“Hometown Heartless,” the newest book by Carrie Aarons, was just released last Thursday (1/23)! I was lucky enough to receive an early digital copy to review from Carrie — check it out down below!
One year ago, the boy next door was captured as a prisoner of war.
The boy whose window faces mine.
The backyard buddy who bandaged up my skinned knees.
The childhood crush that kept me up at night, wondering if he’d ever be my boyfriend.
The town hero I wrote endless letters to after he shipped out.
The green-eyed charmer who promised me a kiss the day I turned eighteen.
And now, he’s home.
But he didn’t come back as the boy I once knew.
He’s a man now, one with demons I can’t comprehend.
The damaged soldier keeps telling me I’m not his anymore.
That the war took him, turned him into someone unrecognizable.
What he hasn’t considered is that it took me, too.
He swears there is nothing left between us, that his heart died overseas. But with each look through our windows, we both know his lies are just that. With each fated meeting, the truth only becomes more evident.
Everett Brock occupies the shadows now.
And as much as I try to pull him into the light, it seems the switch is permanent.
What he doesn’t realize is that I’m willing to follow him into the darkness.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Out of all of the Carrie Aarons books that I’ve read, her young adult books have been my favorite. First “The Tenth Girl,”and now “Hometown Heartless”! The story is told from both Kennedy and Everett’s POVs, and it’s a relatively quick read; I read it in two days.
The book opens up with a lot of description. I get that the purpose was to have us picture the places and characters, but at the beginning, it felt a bit info-dumpy. However, that stopped as the story continued, and everything flowed a lot more nicely.
Carrie has a great way of writing ‘small’ towns – definitely makes me want to move there! I loved Kennedy’s relationship with her best friends, Rachel and Bianca. They were all very supportive of each other, and it was refreshing to read a story where there weren’t any female characters at odds with each other.
I liked Everett, but jeez, did he treat Kennedy pretty bad at times through the book. Sometimes he was totally sweet and romantic, other times he was toxic and borderline emotionally abusive. I was rooting for the two of them, but as he broke her heart over and over, I was becoming less of a fan. He does apologize, he does mean it, and I understand his rationale behind his actions, but that doesn’t make them okay. I felt gutted for Kennedy multiple times throughout the book. A scene where Rachel and/or Bianca go off on him would’ve been a nice touch, as well as potentially a scene where Kennedy sees the extent of Everett’s PTSD. It’s mentioned in the book, but an explicit scene would’ve been nice.
That being said, Everett was still very sweet. His Winter Wonderland ‘prom-posal’ was super cute, and when he wasn’t pushing her away, he was really supportive. We definitely see him evolve throughout the book, and it’s clear that he and Kennedy really care for each other. I liked that they were close for their whole lives — their feelings were already pretty established by the time we meet them.
Kennedy’s struggles with her college applications versus Everett’s decision not to pursue college were both great examples to show that not everyone has a linear path, and that no matter how much planning you do, things don’t always work out. College is often seen as something that people have to do right after high school, or in general, but it’s important to show that that’s not always the right option for everyone.
Overall, this was a super sweet read! I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves young adult books. There’s some sexual content, so it’s best suited for older teens (Kennedy is 18 and Everett is 20), but I think it’s perfectly suited for readers who liked “The Tenth Girl.”
Stay tuned for my playlist inspired by the book, coming Friday!
Check out my interview with Carrie about “The Tenth Girl,” and read my other reviews of her young and new adult books:
(All available for free on Kindle Unlimited)