Tin Heart by Shivaun Plozza
Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143786276
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Organ transplants. Family relations. Grief. Survivor Guilt. Humour. Marlowe has received a heart transplant and feels that she really needs to thank the donor's family, even though they don't want to meet her. Perhaps then she will be able to stop being 'The Dying Girl' and prevent her vegan mother from being so over protective and her little brother from embarrassing her with his weird dress-ups. When she meets the cute butcher's apprentice in the shop next door and tries to track down her donor's family things get complicated.
Plozza writes with flair and humour as she traces the steps that Marlowe takes while trying to discover the members of her heart donor's family. The reader is taken on a voyage of discovery, and begins to identify with how a recipient of an organ donation would feel, and can empathise with the donor's family who don't want to be reminded of their loved one's death. Marlowe's attempt to move on from being a very sick young girl is hampered by her desire to find out about her donor, but she does get to know Leo the butcher's apprentice as she plays some very funny pranks and draws graffiti on his shop and readers will chuckle aloud at the funny dialogue between the two. Another source of humour and interest in the book are the antics and lovely personality of Pip, Marlowe's little brother, who comes up with the most original ideas for dressing up - can you imagine a cyborg Rob Roy? However, there are also many moments of heartbreak too that will bring tears to the reader's eyes, as Plozza explores the effect of a death in a family and how difficult it is to move on.
Great characters, an unusual family with many strengths and weaknesses and a heart-warming romance make this an absorbing read that has enormous appeal.