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3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,872 ratings  ·  413 reviews
A poignant new novel that combines humour and heartache, from the brilliant mind of Governor General’s Award finalist Claudia Dey

Seventeen years after falling from a stolen car into a remote northern town, Billie Jean Fontaine is still an outsider. She may follow the stifling rules of this odd place, but no one will forget that she came from elsewhere. When Billie Jean van
Published August 21st 2018 by HarperAvenue
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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,872 ratings  ·  413 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Dnf at 20% There may be brilliance somewhere here, but if so I can't find it. Have no idea what I just read. Definitely not the book for me.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May end up being a five star book. Need it to settle a little.
Sarah (thegirltheycalljones)
That was weird af.

Some parts were pure brilliance, some were dubious, some others I didn't get one word of, and some were intriguing.
The writing will not appeal to everybody, methinks. It can be too much but it can also be very, very powerful. The way Claudia Dey depicts what being a mother feels like is just breathtaking, in my humble opinion.

The plot, or at least, the chosen ending, was the one thing I didn't really buy. Like, hmmkay that's awkward. But does it matter? Does it take away the
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
This book defies genre and logic in so many ways. I was under the spell of 1980's music references, the mysterious location we're never entirely sure about, and the cult-like community we enter.
Billie Jean Fontaine hasn't left her home in almost three months. She abruptly walks out without shoes or a coat on a freezing evening and takes off in the family truck. The community begins to whisper about her absence and though she arrived 17 years ago and became a part of the 'territory', she has rem
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
Quirky and different, Heartbreaker defies norms and logic and jumps across genres. Truthfully, even after having finished reading, I don't know what to make of it.

A strange cult, everything 1980s, weird traditions, three primary narrators being a girl, a dog and a boy - sure I was fascinated, but then it all got too weird and too confusing. I am not even sure I understood what the author was trying to convey in some parts. There's no definite timeline in the story and at times absolutely nothin
Between 2.5 and 3 stars

Wow, this was a difficult book to rate. If I'm completely honest there are more negatives than positives while I'm sitting here trying to collect my thoughts. But I did finish the book and at no time did I seriously contemplate giving up so it must have held my interest and desire to see how it turned out. So for that one seemingly tiny thing is the reason it's getting the 3 stars instead of lower.

What I didn't like~

* The dialogue was cheesy. I know this was supposed to
Rochelle Allison
This book. THIS BOOK! I had no idea what I was in for when I started it. All I knew is that it was kind of a mystery set in the '80s...

Heartbreaker begins with teenager Pony Darlene ruminating on the disappearance and life of her mother, Billie Jean. We see life through Pony's eyes: her mysterious mother, her stoic father, the super-80s characters of the town...But the magic of this book isn't with the plot, per se, though that was as complex and expertly woven as a beautiful, colorful quilt...b
Jessica Sullivan
This is a strange, ambitious book that partly succeeds in what it sets out to do, though not entirely.

Fifteen-year-old Pony’s mother disappears one day from the isolated, cult-like territory they call home. The book is split into three sections, each with its own narrator: Pony, the family dog, and a local teenage boy named Supernatural.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it all actually does come together and make much more sense than I anticipated, in spite of the weird setup and structure
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways-arcs
I've been recommending this book to anyone who will listen and prefaced each time with "but I couldn't stand the first 60-80 pages, I didn't get it."

How to explain....? This will be a frustrating read for many. For me the whole first part made me want to bail so hard but I was committed to reviewing it and I knew there had to be something I was missing— and boy was I right! The story is told 3 ways in 3 big chapters. First it follows 15yo Pony Darlene, a very strange girl making her own way in t
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book was nothing like I expected to be, yet it was so much more. It is a bizarre little story, that focuses on the disappearance of Billie Jean Fontaine and is told from three perspectives: the girl, the dog, and the boy. Through these three perspectives, readers can piece together information about Billie’s life before the territory, her life in the territory, and the events leading up to her disappearance.

I was absolutely fascinated and captivated by the territory – which is the name of
Jun 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1900s, convoluted
Heartbreaker is the youthful wisdom of Pony Darlene Fontaine because as shocking as her mother’s mythical arrival to the compound in a Mercedes Sedan was; Billy Jean Fontaine’s departure is just as random and chaotic. Pony lives in area called The Territory, with 80s rock icons and S.E. Hinton names, where Red Dawn really happened…I don’t know but I want to find out. But then there’s Claudia Dey’s fragmented time lines of past and present storytelling. While the novel is catchy in theme, mysteri ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book and I did not get along.....I found the writing disjointed, as it should be as the author is presenting the thoughts of the characters. However, I just kept bouncing off the text, and finding other things to do instead of continuing with this book. I'm sure there's something interesting within the text, but I just can't make myself find it.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Random House for an ARC of Heart-Breaker by Claudia Dey  in return for an honest review, embargoed until the publication date: August 21st, 2018 

