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How to Build a Heart

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  123 reviews
One young woman’s journey to find her place in the world as the carefully separated strands of her life — family, money, school, and love — begin to overlap and tangle.

All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by Algonquin Young Readers
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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♡ ᴅ ʀ ᴇ ᴀ ᴍ ♡ (semi-hiatus)
4 / 5 stars

[ e-ARC received from NetGalley ]

When I first saw the cover and its title, I did not have any ideas what the story would be about. I thought it might be a typical young adult novel focusing on teenage love but actually, the story itself was much more than that. It had that part, of course. But that was not the main idea of the story that the author wanted to portray to readers. Family and friends are.

How to Build a Heart follows 16-year-old Isabella Crawford, known as Izzy. After her
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My friends at Algonquin Books told me about How to Build a Heart about a year ago, and I have been highly anticipating it ever since. You see, like many of us, as a sixteen-year-old I felt lost. My family had moved the year before, one of many moves. I am drawn to stories like this because they are deeply relatable, which makes them comforting, even healing at times. I found those things in the beauty of Maria Padian’s storytelling.

Izzy’s father passed away six years ago, and ever since, her
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family, friendship, love, death, ya, arc
How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian deals with a lot of issues. Friendship, families, mother daughter relationships, sibling relationships, loss of a parent and many more. This story really touched my heart and brought a lot of different emotions out of me. It made me happy and it made me sad. I loved the writing and I was so into the story from the beginning. It also has some trigger warnings abuse, racism, bullying and depression. I want to thank Netgalley and Algonquin Young readers for ...more
chloe ♡
review to come! i loved this so much.
Susan's Reviews
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This YA novel is well written and will appeal to young teens and older "teens at heart" who worry about fitting in, falling in love and finding (and keeping) a stable home. In this story, Izzy Campbell's life is one huge tragic upheaval, constantly on the move from one place to the other after her father is Iraq. Her family finally gets to settle down in one place, thanks to
Jun 10, 2019 marked it as 2020-release
Shelves: arcs

Thank you, NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers, for sending me an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review! :)
goddd i'm so excited to get to this

received an arc by netgalley in exchange for an honest review
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
***Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of HOW TO BUILD A HEART by Maria Padian in exchange for my honest review.***

Izzy Crawford feels like an outsider. As a scholarship student at a private school her friends don’t know she lives in a trailer park or that her family is building a Habitat for Humanity house, a place to finally call home. Izzy likes the same boy her as neighbor friend Roz and she doesn’t want Sam to know her family circumstances.

The teen years would be so
Nicole H.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
My overall vibe from this story was that it was a poignant tale about a mixed cultured girl learning about who her tribe was and finding a place to belong. I can see this story appealing to a wide variety of people. It was told beautifully and really hit upon key aspects of mixed cultured teens and the struggles that they go through. Their displaced feelings, for example. Izzy, the main character, was quirky and lovable and won me over in the first chapter. I'll be keeping my eye on this author. ...more
Alja Katuin
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
How to build a heart is one of the best feel good books I’ve read in a while. I’m telling you, this is the book we’ve been waiting for.
It’s kind of stereotypical; poor girl, rich boy and lots of prejudice, but it feels so good. It’s comfortable and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
The characters are built up nicely, you know just enough about them and they seem very realistic. The scenes are good, the story is tied together very well and I’ve enjoyed every second of this book
Jade Melody

Received an arc from NetGalley for an honest review.

This book was great, and a lot better than I originally was made out to believe. I thought this was one of those young adult contemporaries that could get lost among the rest but this book provided something that the others did not: Characters I care deeply about, a plot that connected all the characters and made everything interesting, the call out on racism, and the importance of family and friends. Another thing I enjoyed was the
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Starting this book off, my expectations immediately lowered because I found the friendship between our MC Izzy and her best friend Roz to be a little over the top. Once I found my way into more of the story though, I absolutely loved the family dynamics as well as the romance and the new friendship we find between Izzy and another character.

This book wasn't perfect. There's a lot of lying in this book and I think there's also a little bit too much forgiveness towards one character. I understood
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, romance, contemporary, arc
An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but I really enjoyed it! Izzy is dealing still with the grief of her father's death 6 years prior; she lives in a mobile home with her younger brother and their mom, who does everything in her power to make her children's lives better. Izzy's best friend, Roz, complains often about the rich people living not to far from their trailer park--and Izzy
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, physical-2019
Make sure you have some kleenex handy for this one.
Izzy attends a private Catholic school on scholarship, and she works hard to keep the fact she lives with her family in a mobile home park secret. So when her family is selected as recipients for a Habitat for Humanity home, as much as she's excited about finally being able to be in a stable home for a long period of time, she does not want to be involved in the publicity or fundraising where others may see her.

Izzy is half Puerto Rican, and her father died during his military service. Since
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
My review for this book can also be found on The Book Bratz

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, after a conversation got sparked on Twitter and we found out that we actually have a mutual connection based on the college I attend! I thought that was pretty cool, and then when I found out Maria was a YA author, I knew that I definitely wanted to read some of her work. When she sent me How To Build a Heart, I was elated, because the story sounded like
Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for sending me an advanced copy of this book.

