Title: Heartstream
Author: Tom Pollock
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Teen/Young adult fiction, Contemporary, Thriller
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description:  HEARTSTREAM: THE APP THAT ALLOWS YOU TO FEEL EVERYYTHING.
Amy Becker is a star.  She’s used Heartstream to broadcast every moment of her mother’s illness.  It’s the realest ,rawest reality TV imaginable, and it’s everywhere.
On the day of her mother’s funeral, she goes home to find a fan of hers in the kitchen.  She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time.
Amy is about to discover just how far true obsession can go.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is an interesting and quite gripping story although I’m not sure I liked the ending. Teenager Amy has spent the last few months experiencing the slow death of her mother, but through it all she’s shared her experiences with followers of a new app that allows them to feel what she is feeling. On the day of her mother’s funeral things don’t go according to plan and she finds a stranger in her home claiming she just wants to talk, but the stranger, a fan of Amy’s, has a bomb strapped to her chest and isn’t about to leave without getting what she came for.

This intense thriller begins with Amy but then alternates every chapter between Amy’s story and that of another character called Cat, with both tales being told in the first person perspective. The two stories aren’t connected at first but both of them are interesting in their own ways. Any’s story is the one I found myself more drawn to, wondering what would happen and how obsessive a fan could get was what really made me interested in this tale. Cat’s story is a completely different one, it has nothing to do with the app called Heartstream, and instead focuses on the obsessiveness of fans of a boyband.

The story isn’t difficult to get into, but having things switch between the two alternating tales, just as one chapter following one character starts to get very interesting, made this less thrilling and exciting as the book is probably intended to be. Amy’s story felt griping at first, and I wanted to focus more on her character but switching to the fame obsessed (and seemingly random) tale of Cat and her friend Evie felt quite annoying, I would have preferred more focus on one tale and then a switch to the other rather than the constant switching which meant I never really got into either of the stories too much until well over half way through the book. What also made this harder to get into is the fact that both Cat and Amy sound the same when narrating, it feels like the same girl in both stories which wasn’t helpful when I had put the book down for a while as I had forgotten whose story I was reading and it wasn’t obvious from the way they spoke but instead from what was happening in the plot.

There are three parts to the book and towards the end of the second part the two different stories finally relate to each other and from this point on I was truly hooked. I will say that Cat’s story did start to grow on me after the half way point, but it took too long to really get into this book and it’s a shame it took this long as the intensity grows and it really becomes exciting to read! The book has some uses of the f swear word and there are some references to and an actual scene of a sexual nature (I’m not sure how to describe it) which to me felt unnecessary and to be honest it felt quite crude, and even though this isn’t throughout the plot, it was enough to make me feel that anyone sensitive might want a warning before reading this.

I wish I could say I loved the ending of the story but I didn’t. It was such a good build up though, the story was gripping, and exciting and it was all building up to the ending where you have a ‘will it/won’t it happen’ moment in the final scene. The last chapter of the story has a lovely ending but I was expecting either anothe chapter or an epilogue to see what had actually happened rather than just leaving it on a cliff hanger moment, but instead, like in ‘White Rabbit, Red Wolf’ the author leaves the question of what happens next to the reader, and to be honest I felt cheated out of what could have been a really good ending.

It’s such a shame as I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It was exciting and very good when it got going and the excitement and tension builds up to something brilliant. There are revelations about the characters that make for a really good story, but not knowing what really happens at the end, whether something gets resolved one way or another, made this book just feel so disappointing, and coupled with the difficulty I had in getting into this book at the start, I am not sure whether everyone will enjoy this. It’s still a good read and great for a quick and intense thriller experience, but it’s not what I expected.


Have you read this book?  What do you think of an app that can help you share your feelings with followers?  Let me know what yoy think in the comments below 🙂