Friday, June 11, 2021

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier


So I don't know if you know this about me but I am a total hoe for thrillers that like to get their freak on. Like, books that are about fucked-up women coming to terms with their fucked-up pasts while living their fucked-up presents... it is my literal favorite trope. So obviously when I heard about the premise of JAR OF HEARTS, my screamed "YAAAAASS" could be heard echoing over all of the hills and valleys of California. Even better, my friend, Heather, agreed to BR it with me! Good books with good friends? Cue an even louder YAS.

The premise of JAR OF HEARTS is pretty similar to a lot of books I've read and loved. Dual timeline. Murder. Estranged friends. Fucked-up families. Toxic relationships. Geo, Kaiser, and Angela were inseparable as friends until a boy and a murder wedged them apart. In the present tense, we see Geo on her way to jail, for being an accomplice to her best friend's murder. The actual murderer? Her childhood lover, Calvin. Or is he? The truth may be more complicated.

After serving her time-- which is totally heinous and very Orange Is the New Black-- Geo tries to return to normality. But Kaiser is now a cop and isn't totally convinced of her innocence. Calvin has escaped custody and might be returning for revenge. Oh, and Angela is still dead but now other women are turning up murdered in the same way. So you know, it's just a typical day in Fucked-Up Thriller Land. The narration is a bit unreliable narrator-y because of the dual timelines, which is one of my favorite mediums of story-telling because it becomes an almost call-and-answer for the plot. I thought this part of the book was pretty well done and it added a ton of suspense.

In fact, for 80% of this book, I was sitting perched on the edge of my seat holding back All The Screams. Parts of this book were just so emotionally devastating. My favorite parts of the book were the prison politics and the backstory of Angela and Geo's teenage friendship. The ending was a little strange. I think ultimately I did like it but it had a similar twist to another book I've read, so I actually saw all the twists coming. Like, I literally predicted what would happen as soon as the first clue popped up. So. There was just one thing that didn't really make sense to me and it felt like it didn't fit. If I were the editor, I would have tapped the other an email and been like, "GIRL. WHAT ARE YOU DOING."

Overall, I really liked it. I've read other books by this author, too, and enjoyed those as well, and after this one, I'm thinking I will probably have to read even more.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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