Book Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Posted April 22, 2015 by Stormy in Books / 8 Comments

Things We Know by Heart

by Jessi Kirby

Things We Know by Heart

Expected Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Length: 304 pages
Obtained Via: I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
Publisher: HarperTeen

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When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.



Things We Know by Heart is a beautiful book, but it didn’t pull on my heartstrings like I expected it to do. I firmly predict that I’ll be in the minority on this book, since it’s well-written and has a lot of passion behind it, but there was something in it that left me feeling disconnected from the story in the pages.

I understood where Quinn was coming from at the beginning of the book, and I’m glad that Things We Know by Heart addresses some of the ethical issues with Quinn’s desire to hunt down the person who received Trent’s heart. Quinn realizes that her wishes do not take precedent over Colton’s, and she never plans on speaking to him. It’s sheer accident that lead to them actually meeting face-to-face, and soon Quinn is in too deep to come clean. While this bothered me on one level, I really liked that Quinn grapples with the ethics of what she’s doing with Colton and how she KNOWS that she needs to tell him the truth.

While the story is predictable, Quinn and Colton’s connection is very sweet. These passages were the highlight of the book for me, especially since Kirby utilizes the setting so well. Their scenes together are often romantic without feeling forced. It’s not a steamy romance, but it feels genuine. I totally bought into their connection right away, which is often a hard thing to write well.

That aside, Things We Know by Heart didn’t make much of an impression on me, as evident by my struggle to write more than a few paragraphs in this review. I think the main thing is that it’s just all predictable, except for the premise. And while predictable isn’t always a bad thing, it just means that I don’t have much to say about this book in the end.


Things We Know by Heart is a sweet book that explores life and love, but it’s predictability kept me from really connecting with it. I liked Quinn and Colton, but ultimately that wasn’t enough to bump this one into the “love” category. That being said, Things We Know by Heart is a heartfelt book. 3/5 cupcakes.




3 Stars

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8 responses to “Book Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

  1. Cee

    I felt the exact same way. Although it’s written well, I just couldn’t connect with it. I didn’t feel anything about this book. I think a large part of my disconnect is because the story felt soooo predictable. I wished the heart went to a teenage girl. I wanted to see a friendship happen.

    • Stormy

      Oh man, that would have been awesome if it had gone to another teen girl. Could’ve been an amazing friendship story.

  2. Just from the summary I don’t think this is my kind of book. It does make me think of the movie Return to Me, with David Duchovny and Minnie Driver, where a man falls in love with the woman who gets his wife’s heart.
    I am the recipient of a bone marrow donation, but no one has to die to do that, and it doesn’t even require surgery for either party, just needles. My donor had just turned 18, which is the minimum age. I really admire her taking the time to donate at such a transitional time in life.

  3. I’ve actually read quite a few reviews that were a bit underwhelmed by this book. I think the concept is interesting and I like that you mentioned that the ethical issues are brought up about Quinn seeking out the recipients of the donated organs, because that is something I would definitely wonder about while reading!

    • Stormy

      I think I would have had a much harder time with this novel if the ethical issues hadn’t been addressed. I just wish I had felt the story more.

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