Wednesday 21 June 2017

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Review: Out of Heart by Irfan Master

Out of Heart by Irfan MasterNetGalley ReviewerOut of Heart by Irfan Master (eProof) - Donating your heart is the most precious gift of all.

Adam is a teenage boy who lives with his mum and younger sister. His dad has left them although lives close by. His sister no longer speaks. His mum works two jobs. Adam feels the weight of the world upon his shoulders.

Then his grandfather dies and in doing so he donates a very precious gift - his heart.

William is the recipient of Adam's grandfather's heart. He has no family and feels rootless and alone. In fact, he feels no particular reason to live. And then he meets Adam's family.

William has received much, but it appears that he has much to offer Adam and his family too.

A powerful tale of love and strength in adversity.
From Goodreads.

I was really intrigued by Out of Heart by Irfan Master when I first heard about it. There have been a few YA books that deal with heart transplants, but for the most part, they are romances focusing on the grief of a girl losing her boyfriend, and slowly finding love again in the guy who now has his heart. With Out of Heart, however, it's the story of how a boy, Adam's grandfather dies and donates his heart, which goes to a man William, and how William affects Adam's family, and vice versa. It wasn't your usual YA heart transplant story, and so I was really interested, expecting an emotional read. But I finished it with mixed feelings, I'm sad to say.

Out of Heart is beautifully written. It's one of those quiet books I usually love, slowly unfolding it's story, leaving me immersed and relaxed. It deals with some tough subjects; Adam's father is no longer on the scene, due to beating his family; his sister, Farah, is unable to speak; his grandfather, Dadda, has apparently left behind some debt to loan sharks, and they're also dealing with their grief.

The problem I had with the book is not a huge deal happens. William, the man (who I originally thought was another teenager from the blurb, but is actually a grown man) who receives Dadda's heart kind of accidentally becomes a part of Adam's family when he visits one day. He just wanted to meet them.n This mad had died, and in doing so, saved William's life. The only problem is William doesn't have much of a life. No family, no friends, no job, no home. But when he meets the Shah family, he doesn't really leave. He does leave, he goes back to the hostel he stays at, but he comes back every day, and slowly becomes part of the family. Both Adam and his mum are a little wary of him at first, but Farah loves him, and slowly Adam and his Mum come round to him, too. He genuinely becomes part of their family. And that's so special to him, to be loved. There's never anything between him and Adam's mum, it's not a romance, he's just a family member. And there's something about William that heals the Shah family, too - though I couldn't say what it is. I think it's just that he's a good guy? The Shah family have been through so much, and it's like William's presence helps to heal those wounds.

But that's it, really. William now spends time at the Shah's family, and they spend time with him. That is the story. Of course, there are other, smaller elements; Adam's graffiti, his relationship with a girl he likes, how his dad tries to worm his way back in. But mainly, it's just about William and the Shah's, and it doesn't really seem to go anywhere, or have much point to it. And with the ending, I was left thinking why? What was the point? I mean, for the characters, I kind of get it, though I can't explain due to spoilers, but for me, as a reader, what was the point? There was no real plot that was kept moving. William joins the family, and that's it until the end. It was beautifully written, and I enjoyed that part of it, but I also feel like I wasted my time. I feel there isn't a huge amount to this book.

There was also a problematic part to the book where Adam's best friend Cans tells Adam he shouldn't be so quiet and randomly pull out his notebook - in which he is always drawing or jotting down wordplay to help him understand his thoughts - because people will think he's weird, that he's autistic. He's not. Cans also links being autistic with having mental health problems, when they're not the same. And Cans says they'll think he's "psycho", and he will be "admitted", implying those with mental illness get locked up. This is obviously not the case, and sure, Cans is 15, and those who are ignorant and have no experience of autism or mental health may say these things... but it was just unnecessary. Sure, Adam pulling out his notebook randomly to sketch or write down his thoughts is a little quirky, but nobody else questions it or brings it up, nobody else thinks about it like Cans does.. It's just what Adam does. It was ableist and really unnecessary.

So sadly Out of Heart isn't for me. But I enjoyed the writing enough to want to read Master's other book, A Beautiful Lie, at some point.

The Ramadan Readathon

Out of Heart by Irfan Master has been reviewed as part of the Ramadan Readathon.

Thank you to Hot Key Books via NetGalley for the eProof.

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Published: 20th April 2017
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Irfan Master's Website

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for linking this to the British Books Challenge x