ARC Review: Heartwood Box

Heartwood Box

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.**

This was blurbed to be Stranger Things meets The Lake House. How does a reader say no to something like that?! Sign me up! It was a valid description, however, the overall story itself felt messy, jumbled, and crammed with too many side stories. I was confused as to what the overall focus of the story was supposed to be. I read sci-fi, contemporary, mystery/thriller, and coming of age. Make up your mind! This would have been so much better as either a sci-fi or mystery/thriller, but certainly not all four genres forced into one.

The contemporary side of the story lacked any real emotion or depth. I never felt a romantic connection between Araceli, the protagonist, and the random boy she was writing letters to. It came across as insta-love and we all know how I feel about that topic. If this had been a contemporary by itself, I would have DNFd without giving a second thought.

The mystery/thriller side of the story was lacking as well because I never felt a sense of urgency. I never felt that Araceli and her group of stereotypical friends were ever in any danger. They were disappearing but I was more curious about why but I wasn’t loosing sleep over this question.

This story had potential but the execution was what ruined it for me. The story had no flow whatsoever. The conversations between character felt forced and awkward. I found myself skipping and skimming a lot of the dialogue just so I could get through this. By the time I got to the end of the story, I was so disappointed. The ending felt rushed and unfulfilling.

I was not able to connect to any of the characters as they felt shallow and undeveloped. I didn’t know their likes, dislikes, characteristics, or anything substantial. I only knew the basic information on Araceli so I could not ever get behind her or her actions. Everything that the characters were good at felt convenient. There is a dance team at the new school Araceli attends and it’s the peak of popularity? Oh good! Because Araceli happens to be amazing at dancing. There are a lot of people disappearing in this new town that Araceli moved to? Swell! Her parents happen to be investigative reporters and know their way around war zones so she knows just what to do! Give me a break. Solutions just came too easy and they were not believable at all.

I am not upset that I read this book, I adore this author, but the overall story that I read was not what I expected.

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