Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier


Synopsis from Good Reads:

“Jar of Hearts grabs you by the throat! The perfect blend of riveting characters, chilling details, and gasping twists in this standout thriller will keep you frantically reading until the explosive end.” – Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Right Behind You

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Jar of Hearts will be available June 12, 2018. 

Wow. I hardly know where to even begin with this. Jar of Hearts is the kind of book that you’re almost afraid to say you enjoyed because of how dark and twisted it is. But it’s one of the best books I’ve read in awhile.

Jar of Hearts is told in 5 parts, each associated with the 5 stages of grief, and in alternate POVs of Geo and Kaiser. I really enjoyed both perspectives. The story is told both in present and flashback and I loved how things were revealed and how you’re never sure if you’re getting the whole story (spoiler alert: you usually aren’t). The writing was smart and surprising. There weren’t any gasp-worthy twists, but there were plenty of smaller ones that I definitely didn’t see coming. I love when a book can surprise me like this one did.

Despite being deeply flawed characters, I liked both Geo and Kaiser. I liked how their relationship evolved, though I did feel pretty bad for teenage Kaiser. I found Geo pretty compelling. She did whatever she had to do to survive in any situation, even when that meant doing some terrible things. I would definitely consider her an anti-hero.

I really don’t want to say too much about the plot, for fear of giving anything away. I will say that there are several scenes that were pretty uncomfortable to read. If you’re easily triggered, you should probably avoid this one. If you can handle those type of scenes, though, the writing is intense and addictive and it sucked me in right from the beginning.

Overall, I really liked Jar of Hearts. This was my first book by Hillier and while I’m a little disturbed by her, I definitely want to read more from her. The mystery was well-written with many small twists that surprised me and there were some really flawed, but compelling characters. I feel like I’ve read a lot of so-so books lately and this one really grabbed me right from the start and kept my attention the whole time. I definitely recommend it to fans of darker mysteries.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

41 thoughts on “Review: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

  1. I’m really excited to start this one. Even more so after reading your review! Thanks, Stephanie!

  2. I agree with your review. I finished yesterday afternoon! I wasn’t able to read the very “graphic” passages. I would just skim over them , like quickly, and it was fine. I need to write my review later. It was also a 4 read for me! Have a fab week Stephanie.

  3. This is one I really want to check out! I already requested too many books on Netgalley to fit it in. haha! -Ashley

      • I really try to stay on top of it and request only what I can read, but I seem to have overestimated myself for June. lol! I will try to pick this up from the library later in the year. 🙂

  4. Great review! I just finished this one at 3 am because I couldn’t put it down. I loved it which sounds so odd! My review posts tomorrow, and I agree with everything you said! It was so darkly disturbing, but I loved Geo and the entire plot. I’m going to check out more of Hellier’s books!

      • The funny thing was that I had no plans to read it since I’m overboard with my ARCs for the next 2 months lol. Then I kept seeing all the reviews last week that made me really want to read it, so I asked for it on NetGalley Thurs and had it approved Fri. I started it as soon as I finished up another one I was reading and couldn’t put it down, lol. I was so glad I decided to request it!! Thanks, I don’t feel like I did the book justice at all, but I hope it at least conveys how much I enjoyed it! I can’t believe I’ve never read any of her books before!

      • Me too! I was surprised by that one! Thank you…I appreciate that, and it could be because it takes me forever to write them, lol. As in hours. I have horrible writer’s block and then the English professor in me goes back and edits and edits and get the picture. With Jar of Hearts, I just wrote it while waiting for something I was baking to be done and then that was about it. I’m tempted to rewrite it and edit it a million times, but then again, I don’t want to spend the rest of the night doing it when I could actually be reading! I’m having to force myself not to pull it up and make any changes, hahaha!

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