Wrong place. Wrong time. Right people.
Jessie Bravo knows what’s wrong with her life; she just doesn’t know what to do about it. Eleven years ago, she saved Tyler Cantrell from getting his ass kicked by gay-bashing high school jocks. Since, they’ve been the closest of friends. Years later, Jessie circled the drain of chronic depression, spiraling out of control, and it was Tyler’s turn to save her. Who knew her best friend would become a Hollywood A-lister? Though Jessie credits Tyler for keeping her together, living in the shadow of her best friend’s celebrity isn’t all it’s cut out to be. It’s up to Jessie to figure out what she has to do to be happy: get better or get lost.
Stardom is on the horizon for British television actor Boyd Kerrington. He’s starring opposite Tyler Cantrell in an American feature film sure to blow his career out the water. For all the years he’s focused on his career, however, he’s settled in his personal life. That is, until he meets Tyler’s best friend, Jessie. Jessie is refreshingly cool, passionate, and compelling…but she’s also complicated. Worse yet, she’s not interested in remaining in the celebrity stratosphere, even for her lifelong friend.
I think one of the strongest relationships is that of Tyler and Jessie. From the time they were in high school together, they formed a bond that made them best friends which was nearly unbreakable after Jessie saved Tyler from an incident of bullying. Eventually, Boyd and Jessie's paths cross when Boyd and Tyler are working on a movie together, and Boyd is immediately attracted to Jessie. This is not a typical boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and boy gets the girl back story.
While part of that is true to some degree, there's a lot more involved, including Jessie's struggles with depression and the effect it has on her relationships with Tyler and Boyd both. I think it's this element of the story which made the book compelling, and served to draw me in to the flow of the novel. What I also really liked about Heart Grows Fonder is that the characters felt real, and I developed a lot of empathy for Jessie and everything she was facing in her life. I also felt empathy for Boyd when it seems that Jessie is keeping her distance and remaining silent as she works on her depression. On the whole though, I'd have to say that all of the major characters were developed well, and I grew to care about them the further I got.
Another element of Heart Grows Fonder I really liked was the insight into the Hollywood lifestyle and the effect that can have on a person. Overall, I thought this was a very well-written book, and my rating is 4/5 platypires.
“What was that?” Tyler said in a hoarse whisper.
Wide-eyed, his face shimmered as if he’d been doused with glitter under a blinding white spotlight. Dumbstruck, Jessie remained staring into the gaping hole of the universe where Boyd Kerrington sat only seconds earlier.
“That was…” Jessie struggled to get out even those two words, and she couldn’t think of another to follow them.
That was Boyd Fucking Kerrington. It was Boyd who’d stopped her world spinning on its axis for a suspended series of seconds that, for all she knew, could have lasted a whole year. She’d acted a brat and he’d thought it funny. When she realized she was embarrassing herself in front of Boyd, she stopped dead in her tracks and swallowed her pride, painfully.
Then their eyes met. She’d looked at him dead in the eyes a million times, but those instances had all been through the television. Sure, those eyes were the same—icy blue like a frozen-over lake in the dead of winter—but they weren’t Astor Welles’s eyes this time; they were something altogether new and different. For the first time in weeks, she felt something other than a vacuum of nothingness.
While he looked away, returning to his breakfast, Jessie watched him, for the first time free of the veneer his character. But he avoided her gaze, keeping his attention, instead, on Tyler.
Layers of stage makeup and all the smart hairstyling of Astor Welles peeled away to reveal a real human being with complicated expressions and a wealth of idiosyncrasies. Despite his severe, angular features, Boyd’s manner was approachable, even a little bit sweet. His voice was the same, but the cadence wasn’t. Astor Welles cut through steel with a crisp arrogant timbre as much as with his cheekbones’ daring angles. Boyd Kerrington wasn’t as clipped.
Sensing she was doing nothing to benefit her friend’s morning with him, Jessie excused herself.
“I have some writing to do,” she said, standing and stepping toward the sliding glass door.
Though she expected Boyd would relax a little at her departure, he reared to face her with an unmistakable tinge of remorse. She bit into her lip and reiterated her need to get to work. Boyd nodded shortly, his handsomely sloppy curls lifting in the breeze for a second before settling down again. Tyler said something that sounded like “Good idea,” but that melded with the white noise of Vancouver.
“It was… to meet you.” Red with embarrassment, she tucked into the suite and shuffled into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
With no one watching her, she banged her head against the door. Boyd Kerrington was currently sitting on the balcony of her suite, talking with Tyler over cigarettes and a king’s brunch feast. Rather than join them, Jessie relegated herself to the bed. She curled up beneath the comforter, fully clothed, and stared into the oblivion of her private bathroom.
2. Brand New Friend, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
3. Dear Catastrophe Waitress, Belle & Sebastian
4. Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have)?, Buzzcocks
5. I Shatter, Magnetic Fields
6. Can’t Hardly Wait, The Replacements
7. Cactus, Pixies
8. Stay Out of Trouble, Kings of Convenience
9. Never Talking to You Again, Husker Du
10. A New England, Billy Bragg
11. International Small Arms Traffic Blues, The Mountain Goats
12. Screaming at a Wall, Minor Threat
13. Andy’s Chest, Lou Reed
14. I Think She’s Starting to Like Me, The Queers
15. Long-forgotten Fairy Tale, Magnetic Fields
16. Rudie Can’t Fail, The Clash
Spotify link: Heart Grow Fonder
About the Author
Cristy lives in Miami, FL where she is a reader and writer most of the time, and a knitter much less of the time than she was six months before she took up writing again. She writes the books that she likes to read. She describes her writing style as riot grrrl Jane Austen sprinkled with a little magic. There’s always a killer soundtrack running in the background of her novels – all you need to do is turn to the playlist to know what’s up.