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A Darkly Beating Heart

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3.27  ·  Rating details ·  351 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer
...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Roaring Brook Press
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Emily May
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, sci-fi, 2016, arc
"I am nothingness. An empty vessel. The core of me is rotted away, and I can never get it back. There’s nothing left to fill me but anger. There’s nothing left for me to sense but pain.”

1 1/2 stars. What a weird, weird book. And not in a good way.

A Darkly Beating Heart is about Reiko, a bisexual, American-born daughter of Japanese parents. As we are repeatedly told, she is "full of hatred" and longs for revenge. The book opens with Reiko in Tokyo, Japan, where she has been sent to deal with he
...more
ak
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So I beta read this for Lindsay because it's about a Japanese American bisexual girl who goes to Japan and doesn't speak Japanese. In other words: it me.

I loved this story. I love Reiko who was angry angry angry in a way I've never seen any girl in any book be and certainly never any Japanese girl (because we're all submissive AMIRITE????). Reiko's struggle with language and culture when she first shows up in Japan is something that resonated strongly with me.

My main quibble with the book is n
...more
Sabrina
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Checkout my full review on my blog!! http://omgbooksandmorebooks.blogspot....

I loved how dark this book is. The main character, Reiko, is brewing her own darkness and destruction. She was the master of her own downfall and she wanted to fall. But she wanted to bring everyone else with her. I loved how this book alternates between modern day Japan and Imperial Japan. After taking a humanities class all about East Asia, I was thrilled to read A Darkly Beating Heart, and I was not disappointed. Tho
...more
Molly
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
Huge thank you to Macmillan for sending me an ARC of this book for review!

Okay, so I know that this book doesn't come out until October, but I HAD to read it as soon as I got it. For those of you who DON'T know, I lived in Japan for seven years and I generally find a lot of issues with YA books set in Japan. I've kinda taken it upon myself to read them and pick them apart. So I went into this book both excited and leary because I don't believe that the author has actually lived or even spent a s
...more
Dana

Crazy Emo Girl moves to Japan to....be more emo. Whilst contemplating her existence she happens upon a literal link to the past and finds herself in the body of a fellow emo girl from centuries past.

The story itself felt like it would have been better served as a short story as not much happened in this. It had potential but the ending felt rushed, almost lazy to me.

For a character to have a huge change of heart, in my opinion they should experience something worthy of said change. Sudden and
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mith
(hiya guys, you can also read my review on my blog if that's what you're into xo)

This book was weird. Net necessarily a bad weird, but not necessarily a good weird either.

I'm actually very conflicted on how (what, I suppose) I feel about this book. On one hand, it was a unique and refreshing read, something I'd never come across before. On the other, certain aspects of the story, such as characterisation and plot, kind of irked me.

Reiko is an angry girl. Things haven't gone well for her in the
...more
Chelsea
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really dark and twisted Japanese time travel story.

Looking for diversity in all forms? This is the book for you. We follow self-harming, suicidal, bisexual, Japanese-American, Reiko in this story. Did that cover all forms of diversity? I believe so.

Reiko is one angry chick. She would have all ready offed herself if she didn't want her death to exact some serious vengeance on those who have wronged her and brought her to this point. Serious wrath there. So obviously we are dealing with some tou
...more
Lyn *GLITTER VIKING*
Wow. I really wasn't expecting so many of the twists and the sudden changes. I really ended up loving this more than I thought I would. Lots of love for an unlikable MC. I just wish that there were a few more consequences for some of the actions. But overall, pretty solid story about hate and revenge.
Rashika (is tired)
***This review has also been posted on Xpresso Reads

