Skip to main content

Book Review: Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid

Black Heart BlueTitle: Black Heart Blue
Author: Louisa Reid
Series: Standalone
Pages:  266
Publisher: Puffin
Date of Publication: 10th May 2012
Source: Publisher Event*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Hephzibah: You've no idea what it's like having a freak for a sister.

Rebecca: Born first, prettier, Hephzi's always been the popular one.

The Father: When he was busy with his bottle we were usually safe. Usually.

The Mother: Her specialist subject was misery and lessons of painful silence ...

Hepzibah and Rebecca are twins. One beautiful, one disfigured. Trapped with their loveless parents, they dream of a normal life. But when one twin tragically dies, the other must find a way to escape. Because if she doesn't, she'll end up like her sister.

My Thoughts:
I never know what to expect from these kind of books. I've read similar books before and sometimes I think they're incredible, and other times I think they could have been incredible yet there was something missing - I didn't feel enough pity for the characters or I couldn't understand something that was going on. And Black Heart Blue is one of the better books about domestic violence that I've read, yet I still feel as though there was something lacking, something else I needed, to be able to fully engage in the story.

For the first 75 pages or so, I found it quite slow. I was eager to find out how Rebecca would escape from her dad and find out what really happened to Hephzi, but I thought it took a little bit too long to really get to what I wanted from the story. I feel like domestic violence is something I know very little about - luckily I've never come across it apart from in my PSHE lessons at school, and therefore I'm not really sure about how I feel about the book. On the one hand, I found it interesting to read and said PSHE lessons make more sense now, but on the other it was horrible to read about and some of the things that their father did to them were awful.

I found I wanted to know why the twins' father was the way he was, why he abused them so. I wanted to know what could possibly drive him to be so cruel, and to his own children. We're given a reason at the end but I wanted to know sooner, I wanted more detail, to see if I could possibly understand him. And even though I probably wouldn't be able to, I'd still like to know. I feel like now, having read Black Heart Blue, I have a lot of unanswered questions floating around in my head and some thoughts that I can't quite put into words, and that, I think, is what was missing for me.

However, once I got past the beginning, I began to really engage in the story and feel invested in the characters. I didn't enjoy it, exactly - it's not a happy book - but I felt that I needed to keep reading to make sure that Rebecca would be able to reveal the secret behind Hephzi's death, and get out alive. I loved the way it was told in 'Before' and 'After' Hephzi's death - it gave us a chance to get to know both sisters and discover what we could about their difficult little world.

I felt I could relate to Rebecca more than Hephzi, but I thought Hephzi's ventures into the real world and rebelling against her parents were more exciting and interesting to read about, even though I didn't really like her. She annoyed me and I thought she was too obsessed with fitting in, and while I could sympathise with her and try and understand that it's because of her home life, it still got on my nerves when she ditched Rebecca because she was ugly and disfigured. She didn't really understand that all the difficulties she was having, in going to school and fitting in, were also being suffered even more by Rebecca, because of her face, and it made me dislike her, because she was really quite self-centred.

Overall, Black Heart Blue is a very powerful, very thought-provoking debut novel from Louisa Reid. If you're looking for something poignant, something that you can learn something from, then this is the book for you. I'd recommend to fans of 'issues' books, as this is one of the best I've read in a long time.


  1. I really fancy reading this one but I think I've been putting it off because its quite obviously something that will be classed as "mis lit" in the adult section and that doesnt really usually appeal to me. I want to try it but I fear it'll lack something for me as well… I might give it a go eventually but I aint rushing out to buy it. Thanks for your honest review!

  2. This book sounds really interesting, and I really want to read it, but I might wait until I'm in the mood for something a little more serious and Issue-y. Thanks for the review!

  3. Luv ur blog :D **New Follower**


Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! :D I love comments, so comment away! :D

*I am no longer accepting blog awards :( I do not have time to go through all the things that come with it, and though I'm honoured you thought of me, I'm sure you can find someone who will love it, and be able to carry out the rules :)

Popular posts from this blog

REVIEW: A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

Hello all! Hope you're all enjoying the summer! I'm currently on holiday in a huge castle in the South of France and enjoying relaxing, playing games, and of course reading a lot!  Today's post is a review of a dreamy summer romance that's perfect for your holiday TBRs! Title:  A Sky Painted Gold Author:  Laura Wood Series:   n/a Pages:   356 Publisher:  Scholastic Date of Publication:  5th July, 2018 Source:  Publisher for review* Synopsis from Goodreads: Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer - a handsome, dashing brother and sister - Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams. But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions... And is there something darker lurking at the

Book Review: Insight by Jamie Magee

Title: Insight Author: Jamie Magee Series: Insight #1 Pages: 314 Date of UK Publications: July 20th 2010 Source: Received free for a blog tour/event Synopsis from Goodreads: Before that fateful summer night, Willow had balanced the insight of emotion, and the vivid images. That night, the figure in her nightmare marked her wrist with a star, giving her father no choice but to tell Willow a family secret that would abruptly change life, as she knew it, forever. Before Willow had time to absorb the shock of her father's secret, her soul mate that had shared every stunning dream with her, found her, and darkness captured her closest friends. In order to save them, she must weave through broken myths and the undeniable power of the Zodiac. In the end, Willow discovers that at the moment of our birth we are all given a divine gift. My Thoughts: Insight was a good book. The plot was well thought out, and the characters were complex and real. It was a strong debut novel,

REVIEW: Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood

Good morning! Hope you're having a good week! Today I have a review for one of the biggest titles at YALC this year. Title:  Floored Author:  Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood Series:  n/a Pages:   320 Publisher:  Macmillan Date of Publication:  12th July, 2018 Synopsis from Goodreads: When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn't that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he's the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn't match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn't as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who's losing her sight but won't admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shoul