Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre is a book that I picked up unsure of what to expect. It is thrilling and mysterious, and it blends multiple genres to create something that I have never seen before. I enjoyed the main character and her determination to makes things right in her new town, however the ending didn’t work out for me, and it impacted my enjoyment of the book. This is still a fantastic read, but I would have enjoyed a different outcome.Title: Heartwood Box
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
A dark, romantic YA suspense novel with an SF edge and plenty of drama, layering the secrets we keep and how appearances can deceive, from the New York Times bestselling author.
In this tiny, terrifying town, the lost are never found. When Araceli Flores Harper is sent to live with her great-aunt Ottilie in her ramshackle Victorian home, the plan is simple. She'll buckle down and get ready for college. Life won't be exciting, but she'll cope, right?
Wrong. From the start, things are very, very wrong. Her great-aunt still leaves food for the husband who went missing twenty years ago, and local businesses are plastered with MISSING posters. There are unexplained lights in the woods and a mysterious lab just beyond the city limits that the locals don't talk about. Ever. When she starts receiving mysterious letters that seem to be coming from the past, she suspects someone of pranking her or trying to drive her out of her mind. To solve these riddles and bring the lost home again, Araceli must delve into a truly diabolical conspiracy, but some secrets fight to stay buried...
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: Heartwood Box
This book takes place in a mysterious town in which people suddenly disappear. The main character finds a wooden box with a letter inside and decides to write back as part of a school assignment, but she ends up receiving a reply from a boy named Oliver. As it turns out, Oliver is a soldier in World War I. I enjoyed how the book is a mix of genres, from contemporary to sci fi to thriller. As well, it is fast paced, and the writing style is very suspenseful. This is such a gripping read that I had trouble putting down.
❀ Captivating Main Character
Araceli is an enjoyable character, and I liked how she is always willing to take action. She is brave and truly wants the best for people, and she uses her communication link to the past to help out the soldiers. For instance, she is able to send battle information which in turn saves the lives of many. As well, I found Araceli’s voice to be captivating and realistic for her age, which is an important aspect for me. Ultimately, I found her character to be likeable and believable.
❀ Dramatic Ending
To me, this book would have been around 4 stars, or even 4.5, but the ending didn’t satisfy me at all. I can’t go into details without spoiling, but the way the romance works out and the whole multi-generational thing take a wild turn. I appreciate the efforts made to tie everything together, and I can see some people enjoying the end, however, I was a little bit uncomfortable with the result. Normally, the ending of a book wouldn’t influence my opinion too much, but this case was quite dramatic.
Heartwood Box is a unique story that blends multiple genres. I loved the concept as well as the main character, but the ending frustrated me and heavily impacted my overall enjoyment of the book. I would still recommend this one to those who are looking for a mysterious and fresh novel.