I don’t write in books and have become too lazy to keep an actual notepad by my side while I am reading but recently I decided that I wanted to do a better job of keeping track of my feels so when I write a review two weeks after I’ve read the book, I have something to jog up my memory. Sticky Notes were the answer. And while I did not tab the shit out of this book (or really any book because I am more of a reader than a note taker), I did ta
...more
Ava
Feb 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Ooh! I liked this one. I didn't love it, which is why the rating is as it is, but I would definitely recommend it. It's unlike anything I've read before. Featuring a bisexual Japanese-American (I think? I'll check) protagonist with self harm issues and set in Japan, A DARKLY BEATING HEART is dark. It's violent. But it's intriguing enough that you can't put it down. RTC.
ALEXA
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I'm torn between a 3.25-3.5 stars. While the story in this novel is something I could totally see as an anime, it is actually Reiko that I found super interesting. She's angry and confused and hellbent on revenge for the stuff she's gone through, and while it made her very prickly, it made me curious about who she was. It does resolve a bit too quickly, and it plays out in a way that I guessed out. But I found it impossible to stop (unless I had to), and I liked the depiction of Japan, and I tho ...more
Amanda
All reviews are first found on [a cup of tea and an armful of books].

This is a book I wrote off as one I’d have to read after it was published. I was pleasantly surprised when I was given an ARC by the publisher and NetGalley, so this became an unexpected October read. Perfect for Halloween, because the book deals with a lot of darkness. A Darkly Beating Heart is going to be published next week, so now is the perfect time for a review.

(I love this cover.)

Reiko didn’t go to Japan to enjoy herself
...more
Caleb Roehrig
A DARKLY BEATING HEART offered me a lot of exactly what I look for in a good, spine-tingling YA thriller: an intriguing protagonist, a unique plot, and beautiful prose -- in particular, Lindsay Smith delivers in spades on this last item. Her style fills this book with compelling imagery and atmosphere, making even the downbeats contribute to the sense of consistently growing tension as the story progresses.

The main character, Reiko Azumi, is a hard and brittle person -- a girl with a lot of dama
...more
joey (thoughts and afterthoughts)
Nov 13, 2016 marked it as actually-dnf
Shelves: arc-review
Nope.

Made it 124 pages in. Not enough was happening and it felt as though there was a degree of information being withheld from the reader (aside from the continual reminders of anger) which deterred the overall reading experience in getting behind the protagonist. Additionally, the inclusion of the the setting re: English romanization of Japanese phrases was a bit much and rather a catch-22 situation; to include felt weeaboo-ish and to not include it might see the lack thereof of "Japanese" con
...more
Dahlia
Holy shit, this was so dark and so good. Obv I'm friends with the author etc. etc. but let's not pretend that always results in super book love. I pulled the "Just five more minutes!!" with this one about a billion times because it is just so compelling and unique and the two storylines interweave so well so that you're dying to know what's gonna happen next on both sides, and oh man as obsessed as I am with Sekret I think this miiiight be my new #1 Lindsay book. (Also, I've never been to Japan ...more
Angel
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
It took me over a month to read this novel, and I think I needed that time to really process it. A DARKLY BEATING HEART is a story that will rip you open, leave you raw and wounded, heartscars split open. It isn't an easy story to read, isn't careful with how its emotional threads might burn, but it's cleansing at the same time, and beautifully cathartic. I'll be thinking about this book for a long time.
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
I liked this well enough (the premise is perfection, let's not lie here), but it's an often confusing narrative with so many clarity issues. The author has a a great imagination and a good idea for the plot of A Darkly Beating Heart, but the execution is muddled from the outset and is an issue that never really resolves.
Chasia Lloyd
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you like happy stories, you probably should find another book. A Darkly Beating Heart is dark and angry. Nothing else. It was so refreshing to dive deep into rage. Plus bisexual rep + Japanese American rep + timetravel shenanigans? Hell yeah. This was a cool read. Not for everyone, for sure, but for those who want to get thorny..

CWs: self-harm, abuse, suicide ideation, suicide attempt
Holly
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
*Physical ARC kindly provided by Macmillan.

