessed sixty-something radical Olivia and her flamboyant son Bernard, whose unparalleled passion for antiques, old musicals and theme dinners makes for never a dull (or hungry) moment in the household. Add in a highly unusual pet --- Rocky, the alcoholic chimpanzee --- and hilarity ensues around nearly every corner. But underneath its witty repartee and humorous goings-on, this novel poses more serious questions of the heart that everyone can relate to, namely: "What does your heart desire?" and "How do you know when someone is 'the one'"?

If Hallie had the answers, she'd feel a lot more content as her first year away at college comes to an end and she finds herself more mixed up about love (and lust) than ever, despite her numerous string of short-lived boyfriends. In addition to her romantic woes and raging hormones, she also suffers from financial worries and must somehow find a way to come up with next year's tuition or be forced to drop out. With her parents cash-strapped from raising seven other kids and her previous high-yielding pursuits of horse betting and casino games ruled out now that she's gone straight, she accepts a summer job back in her hometown doing yard work at the Stocktons.

In spite of their eccentricities, they were the ones who had taken her in two years earlier and managed to reform her status as the town miscreant, a title she'd rightly garnered after dropping out of high school, running away from home and having several brushes with the law.
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