When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined. With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?
When I closed this book I felt a mixture of meh and mild disappointment. I think this one may have been a case of I just wanted to love it so much, and it just fell flat. But here's what I loved: Dee. Dee is such a great character. I understand her drives, her fears, and her motivations. She has such a bad home and family life and she just needs to get out. When she sets out to make that deal with that demon, I'm terrified for her but also I'm like GIRL GO GET IT. FIND YOUR BEST LIFE. I want her to succeed so much. I think many will identify with her and Lloyd-Jones does such a good job getting into her head and portraying her inner life. I also love the way the demons are introduced. There are some flashbacks, but it felt seamless and not like too much time was spent setting up the existence of these demons in this world. The group of folks Dee ends up running around with are also pretty incredible. All different, all interesting, and they also get some chapters of their own that works to set them up as more well-rounded--if still side--characters. What I didn't love: It just got so slow. You guys, the pacing is soooo slow. It started off slow, it picked up a little, and, then it still felt slow? As great as Lloyd-Jones is at getting into Dee's head, sometimes the actual story suffers as a result. Like, things need to happen and this weird world has to be explained at some point. The world itself. It may have been just me--and I'll admit I read a lot of this while sick, so maybe I wasn't as with it as I needed to be--but I got lost and confused in the ultimate story line about the demons and their existence. And I didn't really care?
Also, I think the romance is presented as more central to the story and I'm not sure it is. It's definitely about the power of human connection--and James, for sure is a pretty great character--but I dunno about calling this romance.
Should you read it? This is ultimately a novel about a girl learning how to stand on her own while also letting the right people in. Plus a good dose of otherworldly demons who you can literally sell body parts to. So, you know, it's pretty solid all around.
3 1/2 Stars
Published August 8, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers