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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Book Review - Instructions for a Second-hand Heart by Tamsyn Murray

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Review by Suze

Niamh and Leo are competitive, but Niamh almost never wins. Leo is the perfect child and Niamh doesn't feel like she can compare to her twin brother. She hates this part of him, but not so much that she'd forever wants to be without it. When a devastating accident takes Leo's life she doesn't know how to cope and suddenly feels very alone. Niamh has to find a way to live without her brother. 

When someone Niamh doesn't know contacts her on social media she initially finds it creepy and doesn't want to reply. Jonny wants to let her know he is in some way connected to her, but he is too afraid to tell her how. Especially when he decides to take a chance and meets her. He then discovers how much he likes her. Will Jonny and Niamh be able to form a friendship? Can Niamh handle the truth behind Jonny's appearance in her life and will there be a permanent place in her world for him?

Instructions for a Second-hand Heart is a beautiful emotional story. Leo loses his life and Jonny gets a chance at living his. That already made me tear up. Tamsyn Murray describes the different stages of grief her main characters are going through in a fantastic emphatic way and it was easy to understand them. Both Jonny and Niamh don't always make the wisest decisions, they act on impulse and that makes fascinating reading. I liked that they aren't perfect and have their flaws, insecurities and instabilities. Because of that they are interesting main characters.

Tamsyn Murray's writing has an easy flow, that makes it possible to completely focus on her story. She writes about the dark and difficult parts of life in an honest and raw way, but balances this with the healing power of love and friendship. I absolutely loved that combination and think it worked really well. Instructions for a Second-hand Heart is filled with unexpected twists and turns, complicated feelings and awkward situations. It's a fantastic book with many amazing layers and an impressive romantic ending.


If you love beautiful YA stories about life and death, Instructions for a Second-hand Heart would be an excellent choice.


  1. i love the title of this. sounds great.

  2. I read a few YA novels and the subject of twins appeal, I think I'll add this to my TBR list. Thanks for the review.

  3. Sounds so intense, but also soulful!


  4. I love YA and I just have to read it now.

  5. Sounds like it would be very emotive reading.

  6. It sounds like the much better version of a 90s(?) movie; I'm glad the dark and sad part are balanced out with romance and friendship, it seems like it'd be a good read.

  7. I like when an author can combine the heartache with the happy emotional times.

  8. My husband lost his older sister when he was a kid. So I have seen how emotionally it affects families.

  9. It sounds like a very emotional read and a real page turner.