When I started this, I wasn’t sure what to think. I was actually never sure what to think about it until well near the ending. Until everything came together. Because I couldn’t see what this book was trying to do until all of the pieces of the puzzle clicked into place. Whether it’s because I didn’t understand a lot of the Japanese culture and references in here, the unreliable narrator, or simply the talented writing, I’m not sure. But when it all led
...more
Sam
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

I love books set in Japan despite having never visited. There's always something very atmospheric and lore driven, which A Darkly Beating Heart follows to a tee. I loved how well put together the story was, I thought the characters were very interesting, and the use of time travel was something quite special given our heroine goes backwards in time.

I loved Reiko and I thought she was a great character. I feel like we get such a huge sense of her emotions,
...more
Shelly
I still don't know how to form words about this one, but I definitely think it should be on your TBR for October.
Grace Figueroa
Jun 09, 2015 marked it as to-read
My life just got better.
Austine (NovelKnight)
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't even know where to begin with this book.

My first interaction with A Darkly Beating Heart was a Twitter chat where it was compared several times to the anime InuYasha (which, for the record, is probably my favorite anime). Yeah, you can bet I got excited.

Then I read it and I'm still wondering... WTF JUST HAPPENED.

A Darkly Beating Heart tells the story of Reiko. Raised American with Japanese heritage, she has a lot of personal issues going on (ANGER issues) and flees to Japan to escape. No
...more
Vicky the Cat Lady
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spring-2017
This book in short: DISAPPOINTING.

Why am I so intrigued by this life?
Maybe it’s the anonymity-- the sense I am not myself.
I am uninhibited as Miyu. People expect me to be sour and hateful, and so pay me no mind.
As Miyu, my hatred can run free.


I’m absolutely obsessed with the anime/manga InuYasha, it’s referred to as a “feudal fairy tale” and it follows the adventures of highschooler Kagome Higurashi in modern day (errr circa 1990) Tokyo. One morning at her family’s shrine she’s inadvertently
...more
Alex
**I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

This book is dark and strange and while I had a few issues with it, it is one of those 3 star books that is unique enough to recommend to those who are interested in the premise. The story follows Reiko, an angry, depressed Japanese-American teenager who moves to Japan for the summer to ‘work out her emotions.’ Reiko is an extremely dark character, she’s been hardened by some of her more traumatizing experi
...more
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
There were lots of things I really enjoyed about this book, and a few that I didn't as much. But I think overall, the good outweighed the bad for sure, so that is a win, right? Let's break it down!

The Good:

The setting! Japan is a bucket-list travel destination for me, so I was tickled to see a book set there! Also, it made me really want sushi, because there was a lot of food talk in
...more
Bridget
Really compelling, fast story with a bisexual Japanese American protagonist (yay for bisexual protagonists in YA!). I think it's a great read-alike for Carrie, mixing darkness and anger with vulnerability and fear. I might recommend it to teens who like books that deal with bullying, even though that's not precisely a focus of the story, and I'd also recommend it to fans of the game Life is Strange (and not just because of the Chloe characters, I promise). I can't speak as much to the authentici ...more
Shelley
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult Fiction / Time Travel
*Rating* 3.5-4

*My Thoughts*

A Darkly Beating Heart is a young adult, science fiction novel by author Lindsay Smith. Smith is also the author of the Skandal duology which I loved. A Darkly Beating Heart is about a troubled American born girl of Japanese ancestry named Reiko Azumi. Reiko is sent to Japan by her parents to sort out her issues, while also waiting for word on whether or not she gets into the school of her choice.

*Full Review
...more
Zara
I still don't know why I finished the thing instead of abandoning it. Guess we'll never know.
Shreya
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
-slow plot is a minus (does get better towards the end)
-confusing writing at times is a minus
-plus for Japanese Culture
-Plus for an openly bisexual character (yay!!! representation!!!!)
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Lindsay is the author of multiple novels for young adults, including Sekret and A Darkly Beating Heart, as well as the comic series Black Swan. She is the showrunner and lead writer for Serial Box's The Witch Who Came In From the Cold, a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2017. Her short stories and comics have appeared in the anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats, Strange Romance Vol. 3, and Toil & ...more

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