Book Review: Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith


Title: Hearts Unbroken

Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Release Date: October 9, 2018


When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?


This book has strong and relevant themes such as racism, bullying and slut shaming. I was really excited to read this but sad to say that it turned out to be a bit of a let down.

While I liked that it was in a school setting and that Louise, the MC, used her connection with the school paper to report these issues, I wasn’t able to connect with her/any of the characters (well maybe except for Hughie). Aside from not being able to connect with the characters, I also felt like the chapters weren’t related at all. It was so confusing because A LOT of characters were being introduced each chapter and it was hard to see/remember the connection between them.

Maybe I just had high expectations because of the blurb. Unfortunately, the writing of the story wasn’t well executed.

Thanks to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for providing me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quotes:

“All the negativity in the world, I try not to feed it more energy.”

“Hang in there, Lady Lou.” Emily hugged me. “Everybody fucks up sometimes.”

“Let’s take responsibility. Embrace empathy and kindness.”

Soundtrack: The World I Know by Collective Soul

Rating: Purple-FullPurple-FullPurple-HalfNo-StarNo-Star

Buy Links: Goodreads || Amazon || Book Depository
What’s your last disappointing read? Let me know in the comments!

download (8)About the Author:

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Instagram

Cynthia Leitich Smith is best known as an author of fantastical and realistic fiction for young readers.

She is the New York Times best-selling YA author of the award-winning Feral series and Tantalize series. These adventure-fantasies were published by Candlewick Press in the U.S., Walker Books in the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand, and additional publishers around the globe.

She also is the author of several award-winning children’s books, including: Jingle Dancer, Rain Is Not My Indian Name; and Indian Shoes, all published by HarperCollins. In addition, she has published short stories, nonfiction essays, and poetry for young readers.

Cynthia looks forward to the publication of her upcoming YA contemporary realistic novel, Hearts Unbroken (Candlewick, Oct. 2018). It is her first book with a Native protagonist since 2002.


16 thoughts on “Book Review: Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

  1. Aww, that’s such a shame that this was disappointing because it sounds like it has a good premise. Fingers crossed we’ll both find a book that’s better next time! Lovely review though.

    Liked by 1 person

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