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The Hearts We Sold

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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?

381 pages, Hardcover

First published August 8, 2017

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About the author

Emily Lloyd-Jones

10 books1,520 followers
Emily Lloyd-Jones grew up on a vineyard in rural Oregon, where she played in evergreen forests and learned to fear sheep. After graduating from Western Oregon University with an English degree, she enrolled in the publishing program at Rosemont College just outside of Philadelphia. She currently resides in Northern California.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,076 reviews
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
January 15, 2020
This was how normal people survived their own fairy tales. They became their own kind of monster.

my heart actually still exists but I'm going to sell it to a demon because I no longer truly have it. this was SO. CATHARTIC.

There are books that make you cry of sadness, and then there are books that make you cry with a sense of beauty. A sense that no matter how terrible things get, everything will eventually get better. Books that you emotionally connect to. And this book... wow. The Hearts We Sold is one of the best explorations of abuse and self-hate I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

Our lead, Dee, is a biracial Latina abuse survivor trying to hang on to college, and a life away from home, when she finds out she's lost her scholarship. It is this ultimatum that leads her to sell her soul to a demon. Which is one of the coolest concepts ever, first of all. But it also really nails this concept. This book is weird, and whimsical, and so great.

Dee is... such a fantastically done character. Her arc primarily focuses around her history of abuse and her self-hatred: her feeling that everything is her fault, and that she deserves nothing. The thesis of the importance of finding family beyond your blood, and not putting up with blood when they'll give you nothing - it's so important to me. And wow, Lloyd-Jones captured how it feels to come from a bad household really, really well; the only other book I've read that captured this topic so well was Heather Demetrios' Bad Romance. While I definitely think this one could be triggering, it's definitely not torture porn about how much abuse sucks meant to cause tears. This book is a totally different beast.

Something that also really struck me about this book was how well adjusted Dee projects herself to be; from interacting with her once, you would never guess at her past, and that is exactly what she wants. She has found herself in stories, hidden her pain under miles and miles of homework and schoolwork and recovery. But as much as she's gotten through her childhood, as much as she's made herself stable, she has not recovered. It is never that easy, and it is a process, and the end doesn't ever come — it's about improving over time. 
“This must be why the demon took their hearts. Because it was the only way a human might survive this—by hollowing themselves out.”

What struck me about this book was the sympathy given to every character’s struggle within the narrative. Lloyd-Jones strays very far from making moral judgments about character action, even when certain side characters do things that are undeniably terrible, leading to a sense of amorality for every character. The side characters are each given their own narrative agency and development, and while some might not be likeable - Cora especially is not a character I'd consider likable - all are developed enough that they become hard to hate. Also, found family trope. So much found family trope.

Oh, and speaking of side characters, I adored the queer rep in here. This is one of the only YA books I've ever read with a relationship between a lesbian, the iconic Gemma, and a trans girl, my new book girlfriend Riley. And that's really sad. While I'm not trans, I personally thought Riley's character was really well-written - she's not a tragic trope and she's not written in a fetishistic way at all. I also liked that several of the characters were people of color and a few had chronic illnesses or disabilities; the casual diversity is lovely to see.

While there is a romance here, there are two points in its favor: 1) it's not the focus, and 2) James is so fleshed-out and well-written that it is impossible not to love him. The relationship between Dee and James is built so well, without too much focus towards the beginning and a focus on a slow-burn instead. I adored it, and you all know how picky I am with my book couples. They are just so completely believable and I love them.

In terms of plot, I think some readers may be disappointed, and at the same time I am so satisfied. This is primarily a subtle story, rather than one full of action, and your enjoyment will primarily depend on how much you connect to these characters. While I adore the worldbuilding - come on, a widespread industry of demons making deals? - I think this story could've had a much smaller amount of worldbuilding and I still would've loved it just as much. The demon vibe is amazing, but the plot isn't always the focus. And I do feel quite a bit of this book was mostly buildup. It's one of those books that's more of a beautiful buildup to a stunning final conclusion than an I-loved-this-from-page-one-couldn't-put-it-down story.

But for me, this really worked. Because speaking of endings— that ending. This story's ending was one of my favorite things I've read this year. It's two pages of solid crying. It's a perfect balance of sad and happy. It's exactly why I LOVE emotional catharsis so much.

Basically, this is a really impactful emotional arc I'm sure will be a new fave for many. I can't even put my finger on exactly what about it hit me so much, but this book came very, very close to making me cry. This was a buddyread with the buddyread-luck squad Melanie and Destiny, and considering we all gave it a three or above, we'll all hopefully be looking out for more by this author. I know I plan to follow Lloyd-Jones in the future and probably reread this a thousand more times.

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,167 reviews98.2k followers
May 29, 2018

This was in the August 2017 OwlCrate box!

“A demon as knitting outside the hospital.”

This has so much good, I really enjoyed reading it, and I wish I could put this in the hands of a lot of teens that I know need it.

The Hearts We Sold is a story about a girl named Dee that is struggling with abuse and anxiety from her family. She lives in a boarding school that keeps her in a much healthier situation, but the fear never leaves her and it impacts her day to day life constantly.

This story is set in Portland, Oregon, but in this world everyone is aware that demons exist. People in this world make deals with them, and in exchange for some body part, they will grant them something in return. And the demons only show themselves to the people who need them. Dee has been seeing demons for a long time. And you guys can read the title of the book, you can probably guess what hijinks ensue!

Half way through I thought this was going to be a five star read, but then one of the side characters did something pretty shitty, and no one ever talks about it, and it sort of ruined the story for me. Also, this story took a very unexpected turn in general that I’m not sure if I liked. I did, however, really enjoy the conclusion. So, what I’m long windedly trying to say is that the start of this book is amazing, and the end of this book is oh so beautiful, but the middle lost me a bit.

This book talks heavily on parental abuse, and how it can be so much more than just physical. Abuse takes many forms, and even though physical abuse is shown here, too, this book also shows a very realistic depiction of having parents who are alcoholics. There are so many parents out there that truly pick the contents of a bottle over their families, and it’s something that’s not depicted much in YA, but The Hearts We Sold puts it on display.

It also talks about how your parents’ problems are not yours, and how important it is to get away from the situation. I know not everyone can get away, but you can’t be stuck because you must take care of your abusers, even though that’s a very real reality for so many. But go into this book knowing that some of the scenes involving Dee interacting with her family aren’t the easiest. This book made me ugly cry quite a few times.

“This must be why the demon took their hearts. Because it was the only way a human might survive this—by hollowing themselves out.”

Not only does this book handle a very tough topic very well, it also has some great representation. There is a main side character who is a lesbian and was my absolute favorite. I really appreciated how she had a happy coming out story, because that’s something that I was so very blessed enough to have, also, and all I want in this world is to see more happier coming out stories that aren’t always tragedies. Then, a bit later in the story, we get a trans side character who I also fell in love with. And I touched on this before, but this book has such great anxiety representation, too.