I really enjoyed reading this book and couldn't put it down.

In many ways, this was a very relatable book. Izzy is a young girl trying to find herself and fit in a place where she doesn't feel like she belongs. She hides her true self in order to be accepted by the different relationships in her life. She is estranged from her dad's side of the family, feels like her friendship with her best friend Roz must always be
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult

I was provided with a digital ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishing house, Algonquin Young Readers, in exchange for an honest review.

A full review of this book can be found here

I have to say I quite enjoyed this book. "How to build a heart" talks about Izzy, a young Latin-American girl. Her father was in the military, and because of that she is used to moving. But now she has found some friends in Virginia, she has settled in her new school, and she also met a boy. When
What an absolutely amazing, beautiful, emotional book. The characters really shine in this story. Izzy is a character you really feel for. She was three-dimensional and realistic. It was a nice change having her be the more confident one and her love interest be a little shyer! And Mami is such an amazing character. Made me get emotional in some places.

I would've liked to hear a little more about Aubrey's depression, and how mental health doesn't discriminate between classes. Aubrey is
Alyson Stone
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-fic, arc
Book: How To Build A Heart
Author: Maria Padian
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for sending me an ARC.

So, this book has been on my radar for about a year now. The publisher has been talking about this book with me saying that they think that I will really enjoy it. They were right. Yes, I do normally read more fantasy than anything, but I do like hard hitting contemporaries and this is just what I’m looking for. Whenever I’m reading a
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Finished this in one day and yupz it was an interesting read. This story focuses on family, friendship, relationship, racism, abuse, mental health and etc .

I love-hate the main character, Izzy. Goshh kinda selfish duh I mean she knows her friend like that guy but she end up liking him too asdfghjkl but but feelings can't be control right? Okay okay I understand her pftt

How to build a heart is out on 28 January 2020!! Don't forget to check out this book!!!

Thank you Netgalley, author and
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
thank you netgalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review!

oh man. this was too good. it's the second book i read that includes a parent that died in ~action~ but just as interesting!
so this book was focused more on family with the romance as a subplot but i really enjoyed seeing how izzy eventually found herself.

i totally understand why izzy kept everything a secret but as mark said, if someone doesn't like her for "being poor" then she's better off without them. i adored every single
Samantha (WLABB)
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Izzy had always felt caught between two worlds. Biracial, but white-passing, she passed her days in her private school, and the rest of her time in her trailer park home. When Aubrey, the new transfer student, befriended Izzy, she had the opportunity to mingle among the town's wealthier citizens, but how long would Izzy be able to hide who she was from her new friends?

This was a story of friendship, family, first love, identity, and grief, and Izzy was at the center of it all.
Liza Wiemer
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC copy of this novel for review.

Maria Padian captured my heart with this novel. FRTC
Ay, Dios mio how I loved this book!
Sarah Laurence
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In How to Build a Heart winning a dream home becomes a nightmare for sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford when the sponsor needs a poster family for fundraising. This beautifully written YA novel explores the themes of economic inequity, racism, and assimilation.

As a scholarship student at a private school, Izzy has worked hard to fit in with her affluent classmates. Even her friends don't know that she lives in a mobile home, and since her complexion favors her Caucasian father, she can pass for
KarenJo Custodio
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 rounded to 5.

Poignant and riveting, How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian is a beautiful story about self-discovery, grief, family, forgiveness, friendship, and so much more. It’s emotional, it’s sweet, and it’s so real it made my heart ache, but also gave me joy.

After dealing with her father’s death and constantly moving, Izzy Crawford somewhat feels at home in Virginia. She likes her new school and classmates, she has a best friend who lives next door, she’s caught the attention of a
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sometimes a well-written, beautifully thematic YA novel is what you want to read, and How to Build A Heart is just that.

The story centres around Izzy Crawford, a 16-year-old whose life has been irrevocably touched by the loss of her Marine father. Through a series of YA-specific elements including a first crush, relationship, friendships, teenage embarrassment and familial relations, the author has created a novel completely worth immersing yourself in.

I absolutely loved the Latina roots that
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5/5 stars

An overall heart-wrenching read that was exactly what I needed. Beautifully written experience of a teenage girl growing into (searching for, really) her own place in the world that feels stable, secure, and free. Izzy Crawford is faced with the struggles that come with being the half Puerto Rican daughter of a single working class mother, facing the loss of her father, and the complex friendships that come with being a part of two different worlds at once, and what happens when they
Read my spoiler-free review and more about the book on my blog, illbefinealone reads.

How to Build a Heart is an absolutely beautiful story about finding your place.
The writing seemed so sincere, and it flowed really well. I really enjoyed how it was paced, it kept the story entertaining and dynamic. The dialogue was amazingly written as well, it had really good back and forth between the characters and it wasn’t dull as it sometimes can be.
On the subject of the characters, they were
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