Content Warnings: parental abandonment, death of a parent, foster care, fatphobia, underage drinking
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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.
As much as I was looking forward to Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things and wanted to like it – it just wasn’t for me.
For the first few chapters, things went well. The author’s voice is immediately quirky and fun with a dramatic flair. As the book continued though it started to become too much. Similes and metaphors were constant and flowery, the pacing was all over the place, and overall it was repetitive.
The story was going nowhere. Edie pines after Sebastian, crushes on Henry while simultaneously hating him, wears clothes and attends parties she doesn’t want to and says she’ll never do it again the next day. Sometimes there would be references to Edie’s feud with her former best friend sprinkled in to mix things up. This cycle repeated about three or four times during the first half of the book before I gave up.
When it comes to the characters, none of them were particularly likable. They were all painfully stereotypical and had no redeeming qualities. It also felt awkward with all of them in the story together because they didn’t seem to mesh. Somehow it was hard to tell any of them apart but at the same time, they clashed horribly.
This is a Jane Austen retelling (Mansfield Park) so maybe I would have appreciated it more if I was familiar with her works? I’m honestly not sure. All I know is there are too many books waiting to be read for me to keep trying to force my way through this one.
A physical ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Are you a Jane Austen fan? Do you think you’ll be giving Edie’s story a chance? Let me know in the comments!