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My Box-Shaped Heart

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  235 ratings  ·  47 reviews
My Box-Shaped Heart is a powerful story of an unlikely friendship from Rachael Lucas, author of The State of Grace.

Holly's mum is a hoarder, and she is fed up with being picked on at school for being weird . . . and having the wrong clothes . . . and sticking out. All she wants is to be invisible. She loves swimming, because in the water everyone is the same.

Ed goes to the
Paperback, 255 pages
Published February 22nd 2018 by Macmillan Children's Books
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Simone Liedtke
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
My Box-Shaped Heart is a powerful story of an unlikely friendship from Rachael Lucas, author of The State of Grace.
Published By: Pan Macmillan

 Following a powerful story that has elements of true, relatable circumstances for most people, 'My Box-Shaped Heart' follows the unlikely meeting of Holly and Ed, both who feel like outsiders. 
Holly, who's Mom is a hoarder, and Ed, who comes from a difficult background (#SpoilerAlert) both end up meeting at the one place they have in common: The swimmin
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was precious.
I bought this last month during my vacation in Paris, at Shakespeare & C0. and at the time I thought, with my ever-growing tbr pile, it would be a while before I picked it. Luck had other things in mind, cause this one was the one whose name I picked from a small jar of papers when I was trying to decide what to read to start off my winter break.

Context aside, now, I loved this book.

It's about families, and how messy they can be. It's a bit about finding your own place
Fabulous Book Fiend
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rachael Lucas has done it again, she has found something which doesn't normally get talked about openly in young adult literature and blown it wide open in this novel. This book is definitely a reminder that we don't know what goes on behind closed doors and that we really don't know what people, specifically young people, are dealing with at home when we come into contact with them and decide how to treat them! This book also serves as a reminder to those who might be dealing with the issues in ...more
Nicola Clough
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is quite an easy read and full of romance and friendship where you least expect it. The characters are good and story plot is good so true to life has you wanting to read more to see what happens. Can read quickly and curl up and read on a lovely day. It's a powerful story to with many difficulties that families have.
You have holly who's mum is a border and she is picked on at school for being different and she's fed up with it. She wants to be invisible but she lives swimming so she goes
Jul 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was a bit slow, mostly because i don’t usually read these types of books, but i did enjoy it!
It wasn’t the most amazing thing i’ve ever read but it had its moments. Its focused around a 16 year old girl who lives in Scotland, who swims for fun & later, teaches swimming as a job. She meets a boy named Ed at the pool and the two of them hit it off. But their romance is simply a behind the scenes thing for me and the parts that stood out are the tales of both of their home lives. Their m
Megan  (thebookishtwins)
Disclaimer: I received this free from the publisher via Netgalley

Holly has a passion for swimming because in the water everyone is the same. No one sticks out for being weird or being poor. Holly lives on a council estate with her mum who also happens to be a hoarder. It doesn’t make her home life ideal. Holly meets Ed at the swimming pool who swims to escape from his home. He used to have money, he was on the swim team, he had known who he was and what he wanted. Now, he lives in a house assign
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was really good and age appropriate for me. I really liked the storyline and all of the characters. I especially liked how they had all sorts of characters, so it related to the modern day. The main character had a step sister who was very popular at school,whereas the main character was the complete opposite. The main characters mum isn't very good at letting go of things, so her house is a mess. This is i think where the title comes from ; everything is boxed up. I would de ...more
4.5 stars

Rachael Lucas has done it again! I adored The State of Grace and was really highly anticipating the release of My Box-Shaped Heart as a result and I was not at all disappointed. This book is gorgeous and filled with layered characters that I could really connect with. I loved their stories and how authentic the whole book felt. What really stood out for me is that this is the kind of book that someone somewhere will pick up and see themselves for the first time.

Holly and I clicked immed
I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway!

3 stars for a YA contemporary romance that could have been better if it included more cute romantic moments and less over-the-top drama.

