Glass Heart

Any hopelessly romantic reader of Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight series or books like Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater or The Temptation by Alisa Valdes will predictably enjoy Amy Garvey’s Cold Kiss sequel, Glass Heart.  The book features the same impossibly perfect male protagonist—handsome, loyal, and doting—operating in a plot imbued with paranormal adventure and romance.

Set in December, the story describes the relationship and conflicts faced by the sixteen-year-old stars, psychic Gabriel DeMarnes and magician Wren Darby who operate in a world where no one believes magic exists, so it is pretty easy to get away with it.  That is until Bay and Fiona start pranking and playing carelessly with darker arts, until a boy mysteriously disappears, and until Gabriel develops debilitating headaches.

Whether readers literally believe in magic or not, the adolescent conflicts are still real: searching for acceptance in a world that marginalizes differences while coping with trigonometry, “Bride of Frankenstein hair” (20), no driver’s license, and the challenges and expectations of social relationships.  Wren sees her magic, her power, as a gift, not as an inherited disease or a weird, dangerous cult, but she also experiences the intoxicating and dangerous abuse of power.  As a metaphor, one can look at magic as a powerful talent—some talents are accepted; others are not.  Some talents are ascribed to certain genders or encouraged; others are socially discouraged.  Through Wren, readers experience how it might feel to be unable to share a talent, unable to do what one was meant or built to do and forced to keep a secret that renders one impotent.

The plot also explores definitions of life and love: how life can operate in a feel good routine, like favorite jeans—“comfortable, familiar, normal” (178)—or how it can fill with heart shattering events like loss and separation.  Love can take on either of those extremes, as well.  Love has the power to produce a “happy whoosh,” a surprising rush inside us, rendering life amazing, as if the whole world has “a bright smear of happiness on top” (4) or as if “a candy buzz, or the first dizzying swoop of beer in your stomach” (46) pulses pleasantly.  Although love can “fill every crack, soothe every smarting, rough place inside” (5), it also makes us fragile, breakable, and vulnerable—allowing loved ones to  see through us like glass and know how to hurt us deeply or where to start mending.

  • Posted by Donna

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