Heart Bones: an uninspired romance

Kelly Gildea, Literature Review Editor

In yet another one of her signature whirlwind romances, Colleen Hoover tries (and fails) to craft a profound love story about two young adults, Beyah and Samson, who have each faced unimaginable hardships. Heart Bones follows 19-year old Beyah, the daughter of an absent drug addict, as she moves into her wealthy dad’s beach house. When she meets 20-year Samson, her mysterious neighbor, the two begin to fall for each other. But of course, there’s a catch—Beyah is going away to college at the end of the summer to leave her new life (and Samson) behind.

The book is well-written and fast-paced, with all of its characters well-developed and given appropriate, if not always pleasant, characterizations. Hoover does an excellent job of describing the trauma Beyah has lived through and her resulting distrust of those around her, as well as explaining why she was drawn to quiet and stubborn Samson. The supporting characters, namely Beyah’s stepsister, are some of the best parts of the book, offering their constant support and kindness to the main characters.

One of the primary issues with the book, however, is its unrealistic nature. When Beyah’s stepsister, Sara, displays disordered eating habits and body image issues, Beyah manages to “cure” these problems with one brief conversation. Additionally, though most of the novel’s plot revolves around Beyah having to leave for Penn State, Beyah’s acceptance to college (on a D1 volleyball scholarship, no less) is solely based on the fact that she has worked hard and that she’s 5 ’10”. Unfortunately, that is not quite how the college application process works, and Hoover’s random beach volleyball scene (which was most likely added to show that Beyah is a three-dimensional character with interests other than Samson) makes little to no sense and further emphasizes Hoover’s disconnect from reality.

The majority of the book has no real purpose except to create unnecessary angst and show Samson and Beyah’s undying love for one another. The two share a few cute scenes, but it is annoying to read over and over again how mysterious Samson is and how damaged Beyah is and how they can never be together. It is hard to believe that in the span of a few weeks, two people could become so attached. It is even harder to believe given that Samson refuses to tell Beyah anything about his past and is obviously hiding something. However, Samson’s dishonesty and trauma only make him more attractive in Beyah’s eyes, and the pair continue to see each other even though they cannot stay together come the end of the summer.

Despite her best efforts, Hoover’s attempt at writing a sincere love story falls flat. Beyah and Samson’s relationship may be intense and full of chemistry, but it has no foundation or substance. Heart Bones is a collection of grand gestures and dramatic scenes, not a well-developed love story. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a quick romance read, but not to anyone accustomed to Hoover’s traditionally profound writing style or looking for a memorable romance.