ARC Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

Title: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
Author: Jacqueline Firkins
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 384 Pages
Publication Date: December 17th, 2019

Summary: Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming. But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there's Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there's Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive. Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone's heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn't hers.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I was really excited as soon as I found out about it, because if any of you here know anything about me, I am an absolute rom-com junkie. It's seriously my weak spot. So it's safe to say that I devoured this book!

As the summary explains, Edie Price finds herself living with her uber-rich, stuck up cousins, wedged between their insufferable family and the attractive boy next door, all while dealing with said boy next door's possessive girlfriend, Claire, and her ultra-flirty heartbreaker of a brother, Henry. Meanwhile, Edie is just trying to get through the rest of her senior year unscathed, still reeling from the loss of her mother and the loss of her best friend, Shonda, after she got caught making out with her boyfriend. So Edie's life feels like a bit of a mess, and she's not quite sure how she's going to adjust to her new surroundings, but she's determined to finish high school, graduate college, and get the hell out of there.

You guys, this book was so adorable. I am such a sucker for a boy next door kind of story, and the fact that they were childhood friends (and even each other's first kisses!) really made my heart all swoon-y. But then Henry came into play, with all of his sexy flirtations and his charm and his irresistible pull, and I found myself falling for his bad boy charm as well. I found myself just as conflicted as Edie when it came to deciding between Sebastian and Henry -- well, at least I felt that way at first, but as time went on, I definitely made my choice!

(Minor-ish spoilers in this paragraph, so skip to the next paragraph to avoid them!) My favorite character in this book was definitely Henry and I stand by the fact that I think he deserved a better fate than he got in this book because ugh, I loved that boy. Even though he was super arrogant and awful at first, his character arc was definitely the most surprising and really great to see. When she broke up with him, my heart was shattered and I definitely thought that he deserved to be happy and he loved and cared for Edie so much and...ugh!! I just really wanted them to end up together, even though I totally understand why they couldn't be together. I just loved Henry in the end, and I wanted better for him! :(

Something I wasn't super crazy about with this book was Edie herself, because even though I loved her a lot, she was continuously moving in on other people's men in the book (Shonda's, Claire's, Maria's...kinda?), and even though it wasn't intentional and that wasn't always on purpose, she always seemed to find herself having the affections of another girl, with her ending up hurting them in the process. I totally get that it's part of the story (Edie herself even acknowledges it a few times), but there were definitely a few times throughout the book where my stomach turned a little bit because I was uncomfortable with Edie's behavior. But other than that, I really enjoyed the book!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things. If you're looking for a sweet, heart-wrenching rom-com that will make you blush, swoon, and render you unable to put the book down, then I definitely recommend picking this one up -- and I'll definitely be reading more of Jaqueline Firkins's work in the future! :-)


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