This book is also an ode to found families and how important it is to find people that unconditionally love you. Blood is just that, blood, but choosing to spend your days with people who unconditionally love and support you is the true meaning of family, and Dee beautifully learns this.

Overall, this book is important, and even though I didn’t personally love the story as much as I hoped I would, I would still recommend this with every bone in my body.

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Buddy Read with Elise! ❤
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,656 reviews5,131 followers
March 12, 2020
“Nothing comes for free. We just don't know what it'll cost.”

I can't believe it's taken me three months to write this review, but every time I sat down to attempt it, I just couldn't get the right words on paper. This book meant so much to me. I honestly went into it not expecting very much, but something about it just resonated so strongly with me that, even now, months later, I read the quotes I highlighted and I get instant chills. I think Emily Lloyd-Jones is an incredible artist, and I'm unspeakably eager to read her future works.

A person could trade away a piece of themselves for a wish come true.

Hearts is set in an alternate reality, in which demons walk among humans, offering wishes for a price. Dee never thought she'd be taking a demon up on his offer, though, until her scholarship ran dry and she was suddenly faced with the prospect and leaving her entire life, her future, for days spent cowering in fear of her father.

She was a girl held together by knitted yarn and magic.

Dee is such an enjoyable protagonist; she's tough, bright, caring, and brave. When you read as much YA as I do, the characters sometimes begin to run together, but Dee stands out in my mind as a really special one. She's also funny and I related so much to her spiel about being a child of the internet, raised on stories and fiction that gradually grew darker as her world did, too.

The abuse that Dee undergoes is brutal to watch - partially because it feels so authentic and real, and partially because she is so likable that my heart broke every time she had to go home. The genuine feel behind the abuse portrayal is downright nausea-inducing, and I'd strongly caution readers to be in the best possible mental state before going into this story if abuse is a trigger in any way for you.

That made her feel safer; nothing truly bad could happen while there was a herd of toddlers trundling about like slightly drunken wildebeests.

From the moment James was introduced, and I got to witness his bizarre nature and his witty banter, I loved him. He's the "weird artist" stereotype in all the best ways, but he's so genuinely kind-hearted and precious. He's been through his own hell, like most who make these deals, but it never tarnishes his edges. Plus, he's a super Harry Potter geek, and that's worthy of a few brownie points on its own.

There are a few twists regarding James throughout the story, and while I won't spoil any of them for you, I will tell you that he broke my heart more than once, and I welcomed every tear-filled moment of it.

Side note: It wasn't enough to warrant its own section in the review, but James' and Cal's banter is everything I want in a friendship portrayal. It's precious and it made me laugh out loud so many times.

She had walked willingly into a fairy tale, into a world where she could trade her heart for her freedom. She may as well have donned a red cloak and strode into a darkened forest.

She had always known there would be wolves.

While the story is fantastical, and the characters are lovable beyond description, I think what sold me the fastest on The Hearts We Sold was Emily's writing. It's so stunning, truly; the above quote is just one example of many in which her phrasing is flawless. There's a lyrical quality to the story without being over the top, and the metaphors she uses seemed to fit the situation without fail.
Actions fueled by desperation. They were the worst kinds of decisions, because desperate people could see the error of their ways and simply not care. They would rush headlong into a bad situation because they could see no other options.

There is only one thing in this book that I disliked. Without spoiling it, a character makes a very poor decision that directly causes a terrible thing to happen to another character. Her decision is fueled by desperation, and is irrevocable and horrific, but it's never really addressed thoroughly enough. It felt a little bit like it was written for shock value more than anything, which isn't something I generally ever appreciate in stories.

This was how normal people survived their own fairy tales. They became their own kind of monster.

final thoughts, rep, & warnings
All in all, I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially if you enjoy paranormal fantasies, gorgeous prose, and lovable characters. There is some incredible rep portrayed, including a lesbian character and a trans character, both of them being precious and hilarious. I would only like to advise caution as there are some content warnings for abuse, alcoholism, body shaming, depression, and transphobia (all of which are challenged in the text).
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.4k followers
September 25, 2019
i was going to save this for my spooktober reading list, but im glad i didnt because this is the opposite of spooky. so if this isnt spooky, then what is it, you may ask? well, its not bad, but it isnt great either.

it covers some pretty important topics, but also has some storytelling downfalls. it has some great character potential, but all of them stay pretty one dimensional. there is some really great writing, but its super heavy on the plot. it has a very unique world where demons are present, but none of it is built up or explained. the ending is really quite touching, but didnt have the strongest emotional impact because everything else is so flat.

in short, there is a pretty decent foundation present, but nothing is developed as well as it could have been. also, there is a pretty big moment where one of the side characters does something quite unforgivable, but its never discussed! i was pretty turned off by it (not too mad because i wasnt really emotionally invested to begin with), but still. again, another moment not completely developed or explained.

overall, some high points, but some very noticeable low points as well. i can understand how some might really enjoy this but, for me, it feels like a pretty average read.

3 stars
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,558 followers
December 30, 2018
This book was a huge surprise! Reading it reminded me of all the things I love about YA literature. Gah! I can't even form proper thoughts. I just adored it so very much.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,784 followers
November 8, 2022
The Hearts We Sold was a lovely and engaging surprise.

This fast-paced YA Fantasy is set in Portland, Oregon, and is perfect for Readers just starting out in the Fantasy genre.

In this story, demons have shown themselves to exist and now make 'deals' with humans for a variety of different purposes.

Our protagonist, Dee, was super relatable and I loved reading from her perspective. She is dealing with some struggles in her home life, but is well on her way to finding her independence.

Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, she feels compelled to make a deal with a Daemon and trades away her heart.

Her private school roommate, Gremma, was easily my favorite character.

She added quite a bit of humor to the sometimes dark and desperate story.

I enjoyed the rapid plot progression so much. There were also some unique SFF-elements weaved nicely in that kept it interesting.

I would recommend this to newer Fantasy readers, or anyone looking to forget about life for a while and have a fun time doing so.

If you need more, perhaps the following passage will entice you:

She had walked willingly into a fairy tale, into a world where she could trade her heart for her freedom. She may as well have donned a red cloak and strode into a darkened forest.

She had always known there would be wolves. I chose this.

Profile Image for Emily Lloyd-Jones.
Author 10 books1,520 followers
March 23, 2017
So. This book is a thing I wrote. And of everything I’ve written so far, it’s probably the hardest to describe. There are Faustian deals and Lovecraftian horrors, but mostly this book is about people. It’s about how the scariest monsters are often human and to escape those monsters we must leave parts of ourselves behind.

I’m quite proud of this book, and I hope my readers will love it.

Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
August 16, 2017
This book was AWESOME but also heart-(heh)-breaking. <333

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?

