This Old Heart of Mine
by A.J. Compton
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Ava Malone knows all about being broken-hearted.
Born with a severe heart defect, she’s spent her whole life in and out of hospital, desperately needing a transplant.
Just days from death, her weak prayers are finally answered, and she receives a new heart; one that not only saves her life, but changes it forever.
Now fit and healthy, Ava is able to do things she only dreamed of, like get a job and some independence, fall in love, and finally live life to the fullest.
But her journey of self-discovery takes her to places she never expected. Along the way, Ava doesn’t just find the woman she was always meant to be, but also finds out more about the woman who no longer is. The one who gave her this new life because she lost hers.
Faced with a devastating dilemma, Ava must decide whether the heart that’s pumping inside her body now belongs to her, or is still beating for someone else…
After being completely blown away by A.J. Compton’s debut, The Counting Downers, I was excited to find out she had a second book out that was up for review with Xpresso Books. While I did enjoy the same thoughtful prose and heartbreaking quality of This Old Heart of Mine, there were a few things which dimmed my excitement just a bit.
Once Ava is released from the hospital and getting on with her “new” life, things just seemed to fall into place entirely too easily. There were so many times during the first 2/3 of the book when I just felt that it lacked conflict, even though the first 22 years of her life had been essentially a struggle for survival, having things practically fall in her lap one right after another just didn’t work for me.
I also found it hard to believe that she didn’t figure out the big secret, when it was so completely obvious after one discussion near the beginning. It’s entirely possible the author intended for the audience to know this but not the protagonist, so I’m not complaining on that front, rather that it seems like Ava would have figured it out.
The poetry from Gabriel was so beautiful even I teared up, you can’t deny that Compton has a talent for evoking emotion with her words. Finley and Ava’s relationship was beautiful and such a refreshing change from the “best friend who secretly loves you” trope that pops up in so many books. Their sibling-like dynamic and support for one another completely made sense given their history, and I thought it was brave to include a male best friend with no intentions of sidelining things. Gia was hilarious and after the initial weirdness of things just happening, I did think she was a great addition to the cast.
I will definitely continue to read her books as she grows into authordom and hope that she continues to hone her craft, and find that balance which can be so hard to strike between conflict and a happy resolution, or even a bittersweet one. I’d recommend this for mature readers although there is nothing explicit.
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