The Hearts We Sold
When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.
With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: August 8th 2017
Abuse, Alcoholism, Body Shaming, Depression, Transphobia, Grief, Death, Anxiety
“She was a girl held together by knitted yarn and magic.”
There are some books that cling to you. Books that have you so emotional… and you feel grateful to read a book like this in your lifetime. I may have cried for a literal day
and worried my mother while going on a week strike on books because THIS BOOK DID ME DIRTY. That may sound over-exaggerated, but it’s the truth. I came into this not knowing what to expect and came out wrecked.
The demons are a constant in Dee Morano’s life. You want something? All you have to do is give a body part. Dee need money to continue her schooling since budget cuts have taken away her scholarship and moving back in with her parents is unnacceptable. She finds a demon, but instead of the typical arm or leg, he wants her heart and 2 years of service. So now her and a few other teens do jobs closing portals for the demon.
“But were they truly victims? If they made a deal, knowing fully what they were trading for a wish–but then again, could a person ever truly know the consequences of giving away their heart?”
I could talk about the unique plot, the aspect of giving a demon a piece of yourself for material gain.
And that part of the story was really interesting— a demon ridden city taking parts for wishes, yet a plot like this is a slow build and it works so well with this type of story. This is truly a character driven game.
“She became her own knight; she collected those broken promises and whispered apologies and fashioned them into armor”
And I loved Dee— a biracial Latina trying to escape an abusive home, who gives her heart away, damn the consequences. She suffers from anxiety, and is overall a detached individual. But gosh I love her so much. Rooting for her was like breathing, I wanted her to overcome her fear and find happiness.
My heart broke for her seeing her abusive family setting— not in the physical sense, but neglectful and a bit cruel. But, these circumstances made her a stronger person. Her entire arc of finding self love and finding family in those who give you love in return was such a sensitive, close to home topic for me.
“This was how normal people survived their own fairy tales.
They became their own kind of monster.”
The secondary characters were also really fleshed out and given so much depth. Each of them have a stake in their lives. We have—
❥ Cora – black and the “mom” of the group, who knows more about their situations and tries to take care of everyone the best way she can.
❥ Cal – the genius, who I could connect with the least, but he still had an impact with his role in the story.
❥ Riley – a trans girl who was such a strong person with a heartbreaking background, but they are in no way a catalyst of a tragic cliche.
❥ Gremma – Dee’s no-nonsense friend who stuck with her through out it all. Their friendship was a bit rocky, with Dee putting on a layer of armor so people won’t see how not okay she is, but they were solid and loyal and that’s all I can ask for in a friendship. She’s also a lesbian who’s in a relationship with Riley and I rooted for them HARD.
❥ James – the charming, hobo-dressing artist and My personal favorite who the cause of all of my heartache and tears.
“There was a burning intensity to his eyes, and she saw for the first time a boy who would sell his heart–not for some hobby, but because he thought it was the only way to life the life he wanted.
They had that in common.”
Of course, there’s a romance that stole my soul and kept on running with it. James and Dee’s relationship made this book all the better. Not only was it not a focal point, it was still impactful for both characters. There’s trust that was gradually grown between them and how he saw parts of her life that no one has seen was so important to their character development both together and apart.
Though I do acknowledge there is no “take down the government” plot device, towards the end it does become a kind of ‘save the world’ book. Which is fine! It never seems like it’s a random thing just thrown in there. I can’t really talk about the end because spoilers, but it is quite sad
if you didn’t get that from my introductory paragraph above. Some might say it’s bittersweet, but my heart is broken is that a pun? Nah. If you didn’t see this coming, EVERYONE needs to read this book. This is a definite favorite of all time type of book.