What I Liked:

Truth be told, I didn't know much about The Hearts We Sold before picking up the book to read it. I've read Illusive and Deceptive by this author and enjoyed both books, so when I saw that she had a new book publishing in 2017, I didn't need to read the synopsis to decide if I wanted to read the book. Fast-forward over a year later and I've now discovered what this book is about - after having read it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a fantasy/sci-fi type of novel, dealing with angels and demons (well, demons). I wasn't surprised that I loved the book!

Dee Moreno has known about demons existing among humans for most of her life. People trade an a body part (arm, leg, hand, mouth, etc.) for something they desperately want. In Dee's case, she wants money, to pay for boarding school, since budget cuts have taken away her merit-based scholarship. She wants to stay in the boarding school because her home life is terrible, and she is desperate to stay away from home and at the boarding school - desperate enough to make a deal with a demon. Her heart and two years of service to the demon, in exchange for money. She gets a lot of money, but as it would turn out, the demon has her and several other "heartless" teens doing some seriously dangerous work. They are tasked with closing voids, like holes in the framework of the universe, from one world to another. One thing is for certain, when it comes to the demon and his bargains: you get what you ask for.

I picked up this book, with absolutely no expectations and no knowledge of the story, and I then proceeded to read the entire thing in one sitting, stopping only to rearrange myself in my bed because I knew I wasn't going anywhere until I finished reading the book. It was that engrossing! It's one of those books that you simply cannot stop reading. There are many books from which you have to take a break, or you can leave it for days and come back. This was not one of those books. This demanded my attention and I wasn't saying no.

The author sets the scene incrementally, bit by bit, slowly revealing the setting, the characters, the conflict. I liked how she did this; at first you're confused because you don't know anything about anything and yet you are thrown into the story with no backstory or paragraphs of world-building. But the more you read, the more intrigued you are, and the more you want to know.

This book had a magical realism feel to it, even though I think it is being marketed as something else (fantasy/paranormal, maybe). The existence of demons is so normal and everyone knows about them. Making deals with demons is nothing new, and Dee isn't The Chosen One who is able to see them or something. The unreal is part of the real - demons, disappearance of limbs, and the other ends of the bargains made. I love magical realism so I was all about this type of story. The world-building is well-written and so unique; like I said before, I love how Lloyd-Jones incrementally reveals and sets things up.

Dee is such an easy character to like and root for. She seems like a lonely, detached teen, but as the story goes on, we see that she is so strong and brave. She is full of fear, yet she faces anything. She makes the deal with the demon knowing the dangers of doing so. She knew nothing about having to work with other heartless teens to close voids, yet she faced the danger every time. Dee is a smart, determined, strong girl who needed to give herself more credit.

It broke my heart, to see her interact with her awful parents. They were never physically abusive, but both were pretty neglectful and not nice to her. Her father especially - and her mother was too weak-willed to really challenge him. Dee's terrible home life made her seem like an even stronger person - she worked hard to get into that elite boarding school, so she could have a better life away from her toxic parents.

The supernatural aspect of this story is really cool. I personally have never read anything quite like this story. The Faustian demon bargaining thing was neat - exchanging body parts for a wish/request. In Dee's case (and James's and Cora's and Cal's and Riley's), it was the heart. All of them are still functioning humans, but their bodies aren't as alive anymore. Two years without their heart, two years serving the demon, and then they get their heart back. But why are they closing voids? What are the creatures in the voids? What is the demon not telling them about the voids?

The secondary characters of the story are very likable and well-rounded. James, Cora, and Cal make up the original trio of the demon's troop. James is a charming, talented artist who dresses like a hobo but has incredible artistic talent. Cora is the no-nonsense "mom" of the group, whose bargain is almost up. Cal is the genius of the group. I adored James the most - he is sweet and compassionate and always trying to lighten the mood and make everyone laugh. Riley joins the team after the halfway point - she is tough and very kickbutt. I liked Gremma, Dee's roommate at the boarding school. She is a little strange but a whole lot of awesome - very blunt and tough and someone you'd want on your side of a fight.

There is a romance and it is so sweet! James and Dee fall for each other fairly naturally, and it's cute to watch. They end up spending a lot of time together outside of the heartless group, and James sees parts of Dee's life that she'd never shown anyone. The gradual progression of trust and then romance is so important, and very sweet. They are lots of tender and swoony moments between these two!

Worth noting is wealth of diversity in this story. Dee is half Latina; Gremma is gay; Riley is trans; Cora is African-American. There was a lot of great representation in this book, and it didn't feel like the author was forcing diversity in my face.

The big conflict is revealed towards the climax, and it does end up being a save-the-world type of climax. I won't say too much about it, but I will say that the ending was a little bittersweet. It was a very uplifting and wrapped-up ending, but there was an aspect of the ending that made me unbearably sad. And yet, I also felt somewhat content about it. I know that probably doesn't make sense, but the ending was good, in a bittersweet way.

The Hearts We Sold was thrilling, intriguing, and impossible to put down. I've not read anything like it and I'm glad, because this book was unique and fantastic. A wonderful standalone novel by an excellent and talented author!

What I Did Not Like:

The only reason this book isn't getting five stars is because of that one part of the ending that made me sad. It's a good sad because the ending makes sense and part of me expected something similar to happen. But it's still a bit sad. The ending overall is good though.

Would I Recommend It:

I mentioned above that this story had a magical realism feel to it. If you like magical realism, or fantasy/paranormal stories (I guess this could also be considered fantasy/sci-fi), this is one to try. Also, it's a standalone so there is low commitment (i.e. no waiting for additional sequels)! Trust me when I say that love it or hate it, you won't want to stop reading this book. (Hopefully you love it though.)


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars only because (insert spoilers about the ending here). I loved this story, the characters, the swoony romance between James and Dee, and I'll be rereading this one when I need a good book to pull me out of a slump. Or simply because I want to reread a good book. Clear some shelf space, friends!
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,185 followers
March 3, 2019
4.5 stars!

“She was a girl held together by knitted yarn and magic.”

I am kicking myself for letting this book sit on my shelf for over a year without reading it. To be fair, the premise didn't catch me, but I made a vow that 2019 would be the year I catch up on all of my Owlcrate books, so I picked it up and I am so glad I did.

The Hearts We Sold is about Dee, a teenager who has a horrible home life and escapes it by going to boarding school. That is, until her scholarship loses funding. Out of options, she makes a deal with a daemon and finds her heart leased by it for the next two years. Along with the heart, Dee discovers and and other heartless teens must help the daemon keep evil forces out of our world.

“Nothing comes for free. We just don't know what it'll cost.”

I enjoyed this book very much, it's everything a YA novel should be. Fast paced, effortless reading, great friendships, diverse cast and an excellent romance. I'm honestly surprised more people haven't read this book because it really is outstanding. I would give it a full five stars except for one teeny tiny issue I have with the end of the book. If it didn't wrap up so well, I would beg for another book connected to this world.

