Things We Know by Heart

Things We Know by Heart

by Jessi Kirby

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In this unforgettable novel, Quinn Sullivan falls for the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart. Printz Award winner John Corey Whaley calls it “not just a love story, but one with a ferocious pulse.”

After Quinn’s boyfriend, Trent, dies in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the fragments of her now-unrecognizable life. But whoever received Trent’s heart has chosen to remain silent. The essence of a person, Quinn has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then in a way, she will still have a piece of him.

Risking everything to get closure once and for all, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas, whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into something more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but the time Quinn spends with Colton makes her feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, though, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost . . . and all that remains at stake.

Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, this unique and emotional story about an unexpected bond between two strangers will leave no heart untouched.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062299451
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 200,225
Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
File size: 704 KB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jessi Kirby is a writer for young adults whose first book, Moonglass, was named an ABA New Voices Pick. She has also written five other novels—In Honor, Golden, Things We Know by Heart, The Secret History of Us, and The Other Side of Lost. Jessi lives in central California with her husband and two kids. You can visit her online at

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Things We Know by Heart 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Things We Know By Heart is the fourth novel by American author, former teacher and librarian, Jessi Kirby. It’s four hundred days since Quinn Sullivan’s boyfriend, Trent was killed in a car accident. His organs were donated to five different recipients, and Quinn has met four of them, but she’s had no reply from the man who was given Trent’s heart, and therefore hers, too. “Male, 19, California” was all she knew. But, despite the recipient’s silence, Quinn has been searching: she finds an internet blog written by Colton Thomas’s sister; now she knows where Trent’s heart is. In secret, and against her own better judgement, she goes to Shelter Cove, just to take a peek at him. But of course, fate steps in and her best intentions to avoid contact are for naught: within an hour of first catching sight of him, Quinn is being driven to the emergency department by Colton. The idea that a donated organ can hold some sort of memory of the donor is a fascinating one, and Kirby builds her sweet romance on that starting point, but her novel also explores the effect of organ donation on the donor’s surviving family and friends, and on the recipient and those around him. Kirby supports this with quotes from texts about the heart and about transplants, as well as poetry and prose with the heart as their theme. In places, the story drags a little. Kirby’s main characters are appealing, although there are times when the reader will want to give them a good shake; luckily, they are each blessed with supportive and down-to-earth sisters. At the risk of using a pun, this is a heartwarming read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jessi kirby is my schools librarian. Shes written two other books tha i have read. Moonglass and golden. I loved both of them. Thy took me on adventures. Once i strted reading i couldnt put down the book. Well maybe its cause im obsessed with books but they were really good. I enjoyed the ending. She can write to put emotions in us. I look up to mrs.kirby. shes a truly inspiring role model to becoming a young novelist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Relationship while in and out dr office and hospital really a poor disturbed girl here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Things We Know By Heart was a great romance story that had a lot of really great lessons that we all can learn from. This book was just the kinds of books that I like! I really enjoyed this book. If you are thinking of reading this book you should. I really recommend this book for you to read, it shows how love can really cause many issues but it can also lead you to many great things. I really hope you read this book because it is a great book to read if you are interested into romance stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever! Never a boring momment always s joy to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was so good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an interesting concept but it was a bit creepy to grasp.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not only do I love this book because I can relate to Quinn, but it is so beutifully written. I can easily picture all the gorgeous scenery as its written. I just wish that it was longer, it was a nice fast read barely over 200 and I felt the ending was a little rushed and wished the book wasn't over yet!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im giving this book five stars now before even finishing, based on the beautifully effective writing alone. Anything written this well desrves every possible star in-spite of/seperated from the perspective as well as the effect an ending has on an individual reader. Im afraid of the ending because thus far, the writing has touched me so deeply from page one, and i so enjoy a happy yet believable ending. I've found very little help from the other reviews one way or another-regarding the nature of the ending-so i hope it doesnt end with a death. In conclusion, i recommend buying this for the transformative power in the writing alone....and i'll keep you posted on the nature of the ending;)
