by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Published on August 8, 2017 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
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When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.
With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?
This book was a test of patience. How long can the reader wait for something to happen? The weird thing is that stuff did happen but it felt like it didn’t. Wrapping up with an anticlimactic ending, this book just bored me.
The Hearts We Sold had an interesting premise. Demons are out in the world and they’ll grant you one wish in exchange for a body part. In the first chapter, you even meet a demon who knits (I personally thought it was amusing). And then the story takes off. Kind of.
Present day scenes alternate with info dump backstories for each of the characters working for the demon, a team that protagonist Dee joins. Their job is to close voids opening in the world. Alright cool….but now what?
That’s one of the ways this book just fell flat. You have a group of teens working for a demon to protect their world but it never felt like it was all that big a deal if they weren’t the ones doing the job. It was a “why them” moment for me.
Furthermore, the characters were just as one-dimensional. Each was defined by the parts of their past that brought them to the point of making a deal with the demon but beyond that, they were pretty blank. They played their particular role on the team but weren’t developed enough for me to care about them.
Dee had a bad home life. That’s made very clear time and again and ends up being why she thinks she has to make her deal. But then it’s like the whole reason for the deal falls to the wayside to make room for this romance with another team member, James. Except that subplot felt like it was just there to make the ending something more than it was.
The ending, by the way, had me shaking my head and setting the book aside.
Stopping supernatural creatures from entering the mundane world. Working as a teen team to save the world. That on its own is not all that original and I’ve seen it done better (or at least in more interesting ways). But this book wasn’t all that bad. The supernatural side of things is toned down a bit compared to other books I’ve read but there just wasn’t enough substance behind the characters and story for me to feel fully invested in this book. It was a very quick read but I had no problem setting it aside when I was done.
If paranormal stories with contemporary settings are your thing, and you’re looking for a book to binge quick, The Hearts We Sold is a good fit for you. As for me, frankly I was just bored with the story. Decent writing. Premise with potential. But not enough meat on the bones for my taste.