- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd (1 Nov. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1474906508
- ISBN-13: 978-1474906500
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Instructions for a Second-hand Heart Paperback – 1 Nov 2016
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About the Author
Tamsyn Murray is the author of the Completely Cassidy series and the upcoming Tanglewood Animal Park series for younger readers, as well as YA supernatural romance series My So-Called Afterlife. Her YA titles have been shortlisted for awards including the Romantic Novelist Association Young Adult Romantic Novel prize, the Bolton Book Award and the Portsmouth Book Award, and Highly Commended in the Booktrust Teenage Prize.
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This sounds like quite a morbid topic for a YA novel but this is so much more than a story about people who have died and people who are close to dying. Niamh and Johnny are just two teenagers, like any other teenagers. The difference between them and many other teenagers is that they have this different take on life, a heightened respect for it in many ways and they know, but don't always appreciate how precious their lives are. I really liked getting to know them as characters and found myself wanting to find out more about them and about their growing friendship.
Obviously there many emotional aspects to this book. Dealing with terminally ill children and children who loose their lives is always going to be emotional but that is not the main aspect of this novel, so if you are worried about it being a morbid look at death and cancer and the like, then you need not fear! As I've mentioned above, these characters have a respect for life that so many of us forget about because of how close they have come to loss, but this doesn't mean either that this book is all about the completion of bucket lists and living life to the full. It is more about an attitude and a mind set than an about any actual thing.
I so enjoyed this book, i cried twice and it left me thinking. These characters have stayed with me and I do hope to hear more about them one day but they will stay with me for a while yet, and that, to me, is the sign of a good book!
It is poignant and moving, funny, engaging, occasionally irritating and a good read. I love the writing style, the story flows really well and is it keeps the reader turning the pages.
Other reviewers have said they didn't connect with or much like Niamh. I disagree with them. She was at times stroppy and not particularly likeable but I felt she was quite a realistic teenager and I felt that the depiction of her grief and guilt felt accurate. Jonny had some drastic changes in his life and he was a nicer person before he left the hospital than after. However the way he dealt with his life also felt credible. There are other characters that run through the book not least of whom is Leo, who is quite literally at the heart of the story. The others, especially Em and Marco, add depth, as do the parents although they all seem a bit shadowy a lot of the time.
I will miss these kids. A good book.
Instructions For A Second-Hand Heart was beautifully heartbreaking. Niamh's character embodies all the emotions I felt after losing my own brother and made a connection between us which just added to my reading experience.
There's no doubt in mind that the author thoroughly researched every aspect to portray the characters and storyline correctly which made the story seem very real and paced perfectly, nothing felt rushed but I would have loved a epilogue set a few years after the ending to catch up with Jonny & Niamh!!
I read this book as part of a book challenge because the author is a member of my book club and to be honest I didn't read the blurb and assumed it was a chick lit/romance which really isn't my thing! Within the first chapter I realised my mistake (thank god) and quickly became engrossed in the lives of Jonny and Niamh. This YA novel deals with love, grief, friendship and family in a delicate and compassionate way.
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It's a fantastic story about ordinary people who go through some very tough times.Read more