Goldenfurproductions More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS This book was one of my most anticipated releases this year! It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I discovered a wonderful contemporary with an interesting premise! Around a year ago, Quinn's boyfriend, Trent, died in an accident. Trent's organs were donated to different people and Quinn has been able to contact almost all of the people, except for the boy who has Trent's heart. Quinn actually goes to find him and ends up becoming friends with him. She begins to have an attraction for him, but is it for him or for the heart he carries? And how can she carry on with this without telling him about Trent? What intrigued me about this book in the first place is basically the entire premise. The idea of a girl trying to find a boy who has her boyfriend's heart? It's something that I've never read before! Many contemporary books seem to be very similar to one another and this one was something completely new! This book touches on the subject of grief, but it's not all depressing. It has the aspect of moving on and while I don't have any experience, I do think it was done quite well. There is also a distinct amount of just lain hopefulness in this book. All these things added together being in a heaping ton of emotions while reading, but I think it was done brilliantly. Quinn is a great main character. She's extremely realistic. I had issues with her choices, though, as she kept putting off telling Colin. Colin had no idea that Quinn knew about his past heart problems and that she was Trent's girlfriend. I really wanted her to tell him, because I knew that the longer she put it off, the outcome would not be great. While this bothered me, it did make her more real. As for romance, this book does have a theme of it, but I feel like it's not what this book is about. Still, the relationship between both Trent and Colin is very important. I really liked Colin and I liked how Quinn and Colin's relationship grew throughout the book! I thought it was really sweet and I was rooting for them! IN CONCLUSION Overall, this was a fantastic contemporary! It's new and it brought so many emotions! This is my first Jessi Kirby book, but it most certainly won't be my last!
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
I was looking for a book with "all the feels," but Things We Know by Heart fell a bit short for me. Considering what the book is about, I thought it would be more emotional. Instead, the book lacked the emotional depth that I was hoping for. It wasn't all surface stuff, but it didn't *move* me. This was most disappointing. I never mind a story with a happy ever after as long as it's realistic. While there is a HEA at the end of Things We Know by Heart it didn't feel very realistic to me (re: Colton). Instead, it felt very simplistic and predictable. You can read all of my reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) “Four hundred days and too many heartbeats to count. Four hundred days and too many places and moments where Trent no longer exists.” This was an okay story, but it felt quite average, which is odd considering what it’s about. I felt quite sorry for Quinn, she obviously really missed Trent, and losing him so suddenly was really difficult for her. I understood the way she wanted to meet the people that his organs had gone to though, as a way of keeping his memory alive, and showing that his death resulted in something amazing. “When she took a deep breath with Trent’s lungs and brought my hand to her chest so I could feel them fill and expand, my heart had filled right along with them.” I liked the storyline in this book, but I wasn’t a fan of the lying. I know Quinn didn’t outright lie, but the lie of omission just went on for so long that it became an even bigger thing than it was to start with. “Finding the guy who got Trent’s heart isn’t gonna bring him back. Neither is acting like you died.” There was some romance, but again, I was a little hesitant about it because of the secret between them. “Because this is the part where you fall in love.” The ending to this was okay, and I was pleased that things worked out okay in the end, this book was just missing a little something for me though. 6 out of 10
mostlyyalit More than 1 year ago
Things We Know By Heart is a beautiful unfolding of two characters who find and need each other at the right moment. It’s a lovely character study.  The thing that works with this novel is that even though Quinn and Colton reveal bits of themselves to each other, the full story is never given right away - and yet, Quinn and Colton each realize that they can offer the other something that no one else can. Quinn needs to get out of her sadness over losing Trent, but she also needs to take some risks that only Colton could give her. And Colton needs to figure out how far he could go in being himself - without the heart transplant hanging over him - before he needs to rein it in. Jessi Kirby writes some of the most gorgeous dates I've ever read in YA - every moment with Quinn and Colton just felt like another really great day I wished I could have. As a romance reader, I live for those dates where the sun is shining, the water is perfect, and you have moments fraught with desire and understanding and connection. This book had SO MANY. The connection between Colton and Quinn felt incredibly real, and their days together felt natural and perfect without feeling like they were trying too hard.  I do have a few quibbles, mainly that the conflict in this book seemed a bit too easy to resolve. For most of the book, I just wanted to get Quinn to admit that she knew who Colton was, and it was frustrating to me that it was a single miscommunication that made for the entire conflict in the book. While I realize that communication (or lack thereof) tends to be a big factor in whether a relationship is successful, this one felt like it dragged on way too long to be realistic.  