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The Hearts We Sold Hardcover – August 8, 2017
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"One of those unassuming reads that quietly sneaks up on you--and before you know it you've been blindsided by how awesome it is... The message in the philosophical prose is understated, but powerful, as is the surprise ending. With wonderfully developed characters, an engaging storyline and a romance that will steal readers' hearts, The Hearts We Sold is a story that's easy to love."―Romantic Times
"Lloyd-Jones's take on the Faustian myth will keep readers engaged. A broad array of well-developed characters will intrigue readers as the plot advances and curves. Offers character depth and diversity often lacking in the fantasy genre."―SLJ
"The characters are spunky and compassionate, and teen readers will love the storyline."―School Library Connection
"An inventive, heart-wrenching thrill ride."―Kim Liggett, author of Blood and Salt
"With its lush, Lovecraftian worldbuilding and a heroine as tough as she is damaged, The Hearts We Sold sucked me in and held me captive. I finished it in one sitting!"―Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten and the Don't Get Mad series
About the Author
Emily Lloyd-Jones grew up on a vineyard in rural Oregon, where she played in evergreen forests and learned to fear sheep. After graduating from Western Oregon University with an English degree, she enrolled in the publishing program at Rosemont College just outside of Philadelphia. She currently resides in Northern California, working in a bookstore by day and writing by night.
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I found the story to be really original. Demons are present and can grant wishes for anyone willing to make a trade. Most demons require body parts like an arm or a leg in exchange for a wish. Dee ends up making a deal with a demon that asks for something a little different: her heart. He holds her heart for two years while she works for him in exchange for what she needs. Sounds like a reasonable trade doesn't it? Okay, maybe not.
Dee must work with a group of teens that have made a similar bargain with the demon. Their task is risky but they work together really well and make quite the team. I really liked all of the characters in this book. Each member of the group had a really interesting backstory that really helped to bring them to life. Dee's life at home is anything but ideal and she has always had to be the responsible one and take care of herself.
This book isn't a romance but there is some romance to the story. The romance doesn't overpower the story but is a really nice added element. Dee and James connect with each other right away. They really did seem to understand each other and were there when the other needed them to be. I liked how open with each other they were and thought that their relationship felt very genuine.
I would highly recommend this book to others. This was a story that really grabbed me from the start and entertained me to the very end. This is the first book by Emily Lloyd-Jones that I have had a chance to read and I will be looking for her work again in the future.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via Novl.
It's a story of Deidre (Dee) Moreno, a young girl who doesn't have the most lovely of lives. In her world, demons walk among people, exchanging desperate desires for body parts. The higher the stakes are, the more valuable the hearts become and for Dee, a life situation becomes so dire that she must exchange her heart in order to save herself. In addition to giving up her heart, she becomes part of a group of heart-sellers that are called to action whenever the demon needs them to do a certain something. While canoodling with the group, Dee begins to fall for one of them and wonders how she can give away a heart that is no longer hers to give.
First of all, these characters - oh my gosh, they're my babies. I am in love with them and just want to hug them all so tightly because this is certainly a story of teenagers who are broken pieces trying to keep more pieces from falling away. Dee is a beautifully constructed wreck of a character. She starts from such a low point of uncertainty in the beginning, but begins to find herself. I don't think the growth that she develops is so much to call it transforming, but I do think it's refreshing that it's really subtle until a particular confrontation between her and her family. It's slow-growing and it makes her really blossom into such a relatable and likable character. I felt so much for her and I loved that she just seemed so ordinary, but had a special quality about her that I just can't put my finger on. She was just such a damn well-written character. Can't it just be left at that? Heh.
And how could I not love James? The beautifully artistic, hobo-looking, Ikea-couch-sitting, but handsome James. I had mixed feelings about him when he showed up - it was obvious that he was going to play the love interest to Dee, but romance was certainly not at the forefront of this book (to which I was rather satisfied with), but I really grew to be protective of him because of his natural likability and his desire to be nurturing towards other characters. He was just so flippin selfless and I wanted the best for him, especially after what I learned about him towards the ending of THWS. I thought I knew what I wanted in a fictional boyfriend, but James has changed all of those expectations. I think that his role in the dynamics of the group was necessary to keep it going - I believe it would have completely fallen apart had he not been there the whole time and been the glue holding them together. Nevertheless, he broke my heart for all the best and angsty of reasons.
