Our Crooked Hearts is my first novel I’ve read by Melissa Albert – I’ve seen The Hazel Wood around, but never picked it up, so I figured I’d start with her latest novel! This is a witchy mystery novel told in both the present (Ivy) and the past (her mom, Dana) and is perfect for the spooky season!
Title: Our Crooked Hearts
Author: Melissa Albert
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal
Going into this, I somehow didn’t realize it would be a mystery/thriller novel, but it became apparent pretty quickly things aren’t as they seem. As Ivy’s soon to be ex is (drunkenly) driving her home from a house party, he swerves off the road to miss hitting a naked girl in the middle of the road. Then Ivy starts finding dead rabbits around their yard, and finds some weird stuff in a jar her mom is burying in their backyard, including a glass jar with blood in it.
This is told alternating between Ivy in the present and her mom, Dana, in the past. We learn Dana was best friends with Fee since childhood, and the pair became friends as teenagers with Marion – a girl slowly learning witchcraft and bringing Dana and Fee into her coven so they too could learn witchcraft. They get deeply into the magic and see how powerful they can truly become.
In the present, Ivy doesn’t know any of this – all she knows is her mom is missing and weird things are happening. I liked Ivy as a character – she is a teenager, but her paranoia of someone watching her isn’t unfounded and she acts as rationally as any person could be expected to act in that situation.
I thought the story being told from past and present and slowly colliding was a good way to tell it – the puzzle pieces slowly came together.
I should’ve seen this coming, but one of my biggest dislikes in thriller stories is an unreliable narrator – and unfortunately that’s what we have in this story. It wasn’t as bad as some stories are (*cough*WeWereLiars*cough*) but it irked me enough that I couldn’t fully enjoy this story.
Still, I thought it was a fun and season appropriate read for the month of September! The slight scare factor and the witchy elements were nice intro to spooky season. I’m not sure if I’ll be checking anything else out by Melissa Albert – this wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t for me.
I always enjoy an audiobook with dual narration, and we had two narrators, one for Ivy and one for Dana. Unfortunately I could not stand the narrator for Dana – her “speaking” voice felt too deep and soft, and it made it difficult to understand her. When she was doing voices for characters, it was fine, but plain narration was a struggle for me. If you like audiobooks, this one wasn’t terrible, but I also wouldn’t recommend it.
I’m giving this 2.5 stars and rounding up to 3 because I did read this pretty quickly and enjoyed most of it. If you’re looking for a witchy but light on the horror story for the spooky season, I would recommend this one! This is classified as “horror” but its still young adult – there is nothing too horror or gore about it.