My other quibble is that the book ended too quickly. I needed a darn epilogue to see what would happen next to Colton and Quinn, and even Shelby and Quinn's parents. And I wanted Quinn to find friends again and stop living life in a vacuum. That said, I really enjoyed reading this novel and I will definitely be picking up Kirby’s past novels for her gorgeous writing and perfect moments.  Bonuses:    Quotes for the Heart: The novel is punctuated with informational, literary, and pop culture quotes about the heart at the beginning of each chapter. The ones that really got me were written by surgeons and medical professionals about how much more the heart could do than just be a blood vessel - everyone sees the heart as the epicenter of the body, mind and soul. Similarly, the quotes act as a grounding point for each chapter; each quote is like an artery of the heart, acting to create a holistic reading experience.   Swoonworthy Writing: Honestly, this book got an extra half star from me because the writing was so stunning. Check out a few of my favourite parts: "And so what I remember most about that morning is standing on the side of the road, alone, darkness closing in around me as the day was unfolding. Morning sunlight on the vibrant gold petals, scattered where he lay dying."  "Erosion," he answers. "I kinda picture it like one of those time-lapse sequences--with waves crashing against cliffs, and storms rolling over them, and water and air finding the cracks and widening them into tunnels and caves until the weak parts crumble and all that's left are these little rock islands."  The way he says it, I can see it perfectly, like it's happening right in front of us. And it is, really. Just so slowly you can't see it--the same way grief can do to a person over time, wear you down until you disappear."  "The heart is beautiful, and fragile, and safe inside its bottle, like the old notes that supposedly traveled over distance and time, through storms and lulls, to finally find a shore. And then to be found."    Heart-Squeezing Romance:The yearning I felt for Colton and Quinn to get together and JUST KISS ALREADY was pretty overwhelming. Jessi Kirby is GOOD.  The Final Word:  This is my first Jessi Kirby book, and I'm glad to say that I enjoyed it a lot. While I didn't love LOVE it, the author's gorgeous writing, commitment to the structure and characters, and all-around beautiful moments and romance definitely made me a fan. I will be picking up Kirby's first two books as soon as I can!
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
   I wanted to read this one because I am drawn to books about organ donation and especially the newer ones that focus on the cellular memory aspect. There is so much that can be done with the subject and I have liked Kirby's previous books, so it was a sure thing to try.    Quinn is the main character and she is shrouded in grief even after a year of losing her boyfriend Trent. Through flashbacks I got to see the beginning of their relationship, the comfort and familiarity that they built together in their relationship. There were also views back to the day he passed as well as the days leading up to her reaching out to his organ recipients.     But Colton, the heart recipient hasn't gotten back to her and she is desperate for some sort of closure, or hopefully peace upon seeing him. So she breaks a few rules and researches him. Once she finds out his town and his name from a blog post from his sister while he was sick and putting together dates and times, she convinces herself it won't hurt if she goes and just gets a look at him, his life, the guy who now has her deceased boyfriend's heart beating in his chest.    But she doesn't exactly make the most smooth under cover. She manages to get his attention in all sorts of ways, and she is drawn even more to him. He feels a familiarity with her and they end up on each others' radars and in the others' space more and more. There is an undeniable chemistry and magnetism. You have to wonder if its cell memory for how deeply Quinn and Trent felt for one another, and now upon seeing her, Colton is drawn to her, feeling like he knows and has a deep connection to her. Or if its just simple attraction and chemistry of a nice guy and girl who click and keep finding and thinking of the other.     It was great though to watch Quinn begin to live again and learn that she can be happy and she doesn't have to daily be aware of Trent and his death. She had neglected a lot, her school work, and her family relationships. But her sister is in town unexpectedly for the summer and between Ryan (the sister) and their Gran, they help even further to pull Quinn out of herself. They also encourage her time at the beach and suspect a boy may be behind it even though Quinn of course, doesn't tell them much about him because even though she is loving the time they spend together, she is still the only one who knows the connection with Colton.     I liked the way their relationship progressed, and even though there was the secret hanging between them, Quinn hiding how she knows him and Colton that he has physical limitations, they somehow formed a deep connection. The truth of course ends up coming out at a really hard time, and it seemed like it might break them. It added a lot to the suspense and both of them had to face some really hard truths and wonder if the secrets are enough to keep them apart.      It was a realistic ending, but I was pleased with it. I liked the growth of both of the characters and the arc of their friendship and romance.  Bottom Line: Emotional story of Quinn who has lost her first love and who ends up meeting and falling for the recipient of his heart.