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4.6 out of 5 stars114
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 1 September 2014
Review from Noah Shulman-Miller (age 11)

This exciting yet depressing story is all about a 13 year old boy called Cameron who has heart disease, and he and other people need to act fast or he might not live much longer.

I thought that it was a really exciting book. I also thought and felt really depressed for Cameron. Even if it wasn’t a real story, it felt really realistic to me because Cameron needing a transplant is a realistic thing that happens a lot, and I strongly recommend this book because it’s a really sad and moving story and you don’t know which way it’s going to go. It kept me glued to the book because I really wanted to know what would happen next, and because of that I genuinely wanted to read on.

I’m giving this book five stars because it had everything; it was exciting, thrilling, it wanted you to want to know and not just want to know once but want to know all the time what’s going to happen.
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Cameron has a credible voice, helped by the use of the first person and Blackman perfectly captures the envy he feels for his healthy friends. Cameron knows that there's little chance of a donor becoming available to replace his heart so when his father tells him that he's contacted Dr Bryce, a former heart surgeon who's currently working on engineering pigs for organ donation, you understand why Cameron wants to go for it. Cameron's parents voice the pros and cons of such an experimental operation but Blackman also shows how Cameron's condition has taken a toll on the parents' marriage.

Blackman gets across the science of using animal organs for human donation and sets up the ethical issues. She doesn't shy away from the actions of animal rights extremists and she uses the hyperbole of the media reaction to feed into those attitudes. My favourite scenes in the book are those between Cameron and Julie after the operation where Blackman highlights the changes in both characters as a result of the procedure.

I was less convinced by the relationship between Marlon and Cameron, mainly because I didn't quite buy into Cameron's willingness to forgive Marlon's actions (no matter how understandable those were) - but again, it's a good way of showing how the procedure changed things for Cameron, things that he wasn't really prepared for.

Blackman's decision not to sugar coat her book extends to the ending - she leaves it pretty open and yet the reader is in no doubt as to what Cameron's fate will be.

The scenes with the grandmother didn't work for me and seemed far too artificial a device for what Blackman wanted to achieve and I wasn't wild about the baby element, but it did give Blackman the chance to have Cameron monologue his inner-feelings about events, which worked for me in terms of fleshing out his character.
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on 10 April 2016
I chose this rating because it was beautifully written and I didn't want it to end but when it did I cried because of how suttle and sad it was I love it all and I found it really funny when Cameron Joshua Kelsey coughed in Julia's face I found it funny because I thought that she deserved it because she basically said that he was a germ filled animal that carried disease within him I thought that more people would agree with him about what she deserved I do think that he should have done it less publicly
I didn't like it when nan died because it was really sad but I'm relieved that she went peacefully but because of some things said and thought earlier on in the book- she looked old a sad- then it suggests that she was hiding some sort of pain as it goes on to say- when she grinned her whole face lifted and that you could tell everything from her eyes
I didn't like it when Cameron picked on Travis although Travis did deserve it he also didn't deserve it, because you don't know why he's doing it
I don't think Cameron should have picked on him because he didn't like it when Travis picked on hi me, so what makes it right for Cameron to pick on Travis?
I found some of Mr and Mrs kelsy's faces and reactions that were brilliantly displayed in writing
I was really shocked when you found out that Alex was coming because I wasn't expecting it
At first I didn't believe there was actually a baby coming because the dad hadn't been told.
I don't understand why the dad didn't get told although it was told in the book.
I think that it was really sweet of Cameron to make the videos of life lessons for Alex because it meant that Alex could meet their older brother
I think it was a shame that there were some chapters left blank with just a title but on the other hand it was very creative and it brought a completely knew type of writing to the board.
It was such a brilliant book and I didn't want to put it Down.
I would read it again in a heartbeat and I recommend it to every reader- from every gendre of reading- it was fantastic and I am so excited to read my next book from calorie blackman
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HALL OF FAMEon 19 January 2003
Cameron is a boy who loves sport, but a virus has left his heart weak. Increasingly unable to do the things he loves, and with a new baby in the family on the way, he must have a heart transplant. No human donor is available, so he has the choice of having a ground-breaking operation: a pig's heart will replace his own. It may sound weirdly like something out of Snow White, but the operation works, at first, and suddenly he's able to live a normal life again.
Then his best friend's father tells a newspaper, and Cameron has the horror of living with tabloid journalists calling him Pig Heart Boy. How a brave but normal kid copes with this, the possibility of dying and losing his best friend Marlon is described in very readable, fast-paced prose.
My 10 year old daughter read this recently as a class text. It's a terrifically good book, and one of the things we both like about it is that it describes the life of a black family without any of the usual politically correct stuff you so often get. Cameron is just a kid, one whom you get to know and care about a lot. In a quiet way, Blackman is a real revolutionary for insisting on this.
I also thoroughly recommend Blackman's 'Noughts & Crosses' for older readers of 12+ as a brilliant SF novel about a world in which black people rule and white people are the underdogs.
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on 14 April 2013
Blackman has written about a delicate topic with skill and sensitivity. The story is told from the point of view of a teenage boy who will die unless he agrees to have a ground-breaking operation to give him a new heart from a specially bred pig. Blackman explores many angles: the agony of the parents, the various reactions of the community and the boys friends, the invasive nature of the media, the interests of the doctors and scientists involved and the fears and hopes of the boy himself. The story is told simply and without excess emotion and although it touches on the issue of animal rights, it does not lean heavily on one side or another. The reader is left to make up his or her own mind. It is open ended, which left me a little dissatisfied, but I understand the reasons for this and feel it could not have ended any other way. I read it to check its suitability before recommending it to my granddaughter who is 11 and very mature.
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on 8 June 2015
thi book is so amazing i ciuldnt put it down. the twists and turns. i have now stated blackman as my fave author. i nearly cried . i would say its for ovee ten year old for its quite touching and makes u feel so fragile.a must have book.
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A mesmerisingly powerful book about the difficult choices a boy and his family have to make. Cameron is 14. His heart is giving out. He has less than a year to live. There are no human donors available. His only choice at life is to agree to a genetically modified pig heart being transplanted into him. What will it mean for him?

