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January 13, 2011

Book Review: Second Hand Heart by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Second Hand Heart by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Release Date: September 2nd, 2010
Publisher: Black Swan
Pages: 460
Age: Young Adult
Vida is 19 and has never had much of a life. Struggling along with a life-threatening heart condition, her whole life has been one long preparation for death. But suddenly she is presented with a donor heart, and just in time. Now she gets to do something she never imagined she'd have to do: live.
Richard is a 36-year-old man who’s just lost his beloved wife, Lorrie, in a car accident. Still in shock and not even having begun the process of grieving, he is invited to the hospital to meet the young woman who received his wife’s donor heart.
Vida takes one look at Richard and feels she’s loved him all her life. And tells him so. Richard assumes she’s just a foolish young girl. And maybe she is. Or maybe there’s truth behind the theory of cellular memory, and maybe it really is possible for a heart to remember, at least for a time, on its own.
Second Hand Heart is both a story of having to learn to live for the first time, and having to learn to live all over again.
Vida is a 19 years old women who is going to die soon. All her life has been about dying, so she isn't really afraid. But suddenly her life changes when she gets a second chance.

Richard's wife is dead, and a girl named Vida received her heart. He miss her very much, so he made the decision to met Vida. But as soon a they met, Vida knows she loves him.

Cellular memory is a theory that says a person's memories aren't only storage in the brain but in every organ, and when a person receives an organ transplant, they can feel what the other one felt. So, it's true? Is Vida really in love with Richard? And what about Richard and his feelings?

Vida is an amazing character. At first she was a sick girl waiting for her death and wondering about it, but when she receives the heart she becomes afraid of life and confused. She's 19 years old but acts like a kid, just discovering life. The only thing she was sure about it was her feelings for Richard. She knows she's in love with him.

It was sad to read Richard. He just lost his wife and it's scared for his wife's heart, now in Vida's body. The sudden death of his wife made it difficult for him to move on, he couldn't say goodbye. Even when he doesn't want to take a part of Vida's life, it's impossible not to feel drawn to her...or to her heart?.

Cellular memory is the biggest theme in this book, but not the only one. It's about Vida finally being able to grow up. It's about appreciating every minute of your life, and learning about real love. Both of the main characters had extremely difficult journeys in this book, but when they stopped struggling, it's when they both could finally move on.

The author made a good job writing realistic characters. I could feel their feelings, even when I haven't had the same experiences. Sometimes the story was a little bit slow, but I think it was necessary for this kind of story.

Overall, Second Hand Heart is a heart warming story about love and life. Beautiful written, it's a book that I'd recommend to all.


  1. Great review. Realistic characters? Great! Love that in stories. Richard does sounds like a sad character.

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  3. This cellular memory idea sounds intriguing. Glad you liked it, this book isn't something I'd pick for myself, but since I've read a good review of it who knows ;)d

  4. On my tbr mountain - I will get around to reading it.

  5. Have heard some wonderful things about this book - glad you enjoyed it Gaby! Also, the idea of cellular memory certainly makes for an interesting book topic, so I'm sure it must have made it all the more interesting. Lovely review!