"When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?" - Goodreads
These Hearts We Sold was one of those books that I got through very quickly. It captured my attention from the first sentence, and the more I got into the story and learned more about the Heartless (humans who traded their hearts to a Demon in exchange for a deal), the demons, etc. the more I sunk into this alternate reality where Demons are real and make deals with humans for body parts.
There was something so simple yet engaging about the writing, a quiet beauty that I think matched Dee, our MC's personality, with the occasional burst of action that also mirrored her relentless anxiety.
I liked the story for several reasons. I am always a fan of mixing fantasy elements with the real world. In this case the Demons and their deals (and the reasoning behind that) serve to highlight very real, very personal issues, because despite the demons and the almost-portals (yeah, it has some sci-fi elements as well), this is very much a story about freedom, about how not all abuse is physical, about love and letting go.
Dee is a strong character not only because she handles emotional abuse and manipulation from her parents, but because she learns that it is okay to walk away and put her self first, while still managing to be selfless.
This review is all over the place, I know, but bare with me. There was romance, without it being overbearing, there was a little bit of backstory on the other Heartless (how they lost their hearts), there was saving the world and representation. A little bit of everything.
The Hearts We Sold could have been a five-star read, but it lacked, I think, a little fleshing out when it came to the other "Heartless". You are given enough to know their approximate motivations, but I think one or two more chapters in their perspectives would have been great (especially in Cal and...the girl who's name I've forgotten *shifty eyes* cases). I think my main issue is that although I liked the characters, there was something missing which made me not really be able to connect or commiserate with them fully. Sad things happened and my level of sadness, though not non-existent, barely registered. It also didn't help that certain major i.e. affecting-the-life-of-another-character actions occurred, the major consequences of which were almost brushed off (I'm not the only one who noticed this).
Over all, what makes These Hearts We Sold work is the general concept of the story and the writing itself. It is a fast-paced read that flows, the writing descriptive without being too flowery, with a good mix of character work and action.
(Some) Memorable Quotes:
““She became her own knight; she collected those broken promises and whispered apologies and fashioned them into armor.”
“Fairy tales with all the shine taken away from them were simply stories of desperation. Of hungry wolves devouring children and jealous stepsisters who hacked off their own toes to fit inside a glass slipper.”
“Actions fueled by desperation. They were the worst kinds of decisions, because desperate people could see the error of their ways and simply not care. They would rush headlong into a bad situation because they could see no other options.”
“Standing on the edge of that darkness, she felt the stirrings of reckless want. A wild sort of bravery beat within her, taking up the hollow space in her chest where a heart should have resided.”
She had walked willingly into a fairy tale, into a world where she could trade her heart for her freedom. She may as well have donned a red cloak and strode into a darkened forest. She had always known there would be wolves.
If anyone has read These Hearts We Sold, let us know what you think in the comments below! Comments also open to further book/movie/show recommendations, anything you’d like to see reviewed, or general feedback. We’d love to hear what you have to say!