The beginning of the book is quite slow to start. There is a pretty big build up of back-story, letting the reader know what Ashley's life is like, what kind of a person she is and gives little snippets about her relationship with Tyler. While I did like this, the writing was a little stiff in places. Ashley is a teenage girl but the way that her narrative is written, makes her seem much older and this isn't a good thing. The dialogue is rigid to begin with and unnatural so I had a pretty hard time getting into Heart Burn for some time. Had Ashley come across as a real teenage girl, speaking how I would have expected her to, I would have enjoyed this book much more from the start.
After the initial awkward pages, the story is actually good. Ashley's ex boyfriend has been in some kind of accident, landing him in hospital beaten up and in a very bad way. One of his friends follows Ashley around until she finally agrees to go and see him but she knows it probably isn't a good idea. The history of their relationship is slowly drizzled into the main story so I only got to find out little bits at a time. Tyler, though, was someone I liked straight away. It's obvious just how much trouble he is and the kind of guy your parents would warn you away from so that was an attraction for me. I do like a dangerous guy with a big sense of adventure and risk.
Relationships between many different people are a large part of Heart Burn. Each different relationship affects the way that the characters act and I loved seeing all of the different possibilities. Ashley has a good relationship with her brother but there is tension between them for one reason or another. Her best friend doesn't understand the attraction to Tyler. Tyler's family have pretty much written him off and don't even care when he goes missing or that he's in hospital. Ashley and Tyler are the two people who seem to trust each other, no matter what. Due to all of this, there is a lot more going on throughout the book than I had thought there would be. It isn't all about Ashley and Tyler and I liked how other characters were included the whole way through.
This is a very predictable book and I had near enough everything figured out quite early on. Although there is plenty of mystery, it isn't as complex as it could have been. More twists and turns were needed for me just to throw me off track and to rethink my original ideas. The real excitement in this book lays with Ashley and how she goes about keeping her promise to Tyler. She is certainly a stronger character than made out to be at the beginning of the book. I wasn't expecting her to be so strong and determined, going after what she believes in.
Heart Burn is quite a gripping book full of tension, mystery and excitement. While it does have a slow start, the plot moves along at a nice pace after that will plenty of twists and turns to keep the audience interested. I ended up liking Heart Burn much more than I was expecting to and because of this, I would definitely try another of Anne Cassidy's books now.