The other characters were great as well. I appreciated that everyone had distinct personalities and regardless, meshed in with the group. I certainly found all of them memorable. No one was left in a place where I felt they were being overshadowed. Cal, Cora, Gremma, and Riley. They all had their own things to be concerned with and despite them, they all just came together in such a cool way (dare I even say nonchalant way?). I would have to say that if there was anyone that rubbed me the wrong way, it was Cora. She was reckless and unpredictable in her motives, even though I understood they were coming from a desperate place.
I absolutely commend Lloyd-Jones for how she approached the relationships in THWS. Romance was not an enormous component of the story despite it being so enforced in the synopsis. But it is a bigger story than just the romance. However, it was so tastefully done and it left me wanting that sort of slow-burning, slow-growing relationship where there is still hesitation and a lack of confidence in both the characters that blossoms into something more confident and passionate. It really blew me away. And I flippin' loved the LGBTQ+ representation. If there is something to be said about THWS, it's that there was amazing diversity and representation. Don't believe me? READ IT.
THWS had a lot happening in it. And yet, I felt like it was enough and necessary to what Lloyd-Jones wanted to tell in her book. I loved the paranormal aspect of the story and how it does not fit into the cookie-cutter idea that I've had for so long about demons. There's a kind of creepiness and yet normality about selling body parts for desperate wishes - and then there's an eerie feeling that I got when reading about all these supernatural creatures that just gave me the willies, but I wanted more. I wanted so much to read about the mythology behind what Lloyd-Jones created. She made this world within reality that I want more exploration in. It's impossible to sate my curiosity with just this one book - I NEED MORE!
Beyond the paranormal elements of the book were the issues that touched on such a human level. There is definitely issues of mental/physical health as well as abuse that I found to be the surprising part of the story. I don't think abuse gets touched upon as much as it should, especially in YA literature and I'm not just talking about physical abuse - but mental and emotional abuse. It hit me in all the right raw places and made me feel for this character in a way that made me love him/her even more. I love that it shows the character going through the patterns of abuse until there is resolution. But the resolution is open-ended and I like that in the end I'm not sure what will come.
I absolutely hated one thing about THWS: it's a standalone. I don't think it's enough to keep me satisfied, but I think it's enough to keep this a book to be talked about. There is so so much that goes on in the background and forefront of THWS that I think would be missed if not for a careful read. While I don't think one book is enough for ME, I know that it's enough for the story. If you are looking for complete resolution in this story, you will not receive it. You will be left agonizing what is to BE and what is to COME. And I hate that we may never receive this answer.
Regardless, a phenomenal read. One of the best of the year.
Told in third person, the story revolves around Dee, a kid from a broken home of abusive alcoholics, who just wants to stay at her boarding school. When money problems arise, she does what any character on Supernatural would do, and makes a deal with a demon for the money, in exchange for her heart and having to do the demons bidding.
The blurb makes this sound like a slow, sad sort of novel, but what happens after this deal is anything but. Dee teams up with other heartless to destroy voids made by demons, which is terribly dangerous and life threatening work, and fast paced, as life threatening events tend to be. And of course she meets the love interest.
I really adored the relationship Lloyd-Jones created. It wasn't instalove, or unbelievable, but a slow burning sort of relationship, built of friendship (my favorite kind).
Dee's character growth was undeniably substantial. We watch her go from a scared, timid girl to a somebody who owns up to her choices, and starts to act. It was a beautiful transformation to watch.
I greatly enjoyed the prose as well, with its wit and elegance. I found it easy to relate to the authors words, and was definitely, happily dragged under for this story.
And I must comment on the world building- I found it to be intriguing. Demons are common knowledge, but there are lots of details that I won't spoil, which pop up throughout the story. They just tantalize you enough to keep you on the edge, without being confusing.
All this to say, I really enjoyed reading this book, and hope to see more from this author.
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