If you like YA and urban fantasy, this really is a book you need to pick up asap. Don't wait like I did, you'll be kicking yourself.

“This was how normal people survived their own fairy tales. They became their own kind of monster.”

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Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,396 followers
November 27, 2017
Guys. This. Is. So. Fucking. Good.

I actually have goosebumps. Oh my God. I was expecting something terrible from the low rating but nope. New favourite. I just realised this wasn’t a series and now I’m so sad.

Full review to come.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
369 reviews977 followers
June 8, 2020
“This was how normal people survived their own fairy tales. They became their own kind of monster.”

I’m happy to announce that my 5-star reading streak has continued with this book!!! It’s the best feeling ever when you pick up the best books ever and they manage to project you OUT of a reading slump!

“Fairy tales with all the shine taken away from them were simply stories of desperation. Of hungry wolves devouring children and jealous stepsisters who hacked off their own toes to fit inside a glass slipper.”

This also has to be one of the most poetically written urban fantasies that I’ve EVER read (which puts it among the likes of Laini Taylor, which, as you know, coming from ME, is the highest praise ever!!!) I just kept highlighting the eBook version, (yes, I bought the hardback AND the ePub lol) nearly highlighting something every couple of pages because SO MUCH of this book struck a chord with me. I’m so glad that I have Emily Lloyd-Jones’ other duology sitting on my shelves, so that I can dive headfirst into that asap!

“She became her own knight; she collected those broken promises and whispered apologies and fashioned them into armour.”

Deidre, or Dee, is a Latina domestic abuse survivor, trying to hang onto her lifeline (aka boarding school), so that she isn’t subjected to verbal/emotional abuse and parental neglect on a daily basis at home. Whatever she does, isn’t good enough. Whatever she likes, isn’t useful. Whatever she says, doesn’t matter. Her parents have quite frankly convinced her that she’ll never be good enough, driving such a sense of self-hatred into her that she finds herself unworthy of anyone’s love. However, when she loses her scholarship, her life takes a turn for the worse and as she faces these dire circumstances, she realises that she’ll do whatever it takes to avoid going back to a life of fear under her alcoholic parents’ roof.

“I feel like that sometimes...I feel like I'm this collection of broken pieces I don't know what to do with.”

*I will say that, while this book isn’t graphic, it COULD be triggering for abuse survivors. I do appreciate the tact, sympathy, and care gone into discussing such a heavy and important topic that many experience on a daily basis. It definitely saddened me at some points, but it also made me really hopeful that Dee’s life would turn around for the better, where she’d receive the love that she deserved. Not only is there a focus on abuse here, but there is a focus on RECOVERY.

“Nothing comes for free. We just don't know what it'll cost.”

In this world, demons exist (or are they something else entirely? hehehe). One day, they just arrived on Earth, offering peace to humans as they too, wanted a place to call home. Furthermore, they offer deals to humans. They can grant any wish or desire in exchange for a heavy price…the loss of a body part. The body part depends upon the demon in question. No one knows what they do with said body parts, but most people don’t care when given the choice to get ahead in life or achieve something that they wouldn’t have been able to do on their own otherwise. For Dee, she sees this as the opportunity she needs to continue her education. So, she bargains her heart away to a demon in exchange for the funds she needs in order to afford her tuition (on a lighter note, I could definitely relate to bargaining with a demon to pay for uni – I mean, YIKES to repaying financial aid loans *cries*).

“Actions fueled by desperation. They were the worst kinds of decisions, because desperate people could see the error of their ways and simply not care. They would rush headlong into a bad situation because they could see no other options.”

There is also a strong “found family” trope in this book with each character playing a critical role and having their own narrative, not merely being there to help drive the plot of Dee’s story. In terms of more diversity, I loved to see the relationship between Dee’s lesbian roommate, Gemma, and her girlfriend, a trans girl named Riley. That’s an uncommon relationship dynamic to find in YA and I appreciated its inclusion.

I also loved the slow burn romance between James and Dee. It wasn’t hot and heavy and instant, as some tend to be (and it would be rather inappropriate and out of character, considering Dee’s background), but rather, it was so gentle and sweet, having me let out fangirly squeals during several scenes. <3

“This must be why the demon took their hearts. Because it was the only way a human might survive this—by hollowing themselves out.”

The ending was so sad and bittersweet, yet simultaneously happy and hopeful that it left me in tears, but feeling satisfied with how everything unfolded. I won’t lie; I did wish it had ended in a different way or a loophole could’ve been found, but not every story has a happy ending, which makes this book even more realistic than it already was, and drives home the messages the author conveys even further. If it weren’t for the inclusion of demons, you’d never be able to tell that this wasn’t a contemporary novel.

Despite the lack of hype surrounding this book, I’m glad I picked it up and gave it a go. It’s randomly happening across underrated gems, such as this, that makes me stray from hyped new releases all the time. Great reads always manage to fly under the radar and if you like poignant urban fantasies, I’d recommend picking this one up, too. :D
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews701 followers
August 4, 2017
That cover coupled with that synopsis and there was no way I wasn't going to devour this book.

I love love loved Dee. And James. And omfg definitely Gremma. They're all so much fun for different reasons and I loved getting the chapters of why the heartless sold their hearts.

Plot wise, it was everything I could have ever wanted. I laughed and swooned and was on the edge of my seat and was utterly gutted and heartbroken. I loved the story and the ending and the everything.

I know this review isn't helpful, but I don't have words. I can tell you that this will be one of my top books of the year.

**Huge thanks to The Novl for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Diana .
54 reviews54 followers
May 9, 2023
So are these voids magic portals or non-space? Are these heart-mongering wish-granting entities demons or aliens? I never really got an answer to whatever paranormal dilemma this book had to offer. The potential of its concept that went all over the place in the middle-ish part and its only likeable character, Lancer, my poor class clown slash Delacroix reincarnate who I'd sell my heart for just so I can alter his ending along with an entire ice cream factory in my name, was wasted by the awkward make-outs and the main character's inability to restrain herself from having a self-pitying segment in every chapter.

Well – as the main character of this book says, I chose this.
Profile Image for Tara ☽.
304 reviews249 followers
April 19, 2018
I swear YA standalone fantasies are so much better than drawn-out series. We need more of them.

The Hearts We Sold is a paranormal fantasy about a time in the modern world where demons have shown themselves to the public, and in exchange for a body part they will grant humans one wish. The story harks back to Rumpelstiltskin-like fairy tales, where people would make nefarious deals with dubious and dangerous characters and often end up worse off as a result. It was a wonderful read about the desperation of children living on the fringes of society, about how far people will go to make their lives a little better. There's also enough magic and scariness to satisfy all your paranormal needs.

