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Pig-Heart Boy

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  2,926 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
You're thirteen. All you want is a normal life. But most normal kids don't need heart transplants.

So there's this doctor. He says there's a chance for you. But he also says it's experimental, controversial and risky. And it's never been done before.

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, this is a powerful, thought-provoking story from the award-winning Malorie Blackman.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 5th 2004 by Corgi Childrens (first published 1997)
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TheBirdNerd Not at all. The actual operation isn't described at all, and throughout the book there isn't any mention for gruesome stuff really. There is a scene…moreNot at all. The actual operation isn't described at all, and throughout the book there isn't any mention for gruesome stuff really. There is a scene when a woman throws a bucket of pig blood over Cameron, but it isn't described graphically. (less)
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Noughts & Crosses by Malorie BlackmanA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. SchwabBoy Meets Boy by David LevithanHacker by Malorie BlackmanBoys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman
YALC 2016
6th out of 164 books — 14 voters
Half Bad by Sally  GreenHalf Wild by Sally  GreenThe Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda SalisburyThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
YALC 2015
48th out of 137 books — 27 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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So touching, my 2nd favourite Malorie book of the month. Review to follow in the next few days.


For my pre read thoughts and reasons for rating please visit my blog: From the Shadows I Review

You know how I had trouble reviewing ‘Double Cross’ well I’m having even more trouble with this one. I can’t quite put into words how I feel about any of this. But I’m gonna give it a good go. This is a really good story, touching, realistic, heart breaking and so enjoyable. It’s a short story,
Nov 14, 2012 Den rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, 2012
This is all about a young teen who needs a heart transplant because his own is not working and he will probably die within a year. He is offered a heart but it is a pig's heart and if he accepts he'll be the first human to have had this kind of transplant. As with anything new, it involves risks but he is prepared to take them as he is fed up of not really living - just watching. He decides to go ahead and tells his friend to keep it secret. Unfortunately his friend lets it slip to his parents ...more
Jul 14, 2015 Yami rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
let me quote the protagonist and summarize this novel " it is simple, really"

Cam. is a boy with a weak heart , and the only ready donor is a pig called Trudy.

for Cam and his family , after the procedure instead of being concerned about their son's short life span, their focus turns to the media, and the people talking animal rights.
so the boy has to face all kind of people, and all kind of opinions, trying to figure out the right from wrong, and the art of living, forgiving and forgetting.

the no
May 01, 2016 Alisha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this book a while ago but every time I remember it I can only think of the good things. This book is so amazing and it just opens up a whole new part of our world that could one day be realistic. I love the way Malorie makes the characters come alive and I just love the entire book so much. Definite 5 for me
Sep 17, 2016 Ellie rated it liked it
"She was going to die so that I could live. Wasn't that a fair exchange?"

Thirteen year old Cameron Kelsey is told that, without a heart transplant, he will be dead within a year. But without any available human donors, he is beginning to lose hope. That is, until Doctor Bryce appears- with a different option... Cameron could receive the heart of a pig. It's risky, controversial and it's never been done before, but will Cameron be willing to take the plunge?

I'm not sure how I felt about this book
Jul 28, 2015 Stephen rated it liked it
I've read a few of Malorie Blackman's books: some good, some not that good, but none of which, in my opinion, can match her excellent Noughts & Crosses series. Pig-Heart Boy is my favourite of these books. In typical Blackman style, it's a powerful story that tackles some pretty hefty issues.

Thirteen-year-old Cameron is dying, and time is running out to get a transplant. In desperation, his father approaches a doctor who is trying to conduct research with pig hearts. Desperate, Cameron's fam
Apr 08, 2012 Samantha rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 03, 2010 Libby rated it liked it
Pig Heart Boy touches on a very sensitive subject; using animal organs in human transplants. The book made me think about whether I would accept a pig heart.
Yet I still had to give it 3 stars.
Honestly, this book wasn't amazingly well-written. Some reviewers said it was amazing because it was written in the way an 11 year old would speak. Well, here's some news for you: 11 year-olds who read books don't conform to sterotypes. Blackman seemed to be busy trying to get into the mindset of a young bo
James Payne
Jun 01, 2014 James Payne rated it it was amazing
Malorie Blackman, everyone says she is the best children author, and I can see where they are coming from. This is a truly brilliant book, I do not think I have ever read a book so fast. If anyone says that this is a CHILDREN book then they are wrong! My mum is reading this book and it is a powerful story, sticking in your mind for days. Whenever something bad happens to one of the characters, you really feel for them. I got to know the characters so well, this is one of the best books I have ...more
Dec 19, 2008 Marta rated it it was amazing
I read "Pig Heart Boy" when I was in year 6 and I really liked it.

