ARC Review: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones | MUST READ!

Title: The Hearts We Sold
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Pages: 400 pages
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Source: ARC from the publisher
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars
When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

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**Content warnings: emotional abuse, alcohol addiction, and characters dealing with depression or anxiety**

**This review will be laden with exaggerations and fangirling because I fucking loved this book so much***

Wow. Just wow. Funny story behind this book actually. I received a huge summer package from The NOVL (the publisher) and this was one of the books included, however I didn't even bat an eyelash at it or pay any attention to it. I actually said to my friend, "I'll just give it away since I'm probably not going to read it." That is until I accidentally stumbled across its synopsis on Goodreads. After that, I pushed off all the books on my priority list to read this book. And thank god I did. 

The Hearts We Sold takes place in a world where humans are aware of demons. They may not know the demons' true purpose in appearing but they do know that they are willing to barter. In fact, many people have given their limbs to obtain something precious from the demons, who I like to think of as fairy godmothers. It mainly follows a girl named Deirdre (Dee) Moreno. Once Dee finds out that the school is cutting off her merit scholarship, she knows she is screwed. She is living in a toxic household with alcoholic parents and an emotionally abusive father that thinks her being in that school is useless. He refuses to help her pay the tuition fee. Without any way to support herself and a determination to stay in school and stay away from her household, she does the only thing she can think of. She makes a deal with the devil. But when the demon that appears wants more than just a limb, she ends up leasing her heart to him for two years. 

If you're a fan of the classic Rumpelstiltskin fairytale, you're going to enjoy this storyline. For some reason, the demon in this book reminded me of little ole' rumpy who would appear to the miller's daughter when she needed him the most. This book also reminded me a lot of Holly Black's work, specifically The Coldest Girl In Coldtown. It has a very dark and gothic kind of feel to it based on the smallest details like the places we are introduced to and the car that James drives. 

Besides the unique plot, I also really enjoyed the characters and the exploration of their motivations. This book was much more than a plot surrounding a human-demon bartering system. This book explores self-doubt, making decisions and living with the consequences. We get that "uh oh what have I done" moment, which I freaking loved. I loved how the author set up the entire beginning of the book to almost condone this trading between humans and demons. She made it seem very commonplace and acceptable to the society, but little do we know that it is much more than that. The book also explores one's desires and how far people are willing to go when they are seeking something in the moment. 

There are such small details in this book that made it to be so fantastic. Small lines of banter between the group made me laugh. The descriptions of the setting that made gooseflesh appear on my skin. There were even several lines in the book that revealed the truth about human nature and our motivations. 

The characters were all my children. It got to the point where I was scared to continue reading in fear of seeing one of them end up dead because they were putting their lives at risk to accomplish tasks for the demon. I shared sympathy for the characters and most importantly, I understood their reasons for making the trade even if I wouldn't have done the same thing in their situations. Not to mention that the main character is half Latino. There was also side characters on the LGBT+ spectrum.

Lloyd-Jones has a knack for presenting such real, authentic and flawed characters. We have the main character, who is most of the time insecure about relationships and getting close to other people. We see her growth through this fear as she meets James. Also with the demon himself! Throughout the entire book he's portrayed as an uncaring individual, but through working with this group of heartless people he even learns something about himself.

Aaaaannnndddd wait till you see the ending this book has got in store for ya, phew! Okay fair warning it's kind of tragic, so get those tissues ready. The magic system (is that the right term?) was quite a sight. At first you think okay this is going to be a paranormal contemporary about a girl who gives up her heart but falls in love, but noooooo. You, my friend, should be prepared to be taken on a fantasy, sci fi and magical journey to another universe (literally). 

Long story short, I loved this book. It's just ironic to me how a book I had no interest in reading has become one of my favorites of this entire year. The Hearts We Sold is a dark and compelling story. We as readers don't normally expect a book to push us to reevaluate everything about our nature or the way we think, but this book had that effect. If you're looking for a read that is unique from anything on the market but still has that YA feel and romance we all know and love, preorder this book right away.

I haven't seen much hype for this book, which is unfortunate. Such a book requires all the love and support it can get. I only hope this review will get you one step closer in becoming interested. Thank you for reading! 

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  1. Ahh I can't wait to read this book! It sounds as fantastic as I hoped it would be. Thanks for sharing! <3

    1. Yay! If you do end up picking it up, just know my dms will be open to you every step of the way!

  2. I've been so excited for this book so seeing that you loved it so much makes me even MORE excited!!

    1. Aww yass girl! I'm always glad that part of this 'job' makes people happy to read some books they've heard about maybe once or twice and it eventually becomes their favorites.

  3. This book sounds like an awesome read! I'm always looking for new and unique books to get my hands on, so I'll be sure to check this one out the next time I need something new to read. Great review, keep up the good writing!


    1. Please! I'm so glad you've taken an interest in it!


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