The story follows Dee Moreno, who encounters a demon that will grant her wish, but does not desire to take her arm or her leg like most demons do. No, this demon wants her heart. Dee is desperate enough to agree to this deal, but when she discovers the reason why the demon wanted her heart, she might just regret it.

I really liked how the story interwove real-world issues with a paranormal setting. The author handles the issue of child abuse superbly. Not all child abuse is physical or sexual, and I am so glad Emily Lloyd-Jones addressed that. My heart hurt for these broken kids who have nowhere else to go, who are desperate enough to make a deal with a demon. I will think about these characters for a long while - they're the kind of characters you don't just stop thinking about after you've turned the final page. I've already found myself wondering what became of the characters after the story ended, and hoping their lives were all they hoped they would be. I think it's a mark of great storytelling when characters stick in your head even after you've finished the story.

The paranormal aspects were really unique and interesting. I've never read a story quite like this before, and there are some really interesting elements that I thought were so original and cool.

The ending was bittersweet, and I found myself conflicted over it. It seemed a bit anti-climactic after all the build up, and some questions were left completely unanswered. Since this is a standalone, it looks like we're not ever getting those answers. I had to knock off a star because there was just something slightly off about the ending - it was a little too rushed and skirted over parts that I think would have been better off spending more page time on.

Nonetheless, I did really enjoy this story, and I definitely recommend it if you like a paranormal/urban fantasy story that deals with some hard-hitting issues.
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books485 followers
June 19, 2020
'She was a girl held together by knitted yarn and magic.'


TW for emotional & verbal abuse, anxiety, depression, and self-hatred.

Buckle in, folks, 'cause I'm about to give you a novella of a review since I have many, many feelings about this book. This is an unexpected, unrecognized masterpiece that isn't about demons, faerie-like deals, people who trade their hearts, nor is it really a romance book . . . though all of these things exist. This is a book about survival. From the demon who deals in hearts, to an artist with snark and charm, and all the way to the focal character, Dee, this is a story about what we do to survive, what we would pay for that, and then blessedly how we can move on from surviving and try to LIVE. I never expected to find a book exactly like this, but now that I have (thanks Helena!), I need MORE to speak to me as deeply, as familiarly, as wonderfully as this one did.

'Resting in her palm was a knitted heart.
And that’s when she finally realized why the world was so quiet.
There was no pulse in her ears.'


From the first page of this book, I understood Dee. Her thoughts, her feelings, the sheer desperation she had coiled tight inside her to make her own life, to be free, to stay away from what she'd left behind with just the barest glance back over her shoulder . . . I GOT THAT. Just like me, she'd grown up on fairy tales, hoping her life would mirror them just as her life did the exact opposite, shifting darker and growing ugly, something she could never forget, never look back from, merely try to escape, to find something better.

'She had always thought of herself as broken. She had crafted the word into armor, used it to keep the world at bay, to keep all her little pieces from completely falling apart. She wondered what it would be like not to carry it around. And maybe this was the first step, maybe letting someone in was how all people did this.'

Watching Dee unfold and grow and become someone rather than the shell of a person trying to make it from one day to the other was beautiful . . . as well as almost reading an autobiography of myself. Not everything was mirrored, but the echoes were strong and I felt them throughout the entire book, ringing deep in my heart. Never, ever have I ever connected so strongly with a character, for the first time in my long history of reading did I finally get why, when books you connect with exist, how vital they are. Sure, I got it on the theoretical level, but it's one thing to design a spaceship vs actually flying it, y'know? So this time I wasn't the engineer; I was the astronaut.

"You see, my dear, only a human that wants to make a deal can see a demon for what they are."


The Daemon, the lurking character of power and plot-drive, was not the pivotal, inclusive character I thought he'd be. Of course that's my extreme love for anything and everything monster-human-entanglement (of the situational, complicated, driving kinds, yeesh; minds outta the gutter . . . but maybe not all the way hAhA) that gave me those expectations that weren't met. But it was a good thing there wasn't much romance in here of any kind, because that's not what the story was about. It would have shifted the focus to something that might lessen the impact of what really drove the story, and that was survival.

'Demons weren’t supposed to be dangerous, or only as dangerous as your average used car salesman. This demon sat on one of the benches. Red yarn trailed around its fingers as it knit, and the sight made Dee feel brave.'

The Daemon was just another character trying their best to survive although since he was, y'know, not human his methods of survival were pretty drastic by human standards. And it was these small pieces of magic, such as the existence of demons, that gave this story such appeal; a dash of the fantastical as a kind of pat on the back, or the sugar to swallow the bitterness that permeated the stories of all the characters and WHY they did what they did.

"What did they do to you?" he asked softly.
She laughed and it came out mangled. "Nothing, really. That's the worst part. It was all little stuff."


All the little stuff.

That's what kept driving me to read this, pulled by an inexplicable sensation of being KNOWN, of being UNDERSTOOD, of thinking "oh . . . oh, I've felt this too; I remember these feelings exactly as they're written here".

I really want to say I had a GOOD childhood, and in a way I did. But there was a time, a time that is thankfully over and past and people changed, BUT they wavered on the edge for moments that were terrifying and strange and blurred until this book brought it all rushing back . . . because there was still a time. Not to the extent Dee dealt with in the book, but close enough that it left me literally shaking, looking up from my kindle in dawning recognition of "I've been there."

No, it's not easy for me to admit. But hidden or confessed, that part of me still remains, the part that I have to fight to keep, to remind myself that YES, I AM ENOUGH.

'But there were some words a person didn't say—couldn't say. In real life or in fairy tales, there were some things that could not be uttered aloud. And this fear, this deepest fear of hers, was something she dared not even whisper.'

The reason why I loved this book so much is that it showed a side of life that not many books tackle . . . at least not the ones I've read. Abuse takes many shapes, many forms, because it's a tricky bastard like that. To think to yourself, "oh, THIS and THIS isn't happening to me, so it can't be . . . it isn't . . . they wouldn't . . .". But then when the fear bubbles up, unraveling into the truth, it hurts. And that hurt turns into growth, eventually.

That's what this book showed—growth.

Again, this ISN'T a fairytale. Not really. It's not a romance, nor an adventure. It's not something pretty or fantastical . . . it's something important wrapped up in all of those.

'It was heady, this knowledge that he wanted her, that he had seen all of her broken edges and still thought her desirable.'


Despite the fact that there wasn't much romance in this book, the parts that existed, they were vital. The love story in here is one of support and healing, of showing someone broken that glue exists, that wounds turn to scars which then will fade. It's heartbreaking and beautiful and gives hope that, when you surround yourself with the RIGHT kind of people, when you build your own family, that's how you grow.

"A life is not diminished by the fact that it wasn’t romantic or short-lived."


In short: this book wrecked me in the best possible ways. It's a quiet story that shouts so loud to the right people. Maybe that's why it's not very hyped, why there wasn't a crazy swarm of reviews and readers? I don't know.

