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Heartbreaker

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3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,169 ratings  ·  325 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
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Published August 21st 2018 by HarperAvenue
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3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,169 ratings  ·  325 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.
Simon
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.
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
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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
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Fareya
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
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Theresa
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
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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
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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
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Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
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
...more
Susan
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
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Mel
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
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Brooke
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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Creager
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
Jennifer
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
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.
Stephanie
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.
Lisa
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
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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
Demi
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.
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
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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
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FabulousRaye
Sep 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well. That was stupid.
Susan
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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Kaytee Cobb
This story is told in an interesting way. From three different points of view (the girl, the dog, and the boy), we gradually piece together the life of Billie Jean Fontaine, mother of Pony, wife of The Heavy, and resident of The Territory, a secluded outpost with cult like beginnings way out in a desolate frontier. I picture unsettled Alaska, perhaps? because it's freaking cold there for so much of the year. So little is introduced at the beginning of this story that you're left piecing together ...more
Stacia
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, north-america
It has an interesting storytelling style (cadence, wording) & uses three consecutive narrators -- Pony Darlene (Billie Jean's teen daughter), the dog (Billie Jean's dog; probably the most reliable narrator), & Supernatural (a teen boy in the town) -- to relate the slowly revealed tale of Billie Jean (Pony's mother), who walks out one night into the cold weather & disappears. I have no real idea of the category of this book other than to say it is an offbeat, cult-ish book stuck in 19 ...more
Tin
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 🤷♀ ...more
Andrea MacPherson
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
HOLY OOF. Just read it
Mr. Cochran
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Dey's Heartbreaker takes place in an unconventional community (to say the least) and is written... well, unconventionally. The disappearance of Billie Jean, an oddity in an already eccentric, cult-driven society severely separated from civilization, is explored through three very different narrators. No one ever leaves, but of course Billie Jean was the first "outsider" taken in by this community and has never quite fit in, so who knows what her capabilities are.

There are a few things I think De
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Goodreads Librari...: Correct Heartbreaker 2 23 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 h
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