Book Review: Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
ashley | Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier was not at all what I was expecting. I read only the first paragraph of the description, which said this was about three friends – one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who wanted to find out the truth – and that was enough to hook me.
I liked that this moved at a rapid pace. We get a little taste of Geo in prison right off the bat, a darker Orange is the New Black if you will, but it doesn’t drag on with unnecessary details or focus too much on her activities while inside. We get a taste of what it’s like, her connections, her life, and then we jump ahead to her release five years later, which is when things start to really get interesting, but continues to move at a quick and suspenseful pace.
The characters were also interesting. The women in the prison weren’t around for too long, but those who were introduced made an impact and were there for a reason. I liked the complicated dynamic between Geo and Kai. Old friends, lots of history, lots of memories and still a bond and sense of caring underneath everything else. Sure, Kai is the reason Geo is in jail, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel a little bad about it, only a little. I liked the layered relationships and the oddball team these old friends made.
But specifically, the relationship between Geo and Calvin is what drives the story. An abusive, manipulative first love, if you will. It wasn’t pleasant to read about, but I think Hillier handled it really well and Geo’s reactions and self awareness and understanding made this a really interesting and complex layer of this story.
I think what I enjoyed most about this was how Hillier dragged the reader along. We were never given full details about the crime off the bat, but the missing details also weren’t so obviously omitted just to keep us in suspense. There were little secretive meanings that were known only to the characters, things that created intrigue and a need to know how it all fits. Even in the end, when the fog starts to clear and the reader begins to see what is happening, even when I had that ‘ah ha’ moment and everything clicked into place, that wasn’t held over my head to keep the suspense going. Hillier confirmed my suspicious, continued the story with more suspense and ended on a note with a twist I think a lot of other authors would have shied away from. I hate being toyed with, but Hillier knows how to play her readers well and give them exactly what they need.
This was not a pleasant book, the crimes are brutal and while they aren’t described in morbid detail, they also aren’t sugar coated. The people are messed up, the villains are somewhat ruthless, and it all comes together perfectly. A little too perfectly in the end with the epilogue, but I won’t dwell too much on that because the rest of the book had me holding my breath and viciously turning pages totally caught up in what was going down.
june 12, 2018