What do I know? That everyone should, at some point in their life, read this book. Not for demons or magic or teenagers angsting into love . . . it's NOT that kind of book. It's a balm, a hug, a message, a muttered "this do get better sometime" from a passing stranger.
Profile Image for Emily.
373 reviews138 followers
May 23, 2018
The following is an arts review that I wrote for my journalism class, that’s why it’s so formal lol:

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones broke my heart in the best way possible. It’s an exciting story about a girl who sold her heart to a demon in order to escape her abusive household. However, this synopsis merely scratches the surface of the entire story. The protagonist, Dee, is one of four “heartless” in Portland, Oregon. Their mission, assigned by the Agathodaemon who took their hearts, is to close dangerous voids that could potentially let monsters into the world.

The story is filled with hilarious dialogue and exhilarating action scenes. Dee and James, another one of the “heartless”, must work together to close voids and save the world.

“‘...We’ll do whatever is takes. We’re heartless,’ [said Dee.]
“James looked over the destruction, and there was a twist to his mouth when he said, ‘‘This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a’ bad pun.’”

Another great aspect about this book is the incredible representation of both people of color and people that identify themselves as LGBTQ+. For example, Dee herself is half latina and her roomate, Gremma, is lesbian. While this is already amazing representation for a young adult book which sometimes lack diversity, the strongest form of representation is displayed through the character of Riley.

Riley is a girl who joins the group of “heartless” by selling her heart because her parents didn’t support her gender identity. She is a trans woman, and eventually her and Gremma fall for each other. This is incredible representation because media rarely portrays a healthy lesbian relationship that involves a transgender woman. It is so important to normalize all types of relationships and gender identities without making that the only important trait of a character. Lloyd-Jones did this perfectly by making Riley a fully fleshed-out character who just happened to be trans; being trans was not Riley’s sole characteristic.

Another aspect that was executed flawlessly in this book was the equal healthiness between platonic relationships and romantic relationships. Regarding platonic relationships, Gremma and Dee are a great example of a healthy girl friendship. In many young adult books, girl hate is a common trope and it is so rare to see a sister-like love through a great friendship in this genre of books. While they do have their fair share of arguments or falling out, their relationship never crosses the line of being unhealthy like in many young adult books.

The second healthy romantic relationship from this story involves the main character and her love interest. He is very supportive of Dee and genuinely cares about her. Unfortunately, this is something that is not found in young adult books often enough. Much of the time there are tropey love triangles or unhealthy/abusive relationships thrown in to add “drama”, but it simply spreads horrible messages to any impressionable kids reading. They could start to think that that kind of relationship was normal.
Luckily, Lloyd-Jones made sure to include a very supportive and thoughtful love interest who allows for a healthy relationship to form.

Overall, I found this book to be an impactful story full of great representation. The ending was bittersweet, but not clichè, and it was the perfect end to this fantasy standalone.
Profile Image for Sana.
1,076 reviews959 followers
May 26, 2018
'And lastly, Dee thought of fairy tales. Of how knights in shining armor could be girls with Molotov cocktails, of how people could fight off monsters, whether those monsters were human or something different altogether.'

UMMMM HOLY SHIT. I honestly was expecting to have nothing more than a good time reading this book about a girl who sold her heart to a demon but guess what, MY EMOTIONS ARE IN SHAMBLES. Like this book came out of the left field and punched me in the heart. When can I reread and die all over again?

A list of things I loved about this book:
-a biracial, self-reliant af main character battling anxiety and self-hate due to a bad home life
-a love interest with zero sense of dressing that he sends off homeless vibes
-a lesbian roommate who regularly performs vivisection on teddy bears, I love
-a girl who just happens to be trans and loves blowing stuff up, aahh
-the effortless representation done so matter-of-factly
-all kinds of monsters from human to humanoid to actual monsters
-the demon who likes to collect 'hollow little constructs' AKA his merry little band of teenagers LOL
-found family that basically killed me
-friendship and just being there for each other sobs
-modern fairy tale vibes coupled with apocalyptic vibes, you're welcome

I totally feel like this book is something that could have been written by Schwab. The exploration of mental health mixed with paranormal fantasy which then blends into sci-fi is just ladkskjfgh no words and then the writing is utterly captivating. I'd say if you like The Archived including its romance, you'd probably also like The Hearts We Sold.

Ultimately, this book is about humans playing the role of being the biggest monsters of all and also maybe, maybe not. I'm floored by this aspect of the book because the author nails it so well especially with all the comparisons to fairy tales and the way the book ends is just p e r f e c t. Rarely does the last line of a book leaves me feeling absolutely content so I had to mention this little tidbit.

Anyway, 10/10 would recommend. The Hearts We Sold is a gem of a book and that is all

Favorite quotes: 'For every believer, there was someone trying to prove them wrong. And then there were those who believed but disapproved.'

'Anyone can be a hedonist. Self-control is what keeps us human.'

'We're all just moments and most of us don't matter. We study less than one percent of all humanity in our history books.'

'The words appeared on her phone. Simple, small words. But then again, all the worst statements were like that, weren't they? It was always the small words that did a person in.'

'Fairy tales with all the shine taken away from them were simply stories of desperation. Of hungry wolves devouring children and jealous stepsisters who hacked off their own toes to fit inside a glass slipper.'
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
534 reviews652 followers
November 27, 2019
“A demon was knitting outside the hospital.”

In many ways, this is a paranormal book unlike any other I've read. In fact, it's more like a contemporary character driven story with side of UF world building. If that interests you, you might want to give this one a try.

I loved the beginning, the very first few pages, so much. It started off like a modern day firy tale of its own. The writing is quite strong in this book. And they certainly were some parallels to a fairy tale throughout this story. I liked that. But as I kept reading, my interest waned a little.

Through no real fault of this book, this was more of a case of it's not you, it's me. Overall, I liked a lot about this. I liked the themes and how they intervowen with the paranormal side of the story, I liked the MC's character journey. There are, however, few reasons as to why I didn't completely love it
1. I was quite bored with it from time to time.
2. I found myself somehow distanced (disconnected) from the story and the characters especially

“She became her own knight; she collected those broken promises and whispered apologies and fashioned them into armor.”

This is not an action packed book. It doesn't have fast pace. And the plot is all over the place sometimes. Oftentimes, I was quite bored with parts of it. It's very character focused work and your enjoyment depends on if you love and connect to the cast or not.

I did not, not entirely. Which is just my personal preference in this case. They are not bad characters. The cast is quite complex, with interesting backgrounds. Dee's heartless crew even had a few on page backstories about how they sold their hearts, which made them that more layered. But somehow, I didn't really connect, or cared too much for, most of them.

“A person could trade away a piece of themselves for a wish come true.”