It was about a boy who has heart problems and needs to have a heart transplant. No person would give away their heart so the doctors suggested to use a pig's heart. The boy's parents do not want that to happen and let their child have a pig's heart and they fuss about it really much. The boy dos have the pig's heart at the end and it has a really good ending.

I enjoyed the book and will read more Malorie Blackman's books.
Georgia Morris
Nov 25, 2015 Georgia Morris rated it really liked it
This book deals with some very mature themes in a way which manages to high not shy away from them but remain child friendly. It is a captivating narrative and explores great topics for discussion with children based on animal rights, bullying and death.
Oct 26, 2016 Helen rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking. Cameron is a sympathetic character who draws us into the debate without ever telling us which side we should come down on.
Nia Williams
Oct 30, 2016 Nia Williams rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read that gets you thinking about science and how it may be going in the future. Also challenges people's attitudes to different 'things' in the science world. Really good.
Laura Simpson
Oct 29, 2016 Laura Simpson rated it it was amazing
I just love malorie Blackman! This book is really powerful and thought provoking. Really interesting!
Avi Dixit
Jun 03, 2012 Avi Dixit rated it really liked it
“I am drowning in this roaring silence. I am drowning. I am going to die...” Cameron, a thirteen year old teenager is desperate for a heart transplant. He is smart, good looking and extremely intelligent. However his life isn’t normal. Ever since his body caught the viral infection 2 years ago, his heat had started weakening and producing a massive number of problems for his body. And now it was the time that he was forced to change his heart to survive against the forces of the world. Not with ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Ross
This story revolves around a thirteen year old boy called Cameron, who suffers from heart disease. All his prayers about getting a new heart can be answered by a doctor who suggest a xenotransplant. AKA transplanting a pig heart into a human body. He has to deal with the stigma and hate mail and parental infighting and general lack of understanding that he faces in the time preceding the operation and the aftermath.

To this effect, Blackman illustrates the changes in somebody after an event - (vi
Leonie Byrne
Jul 23, 2013 Leonie Byrne rated it really liked it
Shelves: real-life-issues
The more I read by Malorie Blackman the more I think she just doesn't do happy endings. I enjoyed this book but felt the ending was disappointing and sort of rushed.

Some spoilers

Cameron is an average boy he likes going swimming with his friends and has his eyes set on Julie a girl in his class. But there's one thing that's not so average about Cameron.. He's dying. A few years previously he caught an infection which has damaged his heart. Now he only has about a year of his life left. He can't
Feb 22, 2015 Chrissi rated it really liked it
I think I vaguely remember being intrigued by this book when I was younger, but I never got around to reading it. Coupled with a university task and a desire to read more from Malorie Blackman, I was excited to get to this book. Pig Heart Boy is a particularly touching story about a very sick boy who takes the opportunity to have a pig’s heart transplanted into this body.

Pig Heart Boy doesn’t take long to read at all yet it still makes a massive impact. I found it heart breaking but it was also
Aug 11, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Pig Heart Boy is a touching book about a 13 year old boy named Cameron. He just wants to be able to live a normal life like other boys his age. He wants to play football with his friends, touch the bottom of the deep end in the pool, run, dance and lead a carefree life. However, Cameron is dying of a heart disease and desperately needs a new heart fast...but what if the heart came from a pig?

This book explores themes such as friendship, loyalty, trust, self-sacrifice,xenotransplants, coping with
Dec 07, 2013 Nidhi rated it it was amazing
(view spoiler)

This book by Malorie Blackman is a powerful, touching story. It’s emotional in the beginning because Cameron can’t do any

Beth Bonini
Sep 12, 2012 Beth Bonini rated it liked it
Malorie Blackman has a considerable oeuvre of YA fiction, but this is only the second of her books that I've read -- the first being her Noughts and Crosses, undoubtedly the novel she is best known for. They are some similarities between the two in the sense that they are both fast-paced and full of drama and family tension. The prose is simple and conversational, definitely meant to be contemporary and conversational -- as opposed to "literary." This book has an interesting premise -- 13 year o ...more
Feb 20, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
One of my book groups chose 'Noughts and Crosses' and it seemed to go down really well with some girls reading the next book.

