Friday, January 23, 2015

Heart Grow Fonder by Cristy Rey

Heart Grow Fonder
Heart Grow Fonder by Cristy Rey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heart Grow Fonder is a beautifully and sensitively written love story. Jessie suffers from chronic depression and I was impressed by the way that Ms. Rey was able to portray Jessie’s character realistically – keeping her human while showing how her depression affected her life and the lives of those close to her. It seems to me that Ms. Rey has either suffered depression herself or is very close to someone who has as it is the little details about Jessie’s behaviors that demonstrate her intimate knowledge and understanding of the disorder. I have a close relative who suffers from chronic depression and I myself have endured a depressive episode (grief related), so I saw myself and my family member reflected in so many of Jessie’s behaviors (i.e., sitting in front of the television for days, not showering, exhaustion, avoiding people) and her thoughts (knowing that something is wrong with you, even knowing that you are depressed but not caring enough to do something about it). The manner in which I connected to Jessie’s character on a personal level took Heart Grow Fonder from a good read to a great read.

Beyond my personal connection to Jessie, I adored the relationship she had with Tyler. They were more than just friends, they were family to one another and the most important person in each other’s life. It is not an easy bond to forge, but we learn that theirs was forged in blood in high school and they’ve had each other’s back for well over a decade. And understanding the depth of their relationship, I found myself devastated for Tyler when Jessie disappeared and cut off contact with him. While I understood her motives and reasoning, I also understood his pain. I was not surprised by his reaction to her when she initiated contact after months of radio silence and I was glad that he made her aware of just how much her actions hurt him.

Equally as fascinating was her relationship with Boyd. Both were kind of star struck by the other (for different reasons) and this made their initial interactions quite entertaining. I liked that Boyd was drawn to her and got to know Jessie when he “babysat” her for Tyler; this served to deepen their relationship rather than the author going for an insta-love connection. Yes, Boyd was “taken” with her when he first saw her, but he didn’t pretend it was love at first sight. He did acknowledge that he needed her to be part of his life and set out to befriend her with the hope for more eventually but I don’t consider that an unrealistic reaction – an instant connection is not the same as insta-love. Because of this, I was almost as devastated for him as I was for Tyler when Jessie took off. I liked that he emailed her daily even when she didn’t respond, thus giving Jessie a chance to get to know Boyd the person, not Boyd the actor and fall for him. And while Jessie’s depression and his ever increasing fame meant that any chance of a relationship was going to be a hard fought battle on his part, I loved the ultimate resolution that Ms. Rey gave them.

Even when the subject matter is difficult to read, I find books like this – ones in which I am able to relate to the main character on a personal level – to be even more powerful of a read. Typically a book receives a 5-star rating from me when I loved the story so much that I can easily see myself reading it again; however, there are a few cases where a book affects me so deeply that it gets a 5-star rating even if I know it’s unlikely that I will read it again. Heart Grow Fonder falls into this latter category. I may never read it again but I will certainly be reading more of Ms. Rey’s work.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Heart Grow Fonder Tour Stop! blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.

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