Title: Our Crooked Hearts
Author: Melissa Albert
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Teen/young adult fiction, Fantasy – urban
Book format: Pre-publication proof copy
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Description:  In this family magic runs deep but secrets run deeper.
Ivy’s summer kicks off with a series of strange and distubing events.  As unnatural offerings appear on her doorstep and she’s haunted by fragmented memories from her childhood, she soon faces a dark family secret: there is more to her mother, Dana, than meets the eye…
Dana’s story starts the summer she turns sixteen, when with the help of her best friend and an ambitious older girl, she embarks on a major fling with the supernatural.  As the trio’s aspirations darken, they find themselves speeding towards a violent breaking point.
Years after it began, Ivy and Dana’s shared story will come down to a reckoning among a mother, a daughter and the dark forces they never should’ve messed with.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  Oh wow, what an amazing, gripping and emotional read!  Seventeen year old Ivy and her boyfriend Nate are driving back home after a party when Nate spots a strange woman out on the road.  Stopping the car Ivy follows him as they go to see who the woman is who was naked in the middle of the night.  Not long afterwards Ivy is at home when she finds the body of a dead rabbit outside her house and begins questioning who caused it and finds herself wondering what her mother is hiding from her.

This really is an amazing read and I couldn’t stop turning the pages from the start.  The story begins with Ivy as we get to know her family set up and her tense relationship with her mum, as well as her awkward relationship with her neighbour Billy.  I liked Ivy’s character from the start, dealing with her issues with Nate and Billy and her bigger problems with her mum who seems a bit distant.  Afterwards the story starts alternating between Ivy’s tale happening now, and her mother Dana’s story in the past where we find out how Dana dabbled with magic which led to some horrifying consequences.

The book is separated into parts with part one focusing on both Ivy and Dana before part two and three introduce a third character, each with their own stories.  I have to say that I just love the writing in this book.  The descriptions of some of the creepy things that start happening, is so good.  I love how dark this story goes and how it focuses not only on Ivy’s tale, discovering the truth about something that’s happened to her and what her mother has done in her past, as well as focusing on Dana and what happened to her in the past too.  The alternating chapters give you an insight into the girl Dana was around Ivy’s age and the dark things she got into when she met someone and performed some dark magic.

I like how this book makes you feel first for Ivy and later for Dana too.  At first Dana’s character feels cold and distant and you really feel for Ivy as she’s trying to piece together and understand what is happening, all the while discovering more and more truths about herself and her mother.  But over half way through the second part of the book begins which alternates chapters between Dana and another character which makes you start to feel for Dana too, as you discover just what she’s been through.  This story is definitely one with a lot of dark and creepy things happening, but it’s also a very emotional story too, especially when you see the story from Dana’s side before part three.

The final part is exciting and the story has a satisfying ending with a great build up with what happens with Ivy.  I like how her and Dana’s characters grow in the story and what happens right at the end with the final scenes.  It’s a really good ending and I like what happens for everyone, even though there’s a lot of tension and ugly truths discovered too.  I love the relationships in this book, the tense mother daughter relationship as well as Ivy relationship with Billy too.  The whole book wraps up nicely and I love how this ends, leaving you feeling happy for all the characters but also leaving you wondering what might happen in the future to the characters too with that last revelation.

The story has a few uses of the f swear word and some darker moments including the deaths of more than one animal.  It’s quite dark and the dead bodies of animals might be a bit gruesome for some, but it’s really more of a creepy vibe to the story than anything too gory.  It’s definitely a darker read for the dark magic that happens but it’s also a brilliant one and it’s made me want to read more of the author’s work as this book is just so brilliant!  It’s a book I’d definitely recommend to anyone looking for a great and darker fantasy ya with some brilliant but flawed characters and a lot of good and creepy magic!

What do you think of this book?  Do you like books featuring magic or witches?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