Irfan Master: Out of Heart

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Donating your heart is the most precious gift of all.

Adam is a teenage boy who lives with his mum and younger sister. His dad has left them although lives close by. His sister no longer speaks and his mum works two jobs. Adam feels the weight of the world upon his shoulders.

Then his grandfather dies and in doing so he donates a very precious gift – his heart. William is the recipient of Adam’s grandfather’s heart. He has no family and feels rootless and alone. In fact, he feels no particular reason to live.

And then he meets Adam’s family.

William has received much, but it appears that he has much to offer Adam and his family too.

A powerful tale of love and strength in adversity.

Out of Heart is a general fiction novel aimed at YA readers. It focuses on the life of Adam and the way in which his family life is drastically altered following the death of his grandfather who, without telling anyone and with no obvious reason as to why, donates his heart upon his death. William is the lucky one, receiving Adam’s grandfather’s heart and feels inclined to get to know the family that belong to this heart. Having no family left and no true purpose in life, William finds himself helping out Adam’s family in a variety of ways that changes all of them for the better.

This is definitely one of those novels that holds a lot of meaning and is deeply thoughtful. There are a lot of themes that pop up throughout such as family, community, abuse, diversity… Adam is from Indian heritage whilst William is Caucasian, something that doesn’t go amiss within the local community who feel it is their duty to “help” Adam’s family from William’s invasion into their family life. However, there is a sense of familial duty and kinship for William by helping out this family. Ever since gaining his new heart, he has been almost drawn to this family and being able to help them up, becoming a part of the family and helping them to move forward and accept the actions of their grandfather.

Adam, our main protagonist, is a young adult who is unsure in himself. He feels like he is a burden upon his family with his Mum all but shunning him for his likeness and similarities he has with his own father who physically abused all of them. Adam’s way to handle his emotions and the thoughts running through his head is to draw, and jot down the words and phrases that pop into his head. In the beginning of the novel, his thoughts and phrases frequently appear within the structure of the narrative, however, as the novel progresses and William’s position within the family becomes more developed, Adam’s need to organise his thoughts dwindles as he becomes more sure of himself and more at ease in his mind. Adam is definitely portrayed as the moody teenager with dark, brooding thoughts in the way that he brings himself across around people such as Laila.

Though this novel definitely had it’s good points (the themes it highlights and the general plot-line), I found it to be a little bit lacklustre and, altogether, not something I would generally have picked up. I felt that the overall writing style was a bit simple and generic. There was a lot of metaphorical description with eyes, and descriptions, but I felt like, other than that, much of the novel was bland and without any real life. I wasn’t drawn to the novel eager to find out what happens next, I didn’t particularly become attached to the characters, and I did find my mind drifting quite a few times. There was no true satisfaction from reading this novel, as much as I appreciated the topics of conversation.

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