This is a pure book review, written about an hour after finishing to read “Instructions for a Secondhand Heart”, by Tamsyn Murray. Hour in which I calmed down and found my words to be able to talk again, processed every feeling I went through while reading the book and tried to tame my tears, even though I know I would start crying again if I only looked at its cover. And no, it’s not the way it’s designed, but it’s the summative and representative phrase written at the bottom of it- “When life unravels, only love can stitch you back together”.

After reading a really good book in the month of April of this year, I became dependent of the emotions delievered by books. Since then, I have looked for books that could awaken in me similar feelings to the ones felt back in April, but none of them did it the way „Instructions for a Secondhand Heart did”. This book caused ponds of tears in my room, but this is exactly what I’ve been looking for!

This book presents the life stories of two young teenagers, Jonny and Niamh, who harden as they encounter moving tragedies no kids their ages should live.

Jonny receives the most beautiful and unexpected gift, the chance at life, a few days before turning fifteen, after years spent in hospital, blaming himself for waiting for the day a person would die, so that he would live. He is way too old and the chances he would have got the right sized heart were way too low.  But behold, that day has come. The day one family reunites, but one falls apart.

Niamh goes through the tragedy of her life, that doesn’t only rock her parents and everyone who knew Leo, but also every seemingly strong particle in her, despite expectations. The perfect brother has died, but his perfection doesn’t know death.

Leo’s heart beats in Jonny’s chest. And Jonny can finally find his place in this world and do everything he hoped to do when he was in hospital along her lifetime friend, who suffers from Leukemia. Will his leaving affect their relationship or will they be the same?  Will Emily continue fighting?

Jonny and Niamh restart their lives on the same day. New fresh beginnings, but they have to firstly erase from their brains what happened before. But how can they ever do that when they keep getting reminded of the past? How can they ever do that when the feeling of guilt keeps growing in them and haunts them wherever they go, no matter how hard they try to abolish it? Will they ever succeed to find who they are? Will they do it alone?

We see, through these sick, but innocent children, that death has no age and that life can bring you the unexpected whenever.

We see grieving families learning how to deal with the holes in their hearts.

The author, Tamsyn Murray, teaches us, through this book, to appreciate life because not all of us get the chance to live it. We learn that gifts can be taken as well as they can be given. And finally, we learn that the only way we can heal our hearts is through love.

Through these characters, we learn to embrace who we really are, without fearing how we might be perceived. We learn that hiding our feelings and problems does not solve them. And finally, we learn that we can all find the person that understands us and that we understand, despite what we believe!

“Instructions for a Secondhand Heart” is by far, a Roller Coaster of emotions, that can make you laugh and over two minutes shed all the tears you have got. Worth reading is way too little to be said, but I guarantee you won’t regret doing it!

Have a Happy New Year!!!

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