Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Title: Heartwood Box
Author: Ann Aguirre
Published: 9. July 2019.
Edition: Tor Teen
Kindle, 288 pages
Genre: Mystery | Fantasy | Science Fiction
In this tiny, terrifying town, the lost are never found. When Araceli Flores Harper is sent to live with her great-aunt Ottilie in her ramshackle Victorian home, the plan is simple. She’ll buckle down and get ready for college. Life won’t be exciting, but she’ll cope, right? Wrong.
From the start, things are very, very wrong. Her great-aunt still leaves food for the husband who went missing twenty years ago, and local businesses are plastered with MISSING posters. There are unexplained lights in the woods and a mysterious lab just beyond the city limits that the locals don’t talk about. Ever. When she starts receiving mysterious letters that seem to be coming from the past, she suspects someone of pranking her or trying to drive her out of her mind. To solve these riddles and bring the lost home again, Araceli must delve into a truly diabolical conspiracy, but some secrets fight to stay buried
◄ 2 OUT OF 5 STARS ►
Content warnings: domestic abuse, violence, racism, World War I themes
(content warnings are written in white)
Heartwood Box starts out very strong. The setting of the small town with many people missing was very interesting, especially when it seems like it’s being haunted by the people who went missing. The plot in the beginning was very intriguing as well. As I continued reading the story I became less and less interested. The reason for that is that the plot was overloaded. This book was only 288 pages long and yet there were so many different plots and plot threads, it was just overwhelming. As it was overwhelming I stopped caring about it and it ultimately became boring. There is just too much going on in this story.
Araceli was an alright character. I liked her more in the beginning and I stopped caring about her the more I read, which is a major theme with me and this book. There were too many side characters in this story. No one felt fleshed out and they were more used as devices to further the plot than they were actual characters. Most of them were used to show how much of an outsider Araceli really was. Granted quite a few of those characters were people of colour, I’m not sure we got to know about them enough and I really can’t speak about the representation. Heartwood Box was overloaded with characters.
Overall I didn’t enjoy this book all that much, as you can see by my rating and review. I think Heartwood Box would have been better if it was longer, or some of the plot elements were cut out. This book just felt overloaded with everything. Personally I wouldn’t recommend it.