Teaser Review: How To Build a Heart by Maria Padian

Title: How to Build a Heart
Author: Maria Padian
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 352 Pages
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020

Summary: All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy’s hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school—even if Izzy is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new athletic and popular boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy’s family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she’s been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, after a conversation got sparked on Twitter and we found out that we actually have a mutual connection based on the college I attend! I thought that was pretty cool, and then when I found out Maria was a YA author, I knew that I definitely wanted to read some of her work. When she sent me How To Build a Heart, I was elated, because the story sounded like just the kind of YA contemporary that I really enjoyed. Thankfully, my hunch was right!

As the summary explains, Izzy is finally getting settled after her family's recent move, always bouncing from town to town with her mother and brother, still reeling after the tragic death of her father in the Marines. Izzy starts to feel like her life is really coming together -- she has a crush, some good friends, a spot in her school's super competitive a cappella group....but she manages to keep her scholarship student status a secret, and her best from the trailer park is nowhere near her preppy school friends. And then her family is chosen for Habitat for Humanity, which is a major win for them, but that also involves her community knowing about her family's struggles. The balancing act doesn't last for long, and when Izzy's lives threaten to cross over into each other, she isn't sure how she's going to handle it. And what ensues is definitely interesting, that's for sure! 

I really enjoyed reading this book! Maria Padian is an excellent writer, so I found myself being sucked into the story immediately. This book is almost 350 pages, and I managed to finish the entire thing in just two days, because I found myself picking it up every chance I get. I even walked around campus with this book in front of my face while I was heading to class and the library and places to pick up dinner, and it's a miracle I didn't trip and fall flat on my face. I was so just so invested in the story and I loved it!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading How To Build a Heart. I think it was a super heartwarming, emotional tale of moving on after loss, settling into a new life, and finding a way to bridge your past and your future in ways that you may not have thought were possible before. Maria Padian is an excellent writer, and it took no time at all for me to fall into her story. I'm super glad that I was given this ARC in exchange for an honest review, and it's safe to say that I'll definitely be reading more of her work in the future!

Stay tuned for my full, more in-depth review, coming in November 2019!

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