Dee, the heroine's, character journey was for sure outstanding. And she, alongside her kind of scary (in the best way possible) gay roommate Gremma, was the character I liked the most in this book. Her characterization and backstory, her struggles. It was very well done. A lot of this book dealth with important and heavy topics such as bad home situation - alcoholic and mentally abusive parents. And Dee's character journey (growth) shined the most. The fantastical side of the story only enhanced - and played on - these themes.

This is also quite diverse book. Biracial MC. There's an amazing lesbian character, as well as trans character later on. Anxiety rep, tackles hard topics such as parental abuse and alcoholism.

“And lastly, Dee thought of fairy tales. Of how knights in shining armor could be girls with Molotov cocktails, of how people could fight off monsters, whether those monsters were human or something different altogether.”

Overall, I liked a lot about this book, despite being disconnected from the story. It's unique. The idea of selling hearts - or body parts - for a single wish to a demon was interesting. There's a lot of important themes as well as great character journey. Which is what this book basically is - Dee's character journey.

Emily Lloyd-Jones is a promising author and I look forward to her newest release The Bone Houses - which is a standalone fantasy story about a quest and rising corpses in historical setting. The author always seems to have an original premise, the execution here didn't 100% click with me, but I'm very interested in what else she has in store for us.

“There was a demon knitting outside of the beach house.

He was beautiful, because fairy-tale creatures always were. Red yarn tangled around his long fingers, and his features were sharp and pale beneath the moonlight. Dee approached him without fear—a Red Riding Hood who had faced the wolf.”
Profile Image for Cesar.
354 reviews235 followers
September 28, 2019
3 stars.

The Hearts We Sold is a strange book. Strange doesn't always mean bad because sometimes strangeness can be fun and captivating. And captivating the plot was. In a world where people sell parts of their body to demons so they can get a wish? That sounds very unique and fun. And for the most part, it is. But where The Hearts We Sold succeded in making a strange unique world, the story may leave some with mixed thoughts.

In the world of The Hearts We Sold, demons have made themselves public to the world and can grant certain wishes to people in exchange for a body part. Fingers, toes, arms, legs, you name it. Our main character Dee has lived a difficult home life and is attending a boarding school to get away from the troubles at home. But when circumstances arise, she has no choice but to make a deal with a demon. But instead of a limb, the demon asks for her heart. This then leads Dee and other teens who sold their hearts to do quests for the demon that makes them question everything they know about the demons, their hearts, and the missions.

With that said, The Hearts We Sold can draw the interests of readers into its strange and unique world. However, some, myself included, may feel let down with the story.

Dee is a strong protagonist who even after going through some difficult times at her home, she still gets up even after she's been thrown down. And the way she interacts with her new friends gives her the silver lining in all of her troubles and she begins to grow more as a person not being weighed down by her problems.

The story does tackle the issues of parental abuse and how it affects people in the long run. And while it may be a difficult subject matter for some readers to get through, I think Jones does a great job of how Dee learns that she can make her own life and have her own freedom.

That being said, the story is not without its flaws. I have two in particular.

The first being the direction of the story. Halfway through, things began to shift and takes an unexpected turn when it is revealed why the demon who took Dee's hearts is gathering other heartless people. I'll admit, that took me away from the story and unexpected turns can be fun but this one, in particular, left me confused.

The shift wasn't a, "Wow! That was surprising!" It was more of a, "Oh... that's... interesting." That's how I felt.

The second is how one character does something bad but is never really called out for it. What happened leading up to said bad thing was the result of impulse. But it's treated as if it wasn't a bad thing. It was as if they accidentally broke a vase and the others are like, "Oh, that's bad, let's just hide the glass." Which disappointed me.

The Hearts We Sold was a fun book to read, but by the end, I was left slightly disappointed by how the story presented itself. The sudden shift in the story did have its good moments but that shift seemed to have downgraded the book.

At the end of the day, The Hearts We Sold is a decent book you can get through in a day or two if you're not busy. Just keep in mind of the sudden shift in story.
Profile Image for  ••Camila Roy••.
161 reviews49 followers
April 5, 2018
I want to sell MY heart just so I don’t have to feel the pain the ending left me with anymore 😭📚💔
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,720 reviews462 followers
August 1, 2017
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was good. Really good. I went into this book with next to no expectations and am quite shocked by how much I ended up enjoying it. I was hooked right away by the story and only put it down when I had absolutely no other choice. There was enough action in the story to really keep my interest level high. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this wonderful story.

I found the story to be really original. Demons are present and can grant wishes for anyone willing to make a trade. Most demons require body parts like an arm or a leg in exchange for a wish. Dee ends up making a deal with a demon that asks for something a little different: her heart. He holds her heart for two years while she works for him in exchange for what she needs. Sounds like a reasonable trade doesn't it? Okay, maybe not.

Dee must work with a group of teens that have made a similar bargain with the demon. Their task is risky but they work together really well and make quite the team. I really liked all of the characters in this book. Each member of the group had a really interesting backstory that really helped to bring them to life. Dee's life at home is anything but ideal and she has always had to be the responsible one and take care of herself.

This book isn't a romance but there is some romance to the story. The romance doesn't overpower the story but is a really nice added element. Dee and James connect with each other right away. They really did seem to understand each other and were there when the other needed them to be. I liked how open with each other they were and thought that their relationship felt very genuine.

I would highly recommend this book to others. This was a story that really grabbed me from the start and entertained me to the very end. This is the first book by Emily Lloyd-Jones that I have had a chance to read and I will be looking for her work again in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via TheNovl.

Initial Thoughts
I am really quite surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this one. And that ending....wow!
Profile Image for Brooke.
276 reviews137 followers
November 23, 2017
Paranormal/supernatural isn't usually a genre I gravitate towards, but the synopsis caught my eye so I figured I'd give it a try. Overall I enjoyed this; it held my interest enough to read in one sitting. Lloyd-Jones pens a prose that is captivating enough for an enjoyable read. That being said however, I most likely wouldn't pick up again, but if these kind of books are your thing I'd definitely recommend it.

Dee knows she needs out of her chaotic home life. Her alcoholic father is verbally & physically abusive towards her; her mother has started drinking to cope with the wrath of her husband. All her life, Dee has gotten crap for loving stories, not choosing a degree that involves "manual labor" so she isn't deemed valued enough in her father's eyes. Dee attends a private boarding school that shelters her from parental poison, but when the aid is cut, she has to quickly come up with a plan. Dee decides to make a deal with a sly demon- her heart in exchange for the money.

Along the way, Dee meets other teens who have traded their hearts for various reasons. She ends up falling for James, & comes to discover that perhaps she can break free from her shell, that she is not broken & can make a life for herself. Although I liked the relationship between James & Dee, I do feel it was instalove & thought it would have been better if they were strictly platonic pals (but I did feel heartbroken after James' selfless act so...👻). Gremma was an awesome roommate & probably my favorite character; I would have liked to see her fleshed out a bit more. I also feel Riley & Cora needed to have more to their characters because I didn't get enough information to care about them. The confrontations between Dee & her parents are brutal & it was so painful to see her leave their toxicity behind. I honestly didn't care for the demon scenes as much, but it didn't overshadow Dee's escape plot line.

