About the Book

Title: The Hearts We Sold
Published: 2017
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Blurry Big Face
BFF Charm: Let Me Love You
Talky Talk: Modern-Day Fairy Tale
Bonus Factors: Deal with the Devil, Portland
Anti-Bonus Factor: Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting
Relationship Status: Summer Fling

Cover Story: Blurry Big Face

Aside from finding a cover model who looks like Dee, the effort here is really… halfhearted. #sorrynotsorry

The Deal:

When a demon grants a wish, they usually take a body part as payment. But for Dee Moreno, who only wants to finance her boarding school tuition after her scholarship unexpectedly runs out, the Agathodaemon wants her heart. Not figuratively, but literally. And to fulfill the rest of her bargain, Dee must join a group of fellow heartless teens in completing strange and dangerous tasks for the Daemon. 

BFF Charm: Let Me Love You

BFF charm with teary eyes hugging a heart

Growing up in a toxic environment like she did, Dee had little use for her heart long before she gave it away in a deal. I can’t blame her for being jaded about humanity, but I can’t help feeling sad about that, too.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

It takes a while for the romance between Dee and heartless artist James to build up, but the payoff definitely pulls at the heartstrings. (ARE YOU TIRED OF HEART PUNS YET?)

Talky Talk: Modern-Day Fairy Tale 

Fairy tales are a recurring theme in the book, which in itself is kind of like a fairy tale. (It reminds me of recent FYA Book Club selection Roses and Rot in that regard.) Deftly blending together fantasy, horror, and even sci-fi, in an otherwise realistic contemporary setting, The Hearts We Sold has the scope of a story that could be easily stretched into a series but is better off as the brisk standalone novel that it is. (As far as I can tell, at least, and I hope there are no plans to change that.)

One minor nit to pick is Dee’s roommate’s oft-mentioned hobby of vivisecting teddy bears. (Barring an existential debate about teddy bears, it’s impossible by definition to vivisect inanimate objects. I AM PEDANTIC.) Although full props for going in a different direction than most Harry Potter shout-outs in YA. 

Bonus Factor: Deal with the Devil

If you could have any wish granted, would you? Is there a price too steep to pay? Evidently not for Dee and the rest of the heartless, who all have intriguing backstories of their own. 

Bonus Factor: Portland

OF COURSE a city with an unofficial mandate for weirdness would be the epicenter of paranormal activity. 

Anti-Bonus Factor: Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting

Evil Dan Scott from One Tree Hill

Generally speaking, parents usually want more for their kids; for the next generation to be better off than they were themselves. But specifically speaking, Mr. Moreno has zero faith in Dee’s abilities, as he often and obnoxiously reminds her. What does she need a fancy education for, anyway? Does she think she’s better than him? What an ungrateful and arrogant child! And the unsupportive Mr. Moreno’s mean streak is only further exacerbated by his struggles with alcoholism. 

Relationship Status: Summer Fling

I was instantly attracted to this book’s interesting premise, so I invited it back home for a casual hookup. While it didn’t capture my heart for good, it certainly captured my imagination as I devoured it in one sitting. 

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Little, Brown. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. The Hearts We Sold is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.