Paperback, 352 Pages
YA/ Thriller/ Contemporary/ Sci-Fi
By: Tom Pollock
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 3/4
“It’s the phone, not the eyes, that’s the window to the soul these days.”
Heartstream is not that known of a book. One of my friends picked it on a whim, loved it and gave it 5 stars and I wanted to know what he was so excited about. I found a copy in the hospital’s bookshop during my first on call and I bought it because I was so stressed and wanted something to distract me. As you can guess, I only read a couple of pages and couldn’t focus. I brought it back home, and it stayed on my shelf for slightly more than a year before I decided to read it this month.
I think Heartstream is one of those books that has a very good synopsis and if you wanna know what the book is about I recommend reading it. In short, in a futuristic world, there is an app called Heartstream which makes people share their emotions with other people using the app, the users have patches on their heads that makes it possible. The story follows Cat who along with her friend Evie, are obsessed with a boys band. On the other side we have Amy, who uses the app and goes back home to find a girl with an explosive vest waiting for her!
It is a YA book and I think it is a very important one for this age category because it discusses many important subjects with a focus on social media, cult culture and obsessions! It is a mixture of genres because it is mainly a thriller (Amy’s part) with contemporary (Cat’s story) and Sci-fi (Because of the app). The writing is easy and very gripping, I read the whole book in 2 days. The author tries to end the chapters with cliffhangers so you always want to read the next chapter which is smart!
The characters are very well written and I think they were teenagers for a good reason although there was a wide spectrum of ages -a very smart choice- for different characters which makes it suitable for older readers too. As expected the characters arcs do come together and it was initially hard for me to guess how, but once a small piece of data came into me, I could put one and one together and analyze what happened and I was very close to guessing everything.
The pacing is fast, there is always something happening and the thriller parts make feel that way. I think there were some tropes used that I saw in YA stories before but as a whole, I don’t recall reading similar books so it is still a refreshing and important book in my opinion.
There were a few things I think could have been made better for instance, the world building is interesting but it leaves place for many questions, why do people stream and how was the world changed by this, what do people think about Heartstream because I can see it as something controversal had it been real! The ending is kind of open and I felt it can surely use an epilogue, just a few pages to wrap things up but it didn’t have that and it felt kind of abrupt. Like the author did not what to do and just decided to stop there!
“People could hurt each other without being monsters. And they could love each other without being saints.”
Summary: I enjoyed Heartstream as it was a wild ride from start to finish. I enjoyed the writing and the characters and I think it has a very important message on the dark side of the internet and social media! I just wanted more from the world-building and the ending. Overall, I still enjoyed it and I would recommend it for fans of Black Mirror which it is marketed as!