Review: Hearts, Strings and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

I really wanted to like Hearts, Strings and Other Breakable Things. There were parts that had me wrapped up in it, but overall, this was a real disappointment.

In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers. (Goodreads)

I received an eARC of Hearts, Strings and Other Breakable Things from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book needs trigger warnings for discussions of parental death, life in foster homes, body shaming, a dubiously consensual kiss, and a friendship breakup.

Hearts, Strings and Other Breakable Things had a lot of potential for me. Edie gets adopted by the wealthy family that she hasn’t seen in years that treats her as a charity case when all she wants is to be loved by someone. She wants a family and friends, and eventually, she gets that.

The Romance

As you can guess from the blurb, we’re set up with two romance options – One of them is childhood friends to lovers and the other is enemies to lovers. For once in my life, the friends to lovers romance was not my preferred choice. The enemies to lover relationship with Henry starts out as fake dating to make Sebastian realize he was jealous but then they develop real feelings for each other… and then Edie dumps Henry to be with Sebastian the instant he’s single.

I liked Sebastian as a character, but he made a terrible love interest for both Edie and Claire. Really, he needed to pull his head out of his ass and figure out what he wanted on his own, not jump from one romantic relationship to the next.

Henry was a goddamn delight. He’s the perfect playboy with a heart of gold. He was and the parts of the book where they were together for real were my favorite parts. I feel a little betrayed that they didn’t wind up together in the endgame. Normally I wouldn’t say that, but they spent two-thirds of the book’s timeline building their relationship and making it as strong as it could be. They even wound up in the same city after Edie graduated and that’s definitely Henry on the cover! But no, we don’t get that. We get Sebastian even though he barely put in any work for the relationship. I hope Henry gets someone great in the future. Just saying.

The Family

Most of Edie’s family got very little character development until the very end. It would have been nice to see a lot more of Bert standing up to his wife. I didn’t love that Henry had basically slept with Edie’s cousin Maria and that Maria was so cavalier about her relationship with her almost-fiance until Rupert finally got tired of her constantly being all over other people.

It also really stunk that we barely get a mention of Edie’s mother unless it’s inconvenient for Edie. She should have been much more present in Edie’s mind, in my opinion.

The Friends

Claire was a really two-dimensional antagonist in this story. She was jealous, she was catty, she was the ever-popular “mean girl” to Edie. I liked that some of the other girls stood up to her quietly, and that Edie and Maria got to build a real relationship on their own, but we barely spent any time with them.

There’s a huge plotline of making sure that Edie has enough money to pay for tuition in the fall because her family won’t pay for it, but it really got shafted in the end to make it clear that Edie has made up with her friend and has a happily ever after in college.

Honestly, this book could have been a lot better with a few tweaks. Some things could have been trimmed out or the book with ease. The book could also have been made long enough to properly manage them. In the end, as you can tell, this book really disappointed me on every level.

It might be more your thing, but it certainly wasn’t mine. You can check out the reviews on Goodreads to see if someone else you trust thought differently. If you trust me, though, check out some of my other book reviews.

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