Heartbreaker is the most character driven book I have read, possibly ever. Here’s the kicker. One of the most essential characters is the setting of the book: The Territory. Turning the setting, remnants of an cult in the 1980s, down to one original member,  into an essential character of the book is no easy task but Dey does it without ski
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-lit
It's the mid-eighties. Pony Darlene lives in an isolated community, cut off from the wider world. She has only known her small patch of land, the 88 houses and their inhabitants. Hers is a community sprung from the remains of a cult, the Leader long gone. Kids and adults alike are bored; petty, addicted, caught up in their own strange dramas. The mines have closed and to survive the town has resorted to some drastic measures.... One night, Billie Jean Fontaine simply disappears, leaving her husb ...more
Pam Golafshar
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's hard to find a story that hasn't been done before, and this book, while borrowing themes from several other places, managed to capture me as a reader and weave something really intricate. I almost put the book down after the first few pages, admittedly, but then I re-read the synopsis and decided to keep at it... and I'm so glad I did. This story is told from three character perspectives, giving more of the central story in tiny bites as you go along, and showing you more of each narrating ...more
Jacob Kolody
Sep 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a shit-show from start to finish. The writing in “Heartbreaker” was so chaotic that I’m honestly not even sure what I just read. I thought this book was supposed to be Billie Jean Fontaine’s story about joining the cult and why she escaped but it ended up being about every boring character that surrounded her. I got the most information about Billie Jean from Part 2 of the novel (which was told from her dog’s perspective) but even then, Part 2 read like a letter written personally ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
So I’m not exactly sure what I just read but I know it didn’t completely work. Dey is brave and bold I’ll give her that, and more books should have sections narrated by a dog, but there were some structural and timeline issues I couldn’t overlook. It gets points for being like nothing else and the great 80s references.
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Weird and wild. I think I figured out what I liked about it when the dog narrated a section that was smart and funny without sacrificing the sometimes necessary brutality of the animal world. This whole novel is like that—brilliant and brutal.
Varsha Ravi (between.bookends)
Let me give you the lay of the land.

Claudia Dey takes us to uncharted territories in her hypnotic, outlandish and darkly bewitching novel, Heartbreaker. It straddles multiple genres without comfortably fitting into anything. It reads like a mystery, a cult novel, a dystopian and a coming of age story in equal parts. The novel is incredibly opaque, to begin with. Nothing is explained initially and the first 50-60 pages were so weird and bizarre that when I had first picked this book up about two
Nicole Brewer
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have a lot of feelings about this book. Largely, it seems either loved or hated, and it comes down to Dey’s style: a frantic, circular, carefully chaotic style that propels a narrative of trauma, poverty, isolation, and perseverance. Major complaints are that it’s hard to follow, it jumps around, and the dialogue is too unreal. These are all true, but they are also all exactly what I love in a book, so – at the level of storytelling, I loved Heartbreaker. For instance, this slice of wisdom fro ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Much different than I expected. Don't go into this thinking it's about people in a weird cult in 1985. That is what it's about but this is kind of like a fever dream or drug induced hallucination of sorts. The story is told in 3 distincts parts by 3 different narrators. It all has a very unique style that is going to be very off putting to many, I think. It is interesting and I think it gets better as you go along. It is weird though. Very weird.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

I’m not quite sure what to say about this book. During the first third, I was questioning whether I was going to make it through or not. However, it was an ARC sent to me by Random House after winning a giveaway on Goodreads and I always try to finish, rate and review any books sent to me.

Eventually, I found myself sucked into the “territory”, where this book takes place and even though all of the characters have their faults and are unreliable, I could not put this book down. This boo
Andrea MacPherson
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
HOLY OOF. Just read it
Jan 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Listened to 4 out of the 9 hours of audiobook. Have no clue what the book is about. It didn't keep my interest and I slept through book club 🤷‍♀️
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
This is one of those otherworldly sort of books that constantly slips through your fingers as you read it. But keep grabbing at it because what a remarkable book.

Separated into three parts, each narrated by a different character, the story revolves around a small, remote place called the territory. It's one of those towns where everyone knows everyone else's business, but things are a bit weirder here, as is slowly revealed throughout the first part.

The central figure is one Billie Jean Fontain
Diane Hernandez
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Great for fans of kooky science fiction, Heartbreaker is definitely not for most readers. However, if you are looking for something different, you will love this book as much as I do.

Pony Darlene was born and raised in a cult. Her mother has run off and her dad’s nickname is the Heavy. What does a fifteen-year-old need to do to score a boyfriend and eventual husband in this cult? And why does the territory draw blood regularly from all the females?

Wow, the world building here is awesome incorpor
Sep 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well. That was stupid.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
This book made me think I’d lost the ability to understand words and sentences and paragraphs. What the fuck did I just read? Did not finish.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A story told in three parts by three different characters, Pony, the dog and Supernatural, this one is definitely in the realm of weird fiction. From the bizarre cult suspended in the 80’s to the hyper-intelligent dog this story in an exercise in mind-bending and suspension of disbelief. It is not a linear, straightforward story as much as a collection of thoughts and feelings. Can someone can please tell me how to rig up my antennae so I only receive broadcasts from 1985? I would be immensely a ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey is a highly recommended, quirky, unique character driven novel that is part dystopian, part alternate reality.

The territory is an isolated cult/settlement that was founded in the north decades ago. In the territory is it 1985, including the music, TV shows, listening to Walkmans, album covers, shoulder pads, track suits, and more. The narrative is told in three parts from the point-of-view of three different characters: the girl, the dog, and the boy.

The girl is fifte
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Goodreads Librari...: Correct Heartbreaker 2 30 Nov 06, 2018 04:10AM  

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Claudia Dey is the author of HEARTBREAKER (Random House, HarperCollins, Borough Press), listed as one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by Entertainment Weekly, The Millions, Publishers Weekly, and Buzzfeed––also, a Staff Pick at The Paris Review.

Dey's first novel, STUNT, was a finalist for the Amazon First Novel Award, and a Globe & Mail and Quill & Quire Book of the Year. Her plays have been

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