**Disclaimer: I received a free advanced readers copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this opportunity.
How To Build a Heart is a YA contemporary novel about a girl named Izzy. She is struggling to walk the fine line between her Catholic private school and her home life where she lives in a mobile home with her single mother and little brother. It comes out on January 28th, 2020. I gave it 4.5 stars on Goodreads.￼
Here is the summary from NetGalley:
One young woman’s journey to find her place in the world as the carefully separated strands of her life — family, money, school, and love — begin to overlap and tangle.
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.
How to Build a Heart is the story of Izzy’s journey to find her place in the world and her discovery that the choices we make and the people we love ultimately define us and bring us home.
How to Build a Heart is a very genuine feeling read. Izzy’s voice in the story is strong and her motivations feel very realistic. ￼I liked the way how she navigated through the world because it felt very realistic to how teenagers actually behave and how important image can be to them. The way she learned about the boy she ended up with and the misadventures that happened along the way felt like they might actually happen. I know contemporary books are supposed to feel realistic but so often they have plots that seem highly unlikely to happen in real life even if they are fun to read.
A lot of the conflict from this book comes from Izzy’s unwillingness to let people in and her struggles to accept the realities of her life. The unwillingness to communicate with the people who care about her is frustrating to read about, but it was so realistic because of how her image was so important to her. She didn’t want anyone to know about her family’s struggles. It came across as genuine and that’s what kept me going through the frustration of just wanting her to freaking be honest about what was going on with her.
I really enjoyed how she got in touch with her father’s side of the family and came to understand why they weren’t close. I liked watching her navigate her relationship with her mother and the ups and downs they went through. Izzy’s growth over the course of the book was the star of the novel and I loved watching her learn.
Ultimately, I really, really enjoyed this book, but it just wasn’t quite a five star read for me. I do still recommend it and I especially think that teenagers would really enjoy this book. It’s sweet and wholesome and totally worth it.
Thanks again to NetGalley and the publishers for granting me early access.