review: “the heart is not a size” March 16, 2010Posted by Katie in reviews.
Tags: arc, realistic fiction
The Heart Is Not a Size by Beth Kephart.
HarperTeen // ARC // 256 pages
Reviewed from ARC provided by Traveling ARC Tours.
Georgia has always been known as the reliable teenager – she is the one parents point and say, “Why can’t you be more like Georgia?” But her life isn’t perfect, and being reliable means keeping secrets, secrets about her friends and secrets about herself. When Georgia finds out about a service opportunity to visit Anapra (a village in Mexico), she convinces Riley – her best friend – to come with her. While in Anapra, the group works to build a community bathroom and Georgia is faced with new challenges – including figuring out exactly which secrets she should be keeping.
Like “Nothing But Ghosts,” I regretted closing the book because it meant that I had to leave the world that Kephart created. Where “Nothing But Ghosts” is a book about grief, about moving on – “The Heart is Not a Size” is about friendship, finding one’s place in the world.
Georgia and Riley are this wonderful pair of friends, very different, each with their own struggles, and very human – they do not have a perfect friendship by any means. But what they do have is this underlying sense of loyalty to one another. Even when their friendship is tested, I feel like they each still care about one another.
The supporting characters in the novel are varied, distinctive. While some are stronger than others, they still add a great dynamic, bringing Georgia’s world and Anapra to life. Riley, in particular, is a truly multilayered, complex character. I almost wished I could get inside her head and really figure her out.
I felt very connected to Georgia – I was always the responsible friend and I felt a lot of parental pressure. It doesn’t surprise me that one of the secrets Georgia is keeping (no spoiler here, Georgia states this very early on in the novel) is her own panic attacks. While I was going to college, I had several friends who admitted that they had struggled with panic attacks in high school. I even had some friends who continued to have attacks throughout college. It really surprised me to see a main character in YA who had such attacks. (Sidenote: let me know if you know of other YA that has panic attacks in the novel.)
I’ve already pre-ordered this book for myself and for my library. I cannot wait to connect readers with this story.