My Box-Shaped Heart is about Holly, a girl who is not very popular, and Ed, a mysterious and handsome boy who is also not very popular. Holly and Ed meet at the pool where Holly volunteers and Ed begins to frequent. The two teens swim to get away from their family issues, including their abusive and absent father
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This is the delightful story of a teenager called Holly and one summer of her life where everything changes .
Holly lives in an overwhelming amount of clutter with a mother who is struggling with depression and a multitude of other issues , Holly is essentially the adult in the family and struggling to live her own life and she is way down the list of her responsibilities of which there are plenty so when she is offered a job doing the one thing in the world she loves she jumps at the chance and
Amy (Golden Books Girl)
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have been meaning to read this book for ages (even more so since one of my closest friends absolutely loves it), and I`m so pleased I`ve finally read it. It is the story of two teens named Holly and Ed, who both have pretty complicated home lives, as they meet and fall in love via their swimming pool, and it is so lovely. I don`t know why I`d expected a dual narrative when I started this, but I loved Holly`s narration so much I didn`t care that I was wrong, especially since her sense of humour ...more
Such a heartwarming romantic novel about friendship and trying to find the happiness that you deserve when nothing seems to go your way. What I really like about this novel is that it discusses issues that you don't commonly find in YA literature. Holly's mother is a hoarder and battling with depression while Ed and his mother are escaping an abusive relationship. It really demonstrates the real issues that teens face but are not known because they are hidden behind doors. It also shows that peo ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-english
Okay, I liked this more than I thought I would at the beginning
Karen Whittard
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holly is a lovely young lady who is leading a bit of a troubled life. She is getting picked in at school (something I completely sympathised with her about) and her mum is a hoarder.

Needing escape Holly’s escapes to the gym and find comfort and escapism in swimming. One of the swimming instructors sees Holly’s talent and allows Holly to become a swimming assistant. But then her mum breaks her leg and seeing that Holly needs help Cressi decides to run some erronds for the family and ends up help
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and completed it in 3nights.

Its a very easy contemporary read. The relationship build up is extremely cute.

I loved Holly as a character and her voice as it flowed beautifully.

The descriptions of Hoarding is realistic and amazingly written.

The element of secrecy throughout between the two is cool to read. Even as they are close they still don't know much about each others life. Other than swimming.

I love swimming and used to be a competitor. So the swimming element of t
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I honestly don't know how Rachael Lucas pulls this one off, but she does and it is simply wonderful!

My Box-Shaped Heart deals with so many big, serious issues. Holly's mum is struggling with her own mental health problems. Holly is having to care for her, and cope with everything on her own. She has problems at school and an awkward relationship with the girl who was her step-sister until their parents split up. Ed has his own parent problems he's trying to deal with. Neither of them fit in, and
Eve beinguniquebooks
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holly has a tough time time in school as she gets bullies while Holly's mum is also a hoarder and so she escapes to the swimming pool for relaxation and to escape her and life. Cressi, a kind neighbour manages to allow Holly to be a swimming assistant and Holly is grateful to have an excuse to not be at home. However, her mum has a broken leg from falling in all the mess and when kind Cressi calls in to check on them both she helps clear the house and slowly the hoarding mess lessens so much her ...more
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was such a good book. I'm a big fan of quieter books that tell real, heartfelt stories and this is such a good example of that. I felt drawn into the lives of the characters, particularly Holly's, so well that as times it felt like I was standing alongside them watching their story play out. This book deals with some really big social issues and handles them so very well. A really impressive read.
Lizzie Huxley-Jones
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book owns my heart. As with Lucas’ previous YA outing, State of Grace, this book has blended a sweet summer romance with complex family dynamics to create a gorgeous story.

Holly stands out — for being poor, for being weird and for having the wrong clothes. Her one safe place is the pool, away from her troubled mother, their cramped house and the memories of the family they once had.