I didn't like it. I would go so far as saying I hated it. The story was dire and the writing rubbish.

But, this author gets such good reviews so where had I gone wrong? I decided to try another book, and found 'Pig Heart Boy' in a charity shop.

And I'm so glad I did try again. This book is brilliant and will be going onto my 'favourites' shelf.

The only reason I can't give i
Rhian Pritchard
Nov 19, 2014 Rhian Pritchard rated it really liked it
The wonderful thing about short books is that they take hardly any time at all to read. Picked this one up at six, finished at half eight, and changed my entire attitude in-between. I have always loved Malorie Blackman's work, ever since we read Noughts and Crosses in English in Y9, and I went on to read the rest of the series. I can't believe it's taken me this long to getting round to reading this one, because it was so worth it! They style was a strange kind of blast from the past, actually, ...more
The Styling Librarian
Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman - Science Fiction/Realistic Fiction, 5th grade and up – This is a book my year 6 students read this past year. Came with high recommendations from a lovely student reader in addition to my former library assistant who hasn’t steered me wrong yet! I simply enjoyed reading a book where people stick to what is true to them and are not swayed by the public. Such a heart wrenching situation. You are left at the end wondering a little bit but it was such a perfect, ...more
Jan 12, 2013 Serena rated it liked it
The beginning is just... wow. It really hooked me in. Nice book.

Recommended For:
Ages 9 - 12.


Thirteen-year-old Cam wants to be normal. He wants to touch the bottom of the swimming pool at the deep end, to run, to dance, and to play football with his friends, but he can't because his heart doesn't work properly.
He caught a viral infection that affected his heart and his doctor decided that he needed his heart replaced... with a pig's one. The doctor told him and his parent's that it MU
Rozerin Delal
Jan 18, 2015 Rozerin Delal rated it really liked it
I think this book is very interesting. In this book Cameron has got a heart transplant problem and it is sad. He just wants to live normally like other people but he has got a serious health problem. One doctor suggest him to have a pig heart and he starts to think. At the beginning I thought that, this book will be ordinary dramatic novel but it wasn't like that. It is a effective and book has got a dramatic scenes.In real, we can't have got a pig heart but in this book writer made a craziness. ...more
Jan 08, 2016 Aarush rated it it was amazing
Pig-heart boy was a very good book. The struggles of the main character were very moving, and the fact that he couldn't do ordinary things like play sports were absolutely shocking. When he got the heart transplant done, the way people treated him was horrific. This book really knows how to bring out your emotions.

In terms of narrative, it was also excellent. There weren't any long descriptions, and it was fairly fast-paced. The first person narrative was a good choice, because the feelings of C
Sep 29, 2013 5inabus rated it it was ok
Oh man, it was just so predictable.... We still enjoyed it, but the kid's voice was just a bit annoying; angry, petulant, grating... you know, perhaps it wasn't an ideal book to read aloud. The kid's interior monologue just didn't work. And don't get me started on Pig-Heart Boy's video diary (letters to his unborn sister) - a thinly veiled gimmick to allow the author to reveal the kid's softer side, to let us in on all the hopes and fears he wouldn't otherwise share with us. Bbrrr.

The concept wa
Lozzi Counsell
Sep 02, 2015 Lozzi Counsell rated it liked it
This is a book I had to read for University and I really enjoyed it - I loved being in the point of view of Cam and facing his path with him and also people's reactions to his decision. My favourite character was the Nan and the reason why I marked this story down is because I thought that he was going to stick with the decision about a new heart when his struggles reappear and if he had of done then the book would have been much more memorable and gripping for me. I am also left with the ...more
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Review 4 19 Sep 25, 2014 09:20AM  
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An award-winning children's author, Malorie Blackman was honoured with an OBE in 2008. Her work has been adapted for TV and stage.

More information available at:
British Council: Contemporary Authors
British Council: Encompass Culture
Channel 4 Learning: Book Box
More about Malorie Blackman...

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