By: Stephanie Wyatt
*I was given a free advanced copy for my honest review.*
Unwrap My Heart by Heather Dowell and Victoria Anders tells the story of two high school students in the Midwest. It tells the story of Zain and Brayleigh, two friends who met and immediately bonded over their love of the Christmas classic, A Christmas Story. Over the next year they became best friends. They had a growing attraction, but Zain had a longtime girlfriend, Farren, who recently lost her mom a few years ago and had become a completely different person. A year later, Brayleigh is dating Sebastian, a reformed playboy who has decided to take a vow of celibacy. The book opens on Brayleigh’s eighteenth birthday. Only she gets a not so happy birthday present: she finds out she is pregnant with her foster father’s baby.
This young adult novel is a pretty quick read; it’s about 300 pages. I think it’s extremely important to note that this novel deals with some heavy topics such as sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, homelessness, and abortion. I thought they handled the topics very well, though. They showed a variety of different options and didn’t seem to push one way or another. It just depended on the particular character’s circumstances. I also appreciated how the concept of religion was handled. Religion was present, but it was just something the characters could turn to if they needed comfort or guidance. I feel like a lot of young adult novels don’t deal with religion at all, and the characters don’t ever talk about it, so it was refreshing to see.
Originally, when I started reading it, I was worried all of the characters were going to be one dimensional. I was happy to see the characters personalities develop as the novel progressed. I was also a little nervous about the book being told in two perspectives, but Zain and Brayleigh had two unique perspectives. They helped make the book well rounded.
Overall, I loved the book. I was looking for a quick holiday read, and this was exactly what I needed. I’m very excited to read more about the characters in the next book, Unleash My Love scheduled for release in February 2020. Unwrap My Heart is available today on Amazon.