When beautiful Ed keeps showing up to speak to her, Holly is faced with an opportunity to fall in love but als
Emily Willsher
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was another great read from Rachael Lucas in a similar style to her previous novel that was full of friendship, romance and family issues (and Oreos). Another heartwarming story that was easy to read and had loveable characters with realistic problems.

Holly’s mum is a serial hoarder and this means their house is getting out of control with things piled up in every corner even though they are struggling to
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An easy read with lots of romance and friendship. The characters are good and I really enjoyed each of them which doesn't alway happen. In terms of the story I thought the plot was good, realistic and kept me reading to find out what happened. The only aspect I wanted more from was the mental health side aspect of the story. Overall I would highly recommend.
I received this as a free ebook from Netgalley. This does not affect my review.

I adored The State Of Grace. My Box Shaped Heart is a softer, gentler story even though it begins in difficulties; my favourite thing about it is the sense of hopefulness, of recovery from dark times. Holly's had to step up and be a carer, putting her own life last for so long that she barely recognises change when it comes. Ed's lovely - obviously sore and wounded but again, putting himself last, so that the relation
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
one of those books that made your heart ache
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely story about families, friends and love. I liked the writing, all the characters were very real and likeable and I really enjoyed the Scottish setting.
Alyce Hunt
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I don't really know what sort of person I am," I say. "But I think it's time to find out." 

Holly and Ed both use their local swimming pool as a way to escape from the things that are troubling them. Holly's mum started hoarding after breaking up with Holly's step-dad, Neil, and their house is overwhelmed with stuff that never gets dealt with. Meanwhile Ed and his mum have only just moved to the area and he doesn't want to share much about his past, but Holly can see that the fancy labels on his

My Box-Shaped Heart is nice. It exists. Nothing more, nothing less.

It’s a book that tries to say something, to mean something, but shoves way too much into a relatively short story and ends up not providing any substance to the subplots. The blurb tells us that Holly is being picked on. Yet, at no point in the story is Holly picked on. At all. Sure, the narrator tells us Holly is a social reject, Holly is the lowest of the low, Holly is invisible to her classmates… but we, the rea
Holly lives in a small town near Edinburgh, Scotland, and she's grown increasingly concerned about her mother's ability to cope. After her stepfather, Neil, a serial cheater, left her mother, Fiona has becoming increasingly isolated and begun hoarding various items. As often happens in cases like this, Holly can barely move through the house. But when her mother has an accident and a family friend sorts out the clutter and gets Fiona into therapy, things at home start to change. Holly isn't sure ...more
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Just finished it and let me quickly list down the things you come across this little novel!

1. It's based Scotland
I'm sure you have read many books centred in the UK or US. But this is different from the lifestyle, weather and people you have seen there.

2. Do you love swimming?
There are so many cute scenes at the pool with Holly, Ed and Cress(I love this woman!) Trust me they are so adorable and indeed refreshing.

3. Holly
That's our main girl! Redhead, big-boned, tall girl. Yep! There are so many
Kayleigh Cyphus
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'd seen a lot of excitement for this book brewing over on Twitter so when I saw it go up on NetGalley I just knew I had to try My Box-Shaped Heart. I love YA contemporary books, especially UKYA, so this is right up my street. Luckily, it didn't disappoint and was a book that I looked forward to picking up every time I had a spare 5 minutes.

One thing that I really liked about this book is how the main characters all come from dysfunctional families that aren't the "norm". Coming from a single-pa
Shane Reid
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A relatable, literal, and honest YA book, with enough laughter and light-heartedness that the serious topics didn't darken the book too much.

I love the topics that the author used: hoarding, depression in parents, lost step family, domestic violence, and class differences. All these are very rare, if ever written, in Young Adult books. All told from the perspective of the child dealing with those issues in their family, the issues raised were sensitive yet understandable.

After meeting Rachael Lu
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Rachael Lucas lives by the seaside in the north west of England with her partner and her four children.

For more about Rachael, visit her blog here

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