The Heartbeat Hypothesis by Lindsey Frydman #BookReview
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
There was nothing casual about this meeting. Jake was not just some guy. His sister’s heart beat furiously beneath my rib cage, and all the pleasantries in the world wouldn’t change that she was dead—and I was not.
Oh man. I want to say something like, “This story will rip your heart right out.” But that hits a little too close to home, given the way the two main characters meet. The Heartbeat Hypothesis is unique among romances—I’ve never seen a premise quite like it. It’s a New Adult story, but there are times when it feels extremely Young Adult. In other moments it’s classic college, peppered with snapshots of a very adult sort of reckoning and emotional processing. Audra, the heroine, navigates the tricky emotional landscape of carrying another girl’s heart inside her body, of sorting through layers of guilt and happiness and what-ifs. She’s a college freshman, and her speech and general life experience are spot on for her age. We experience the story through her eyes, so Jake is as much of a mystery to the reader as to Audra.
Jake is mysterious, moody, reticent. He’s very much a New Adult hero. But he has good reasons, and he’s a twenty-something college student with a traumatic past, so I can definitely respect that. This book goes from quirky, uncomfortable college kids trying to relate without giving up too much of themselves, to being heavy, heartbreaking, and introspective. I found it really hard to keep reading in parts. Not because it isn’t well written—it is—but because I saw all these alternate (read: SAD!!) futures play out for myself and freaked the hell out.
There is a thread of romance in The Heartbeat Hypothesis, but it’s secondary to the development of the characters and plot. This book reads more like a YA than a NA. Definitely not my usual preference, although I did generally enjoy it. This story includes themes of grief, separation, abuse, and suicide, so if any of those are a trigger for you, probably best to avoid. If you’re looking for a younger-feeling story that will grab your heart and get the tears flowing, look no further.
For this one, my GraveTells review score will differ from my GoodReads and Amazon scores. The rating system I use here on GT focuses more on technical merit rather than personal enjoyment (and they usually line up, so I’ll have to tweak that). Technically the story was good. Personally, it wasn’t my favorite, as I’m just not that into Young Adult, and I expected a New Adult story with more of a romance. YMMV.
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