Sunday, April 26, 2020

Hart and Seoul by Kristen Burnham - ADVISABLE

Hart and Seoul by Kristen Burnham, 256 pages. Mascot Books, 2019. $18.

Language: PG (4 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG13



Merri was excited to see her best friend and her boyfriend after a two-month trip to Australia during the summer before senior year, but now they’re ignoring her messages. Instead, Merri is stuck with the jerk nephew visiting his aunt next door who seems just as annoyed at the play dates arranged for them, until his secrets start to be revealed. Maybe Merri should have stayed in Australia -- everything was simpler there.

Burnham was not subtle about her foreshadowing, and I was constantly conflicted as I flipped between excitement for what was going on and dread for the obvious blow up waiting to happen. Merri’s character is engagingly expressive and felt like someone I’d want to be friends with, making the anticipation of what would go wrong that much worse. I was worried about an overly cheesy ending, but Burnham handled it better than I could have imagined; I am immensely satisfied. It was also fun to read the K-pop and K-drama references throughout the book, so those in the know can look forward to those. The violence rating is for discussion of suicide.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

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