Book Review of “Jar Of Hearts” By Jennifer Hillier @Minotaurbooks @stmartinspress @JenniferHillier

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it? (From Goodreads)

Thank you Minotaur Books for sending me a free copy of this book, in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Okay, first and foremost, a lot of my friends know that books that have rape occur in them are a big turn off for me, for the most part I can handle reading about them, when it’s not extremely detailed, and graphic. When the rape is insinuated, instead of just point-blank spelled out. This book however is not like that, it is graphic, it is uncomfortable, and I really felt uneasy in the three rape scenes this book contains. Even after that, I still couldn’t put this book down. I just wanted to get that out in the open for you guys, If any of you have triggers, or really don’t like reading on such topics, than you’ve been forewarned.

Now onto the good stuff, I loved this book, like I really loved it. From Angela as a teenager, to Angela in prison, to after prison Angela, I just loved her. Hillier, did an amazing job portraying the victim of domestic violence, especially when it’s teen domestic violence, at one point in the book, Angela had explained why she stayed with Calvin, and how as a 16-year-old, she had a harder time deciphering between good love and bad love, because this was her first love. I can relate to that, at 16 years old, I myself had a very volatile relationship with a guy a few years older than me, looking back now, he was a terrible person, and I am lucky that I was able to get away. But at that time, all I could think was how in love I was, and how I was lucky to have someone who loved me as much as he did. And maybe that’s why I loved this book so much, because I related. It was sort of mind @#!*$ .

There was so much in this book, Angela built so many incredible friendships on her journey, she overcame the person she was, and made herself better. I loved the characters Hillier introduced in this book, both inside the prison and out. Also, the way Hillier wrote about prison life, leads me to believe she did a lot of research. My dad was a correctional officer for 40 years, so I’ve heard all the stories you could imagine. (Interesting Factoid, Hillier mentions Walla Walla, State Penitentiary, that is the very first prison my dad worked at, he wa 20 years old and part two of that, is I was born in Walla Walla, a town in Washington State that not many have heard of, so Kudos to you Jennifer)  Also, Seattle is my hometown, so reading a book based in my old stomping grounds makes me love it even more! So maybe I’m a bit bias.

Now, once we get to the climax of this story, I knew what was coming, but I still loved it. And as far as the ending goes, it was perfect, and I could not have imagined it to be any other way! This was my first Jennifer Hillier books, however I do have FREAK and CREEP sitting on my bookcase, I bought them a few years ago at a huge book sale at a church, so now that I’ve had a sample of how well Jennifer Hillier writes, I will be getting to those, ASAP!

If you’ve made it this far in my review, I appreciate it, and please share your thoughts with me if you’ve read this book, and if you haven’t, I suggest you change that soon! Hillier has an incredible skill, and I enjoyed the intricate tale she wove. This wasn’t a simple story, it was complex, dark, and gritty, and really plays on every womans worst fear. She wrote about violence against women, rape culture, and hopefully it gets more women talking, and helps women who are afraid to leave, to ask for help. I admire Hillier for taking on a book of this multitude.

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R.A.I.N.N.

Rape Crisis Helpline

Domestic Violence Hotline

Love Is Respect- Teen Dating Violence Helpline