on September 10th 2015
Buy on Amazon
I lost her.
No, I didn't lose her. I threw her away.
She was my best friend.
I was never supposed to fall in love with her.
I was careless.
She was heartbroken.
I was doing fine until she came back into my life and reminded me what love was supposed to feel like.
When it's all said and done, she may not want to stay, but this time I'm going to do everything in my power to not let her go.
I’m a huge fan of second chance romances. And Claire Contreras is amazing at writing them. I read Kaleidoscope Hearts back in January and loved it. But Paper Hearts has easily become my favorite second chance story this year.
As a prequel to Paper Hearts, Claire released Torn Hearts, a novella that narrates the beginning of Mia and Jensen’s relationship and sets up the main conflict of Paper Hearts. If you read Kaleidoscope Hearts, you might remember Mia and Jensen as they are Estelle and Oliver’s best friends respectively. You might be familiar with the fact that something had happened between them and that for the most part Mia was always avoiding Jensen. All of the backstory gets explained in Torn Hearts. Torn Hearts is now included in Paper Hearts so you will able to read them both if you haven’t read Torn Hearts.
I will try to give as little spoilers as possible. Mia Bennett and Jensen Reynolds have known each other since they were really young and they are best friends. Mia comes from a rich family and is full of love and light. Jensen comes from a very broken family, he is abandoned by his parents and craves love, he believes he will never be enough for Mia. They finally get together romantically and their relationship is intense and full of love. Mia changes Jensen’s life for the better and she encourages him to pursue his dreams. School and distance separates them and they decide to take a break with the hope that they will eventually end up together once they finish school. Life throws a curveball to their plans. Jensen makes a huge mistake that changes both of their lives. The choices he makes leave him full of regret and without Mia. And it leaves Mia brokenhearted and betrayed, to her, what he did is unforgivable.
Paper Hearts picks up five years after the events of Torn Hearts. Jensen lives in New York and is a well-known writer. Mia is an up and coming photographer and he temporarily moves to New York to work on a special project. She ends up working in the same project as Jensen. Mia is still very hurt by Jensen’s betrayal, even though she still has really strong feelings for him. I think her feelings are totally understandable. What Jensen did change their future and I’m not sure what would I do if I was in her shoes.
Jensen makes no secret of the fact that he wants Mia back. He will do anything and everything possible to change their future and be with Mia. His feelings and his immense regret for his past mistakes are so raw and palpable throughout the book. At the same time, he is a very strong character that has grown immensely and whose priorities are in the right place. He takes 100% ownership of his mistakes and changes for the better. He is an amazing character. I loved him so much.
”They say it takes twenty-one days to break a habit. It’s been approximately one thousand eight hundred and twenty six since I last held her hand in mine and I’m still waiting for the remains of her to break off of me.”
“You make it impossible to have a conversation with,” I said, but I found that I was fighting a smile. “You make it impossible to live life without,” he said, looking straight into my eyes.
The story is told in dual POVs but in a very original and interesting way. Since Jensen is a writer, his POV is told through his Sunday New York Times column titled “Jensen Talks”. Some of the best chapters in the book are those of Jensen’s column.
Throughout the book I felt so much for both of these characters, the love, the pain, the regret, the inability to move on. If only it was so easy to just let go of the past. If only they would’ve made different choices. But can the relationship be repaired? Can you fully trust that person again? Can you truly move on? I don’t blame Mia for not jumping into a relationship with Jensen right away. I fell so much for her. Real life sucks, and this book is real. These situations happen every day, not everything are rainbows and fairytales.
“The reality is that nobody looks forward to epilogues unless they’re in fictional stories.”
“Our past was a photograph of memories frozen in time. And the most poignant ones hurt too much for me to dust off and look at. Still, I kept going through them. I kept replaying them in my mind.”
I found the writing to be so beautiful and engaging. These characters are amazingly developed, there is no doubt they love each other. And there is no doubt they deserve to be with each other.
Throughout the book, Mia’s character shows amazing growth. She totally realizes that she’s partly to blame for this 5 year separation and that in order to move on, with or without Jensen, she needs to let go of the past and truly forgive.
And beautiful Jensen, he redeems himself every single day. And he never gives up on their love.
“I never stop thinking about you. For years, my thoughts don’t have any room that doesn’t include you. You’re everywhere.”
I also loved the secondary characters! Estelle and Oliver, Robbie and Juan Pablo, Vic, Olivia and Mia’s parents are all so amazing and supportive to both of them throughout the story.
Needless to say, I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down once I started Torn Hearts. It brought all the feels, all of them. I cried and laughed so much. The ending is EPIC, and the double epilogue is so freaking beautiful. This is one of my favorite books this year, it touched me in ways I cant really explain. If you are a fan of second chance romances, this is a must read!
“How did your love story end?” I asked after a moment. He smiled, a wide, slow grin right before he pressed his lips against mine. He backed away slowly and searched my face for a beat.
“Real love stories never end,” he whispered.
*ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
**Amazing graphics created by Jen Gare and used with her permission.