Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Heart With Joy by Steve Cushman

Genre: YA
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 200
Book Source: Own purchase

Synopsis: In Heart With Joy, fifteen-year-old Julian Hale’s life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Venice, Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been working on for years. While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.

Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon. This surprises Julian because he has never seen his father exercise, but once he agrees to help him train the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before. Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart. And Julian’s heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store. By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.

Heart With Joy is an uplifting coming of age novel about cooking and bird watching, about writing and pottery, and about falling in love and the sacrifices we all make. But ultimately, it’s about the importance of following your heart and trusting that it will take you where you need to go.

After seeing Staci's glowing review of Heart with Joy on her blog Life in the Thumb I couldn't resist ordering this one for myself. Heart With Joy is a heartwarming story; quiet, reflective and touching but at the same time fast paced and entertaining.

Julian isn't your typical 15 year old teenager, he befriends next-door-neighbour, bird-loving Mrs Peters and under her insightful, gentle guidance learns a thing or two about life and love. I really enjoyed reading a YA novel devoted to the growth in a young man's relationships; I loved watching the connection develop between Julian and his Dad and the bond between Julian and Mrs Peters was delightful. I felt like I went on a journey with Julian, not just with his blossoming relationships but the passion he felt cooking re-ignited my enjoyment in cooking for those I love.

Heart With Joy is a little book with a big message, a reminder to stop and smell the roses, to find joy in the simple things, to find your 'thing', the thing that transports you from just "going through the motions" to giving your life special meaning for you. Sometimes it takes courage to follow your heart but the rewards are so worth it!

Heart with Joy is a truly feel-good read, a YA with universal appeal and the title encapsulates all that is beautiful in this novel.

Visit Steve Cushman's website to find out more.

Win These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf. Check this blog post for details!


  1. Wow! Your review was stunning. I wish I could've said all of those things!! :)

    I'm glad that you enjoyed it as much as I did!!

  2. Now I feel bad for not wanting to read this one, cos it seems so good..oh well I guess not for me

  3. Staci you did say all those things, it was your wonderful review that had me buying this little treasure!

  4. i've never heard of this book but now i want to go and track it down

    lovely lovely review!

  5. I haven't heard of it either. Sounds awesome. Great review :)


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