Title: Out Of Heart
Author: Irfan Master
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: April 20th 2017
Donating your heart is the most precious gift of all.
Adam is a teenage boy who lives with his mum and younger sister. His dad has left them although lives close by. His sister no longer speaks. His mum works two jobs. Adam feels the weight of the world upon his shoulders.
Then his grandfather dies and in doing so he donates a very precious gift – his heart.
William is the recipient of Adam’s grandfather’s heart. He has no family and feels rootless and alone. In fact, he feels no particular reason to live. And then he meets Adam’s family.
William has received much, but it appears that he has much to offer Adam and his family too.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
Trigger warning for domestic violence.
Out Of Heart is many things. Beautifully written. Poetic. Artistic. It deals with important themes like family, unlikely friendships, loss, grief and healing. But, less than 300 pages long, it’s one of the shortest contemporary novels I’ve read, and coupled with the slow pace and lack of plot it just really wasn’t for me.
Despite the lack of depth to the book, I really enjoyed Adam’s character, quiet but with so much to share with the world. The word streams and illustrations really helped his character, constantly writing and sketching in a notebook, to come off the page. Unfortunately, he was the only character who didn’t feel one-dimensional.
Adam’s sister is also a quiet one. After a traumatic experience when she was younger, Farah no longer speaks, and William doesn’t engage in much conversation either. The overall tone of the book is therefore quite calm, even in moments of tension and drama. Given the subject matter of the book, this wasn’t necessarily a negative. I liked many of the aspects it dealt with as well as the seamless inclusion of diverse characters. That being said, there were some ableist comments between Adam and his friend, Cans, that just weren’t needed.
Overall, I finished this book with mixed feelings. Irfan Master has a beautiful way with words, but I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters or their experiences.