This book is utterly absorbing. Cameron's voice is authentic and emotionally compelling. You are totally drawn into his world and what he and his family are going through. Despite being a book for children the author does not shy away from difficult questions and ideas and the book will stay with you long after you have read it.
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on 16 September 2008
Delicately addressing matters such as disability, death, peer pressure, self-esteem and the school/family balance, `Pig Heart Boy' is a very real and very tidy book. The novel cleverly describes Cameron Kelsey's heart-problems that lead him onto opting in for heart transplant surgery, where his own failing heart will be replaced with that of a genetically modified one from a pig. As a result of this major surgery, the young boy's life is dramatically changed, not only including a tough recovery, but upsets with friends and family and relentless media and protest bombardment.

This book is a good example of Malorie Blackman's pure-novel work and has similar themes that make it clear it is from the same author as `Cloudbusting'. Friendships are never clear-cut, and describe falling out and disputes that cut close to the bone.

There is great potential for cross-curricular work in Science (investigating the heart and how real life surgery would be) and PSHE (why Cameron felt as he did and similar experiences felt by pupils). This is a high calibre read for Year 5 and 6 and can no doubt be thoroughly enjoyed by any age onwards, but also meets sometimes taboo subjects head on. The only issue I feel is necessary to point out is that ethical and moral beliefs may cause some readers to take offence; the clearest area for debate is the manner which the author's own views on animal testing may influence a young reader to believe the same. Despite the sensitivity and great skill Malorie Blackman shows in discussing this, it is perhaps a subject that will never be welcomed by all.
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on 21 January 2013
This book is about a 14 years old boy, who has made the decision to have a heart transplant from a pig. It is in his point of view and really makes you look at life,and what you would do if you had to go through it. I think, while others think that the ending was to much of a cliff hanger,that is was perfect. It put you in the mind of Cameron because, like him, we do not no what happened,which makes is seem more realistic. This book did make me cry, because of the story line, but also how well it was written. Defiantly read this book!
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on 8 May 2000
What i liked about this novel was everytime something happened you knew what people were thinking about it and what there expressions were and how they felt. I liked these things in the story because it makes the story all more iesier to understand and makes it feel like your there and its really happening like your apart of it as it unfolds around youas you read it.
What I disliked about this novel was that it did not last as long as it should had because I found it was far to intersting to put down.
When the ending came I wanted to read it again but I of wanted the novel to carry on. I enjoyed this book a lot and hope that there will be a Pig Heart Boy 2 coming out soon so I no what happened after the first novel left off.
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