THE HEARTS WE SOLD isn't one that will stay with me, but I would read another one of the author's books. A so-so 3/5 star read.
Profile Image for ☾.
225 reviews1 follower
November 4, 2022
chirp chirp, chirp chirp. (that’s the sound of the crickets…)

the most out of pocket, absolutely nonsensical event occurs at the 56% mark, and i almost stopped reading right there. and then said event is completely glossed over. typically, single events don’t ruin the entire story for me, so i want you to truly picture how left field and ??????? this event was for it to completely detach me from the book. not that it was a five star read to begin with, but i saw a 3.9 in the making.

side note: the storyline of one of the characters had SUCHHH potential. but the way it was all executed (especially the ending) was sloppy and rushed. the main idea and event that unfolded in the ending? great. love a change of pace. but the potential was fumbled, and nothing hurts my heart more than wasted potential. oh, and on the topic of execution being sloppy: world building was as well.


recommend: no.
Profile Image for mith.
750 reviews258 followers
February 26, 2019
you can find my review on my blog as well!

Please leave me alone to wallow in misery.

I don't want to write this review because every time I think about this book, I feel this?? strange pain?? in my heart? Which shouldn't be there, much like the characters in this book? AND YET. THERE IT IS.

Okay, look. Look, this book is just so good. If you, like, manage to get past the first 6 or 7 chapters, then it is goooood. Yes, it's a slow start, but that's only the first 50-ish pages and after that, oh hell, does it pick the hell up. I was overwhelmed but I was so damn ready for everything about to happen.

I loved Dee. Oh my god, Dee was awesome. Her character arc was so, so good, and it makes me SO, SO EMOTIONAL. I love her strength, her bravery. She's the kind of girl that always wants to be in the background, the quiet one, but the more you read this, the more you want to root for her. She's just such an amazing character and I loved being in her head.

And the more I think about it, the more I relate to her. Dee doesn't live at home (she's at a boarding school) but when she does visit, it's... not good. Not good at all. It's a horrible place, and paired with Dee's anxiety and inability to let people in or trust them, it's something I can relate to pretty easily. I loved that Jones didn't just make it a plot device or anything--it was taken seriously and dealt with seriously and it made me love this book all the more.

Another aspect of the novel I liked was the demons! Yes, DEMONS. Actual demons who you can sell your soul to--okay, fine, not a soul but a body part for sure. And the one Dee sells in exchange for help? Her heart.

This whole demon thing was wickedly cool. Demons are well known in her world and there are plenty of people who have prosthetic arms or legs because of their deals. Dee actually makes hers with a demon that's a little different, so she has a bit of... an adventure, I guess you could say. There's definitely more to it than you originally think.

Oh god. I don't want to do this to myself because I'll be a stupid mess, but I HAVE TO MENTION HIM, OKAY? Okay, there's the most precious, weirdly dressing boy ever and his name is James Lancer, which is such a cliché bad boy name, and he isn't even a bad boy, HE'S JUST A GIANT PAINTING DORK. (God, that sentence was uber long.)

James gives me a lot of feelings.

I loved him. I loved him and Dee. I loved their slow relationship and how it grew. How they were friends first and how Dee was continuously hesitant of him and his homeless chic attire. (It was funny.) They have such sweet moments together! And some that were swoony. And some that were heartwarming and heartbreaking (which is ironic because neither have hearts. Hah!) and it was so easy to ship them together!

Emily Lloyd-Jones knows how to write a romance. I'm just sayin'.

The Hearts We Sold is definitely the type of book you want to keep reading once you pick it up. I had the pleasure of reading this book with my good friend, Danielle and freaking out with her over on twitter, and I think both of us had a hard time stopping where we had to. It was just so good.

With a great main character, an adorable and messy love interest, an interesting cast of secondary characters, and a hint of magical realism, this book is definitely worth picking up. 4 stars!
Profile Image for Aneta Bak.
420 reviews103 followers
July 22, 2017
The Hearts We Sold was such a breathtaking novel. I really didn’t want it to end.

Coming from a broken home, Dee’s only escape from her alcoholic parents is her boarding school. But when her scholarship runs out, and there are no other ways for Dee to make enough money in time, Dee strikes a bargain with a Demon. The catch to the deal is that Dee loses her heart for two years, and during that time she has to do the Demon’s bidding. Dee and three other heartless must destroy voids created at random places by imploding them from the center, but it’s a dangerous mission, and not all who enter the void come out alive.

It was so amazing to read from Dee’s point of view. I truly loved her as a main character. Dee starts off as a desperate girl, who is always afraid of everything and does her best to be the perfect student and the perfect daughter. Watching her develop throughout the book and becoming a more outgoing person who starts looking at her own life, and doing what she truly wants. I loved her character development and she will definitely go down as one of my favourite characters.

The romance in this story was perfect. No love triangle, and no insta love. There is a beautiful slow burning romance that starts off very slow and gradually picks up until its something beautiful. The author did an amazing job with this romance, its so realistic yet its very easy to ship the couple.

There was lots of action throughout the story. There was a bit of action in the beginning, and it gradually picked up and by the middle of the book I was so hooked that I could not put it down.

My favourite part of this book was definitely the ending. I totally didn’t see it coming but it was so beautiful and well written that it was impossible not to love. Well done Emily.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book to all Contemporary and Fantasy fans, it is perfect for both. I cant wait to read more from this author.

Happy Reading,
February 3, 2021
The Hearts We Sold

This is a book I didn't even know I needed, and it´s one of the best I´ve ever read.
Somehow, my sister ended up with two copies of this book, and she gave one of them to me. I had no expectations and no idea what it was about. There wasn't really a storyline to keep me going, but rahter all the unanswered questions that kept me wanting to continue. This book was atmospheric, and had underlying themes such as dealing with PTSD and abusive parents, sadness, friendship and love.

There was so many beautiful quotes, and my favourite would have to be this:

"She might not be alive - but she wanted to live."

I was so happy when she finally stood up to her parents, and I silently cheered her on. That was when we got somewhere with the plot.

James was so cute, and they were so wholesome together, as if they had been looking for their other half. But, halfway through I realized that this ending would hurt. You just read and then you get that feeling, you just know that a character is going to die.

"After she lost her heart, she had lived. Not simply existed, but lived. She couldnt regret that; she was only sad it had not lasted longer."

As if I needed another reason to cry about this book!
I needed something else than YA fantasy for a change, and this was the perfect opportunity. I was pleasantly surprised, and I might just have to read something like this again.
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