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How to Build a Heart

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  52 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
Expected publication: January 28th 2020 by Algonquin Young Readers
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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
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
chloe ♡
review to come! i loved this so much.
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! :)
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
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
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.

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 she gets the chance to settle for good, Izzy
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
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
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
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
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.
Lois (thecarrotstories)
How To Build A Heart is a beautiful contemporary on finding oneself and fitting in. Okay.. maybe it’s not about fitting in but more like being unashamed of who you are and your background.

There was so much to learn from this story and if I were to list it down, it would be almost all the moral lessons that exists in our society. There was something to learn from every chapter.

I had a good time reading this and it was an easy read. I guess all the drama made it pretty exciting. The writing style
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
Alison (Story-eyed Reviews)
When I first requested an ARC of How to Build a Heart, I had simple expectations: it looked like a sweet, YA romance about a girl and teenage love. What I got when I opened the book to read it, however, was so much more than that.

How to Build a Heart is first and foremost a book about the depths of familial love and friendship. I was so moved, so many times. Instead of being only romance-centric, this book touched on so many topics that are life or death for teens today: fitting in, finding
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
rae ✌️
2.5 stars. this was... A Lot and not in a good way

Chantale Onesi-Gonzalez
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, galley
In "How to Build a Heart', Maria Padian offers a tale of youth that is interesting and, at times, heartbreaking. Told from the first person perspective of Izzy (Isabella Crawford) this story portrays the struggles of a teenage girl trying to reconcile her need to be friends with everyone against her future life. Her mother, a fierce Puerto Rican woman, is hard working and wise and continuously encourages Izzy to be better than the circumstances that she (and their family) are in. Izzy's best ...more
Emily Merrill
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
*** ARC sent to me in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley ***

How to Build a Heart follows Izzy Crawford, the daughter of a deceased US Marine and her strict Puerto-Rican mother. Struggles for money following her father's death have meant that her family (composed of Izzy, Mami and her little brother Jack) move from place to place in search of work, and at the time of the novel reside in a mobile home park.

Throughout the novel Izzy tries to balance the juxtapositions in her life: her
Sara Magnafichi
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for providing #Collabookation with a copy of this to review. I loved this #ownvoices novel by Maria Padian! I had no idea what to expect when I saw the cover and title of this story. Izzy is a high school student who has had to deal with loss at a young age after her dad dies while being overseas in Iraq with the military. As a result, her family has had to move around a lot. She is at her private school on scholarship, when she learns that her family has ...more
Kayla Owens
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. You will fall immediately in love with Isabella Crawford and her family. How to Build a Heart is about finding out who you really are and how you fit into your world. Izzy lives with her single (widowed) mother and hyper brother in a mobile home park and has to reconcile her home life with that of her life and new friends at a private catholic school she attends on scholarship. When her two worlds collide, she has figure out how to navigate, starting with figuring ...more
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a YA book that made me feel the way “How To Build a Heart” did. From the characters to the plot and the storytelling, it was something of a ride. An emotional one too.
(view spoiler)
Emma Kiely
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I want to thank Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

I have to say I honestly really loved this book!
The characters were really interesting and drew me into the story. I couldn’t get enough of these adorable characters I wanted to read even more about because I admired them and their journey.
The writing was amazing it flowed really well I was never bored and just wanted to keep reading.
This is an author that I will be keeping an eye out for now!
4 stars
Courtney Reynolds
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a well written book on one girls journey to accept the way things are and appreciate the the changes of life, love, and loss. You can feel the emotions written into this book with every line you read, and can not help but hope for the best outcome for the main characters in this book.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved Maria Padian's last book, so I was expecting to enjoy How to Build a Heart, but loved it even more than I thought I would. I absolutely adored Izzy, and seeing her grow throughout the book was wonderful. I loved seeing her open up to friends and to the boy that she liked, Sam, and I loved seeing her relationships with her mother and brother. This was such a heartwarming story and it had me tearing up more than once. Highly, highly recommend to anyone who likes YA contemporary coming of ...more
I was given an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, Netgalley, for this opportunity.

I loved this book!

It had some interesting twists and turns plotwise, that I wasn't expecting at all and I loved the ending. The relationships felt real and the younger brother was an adorable character, not a brat. I can't wait to usher in 2020 with this book to recommend to my teen readers.
Seren Konigkramer
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Izzy was such a great character, and even though Roz wasn’t the best at times, I enjoyed that friendship. They had some great banter. I thought it was great that Izzy would get a “win” with a new house. Her relationship with Sam was a bit like what some readers may call “insta-love” (I think) but I enjoyed it. Mark and Betts were awesome
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sweet, more or less wholesome, and dialogue that actually made me smile more than once.
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Children who experience the loss of a parent or other family member through a military line-of-duty death are likely to face a number of unique issues. Izzy’s father died when she was ten, before her younger brother Jack was born. Her small family, estranged from her father’s relatives, has moved from place to place as her mother, a nurse’s aide, tries to support them.

When she moves to a a trailer park in Virginia, Isabella Crawford becomes embroiled in the family drama of her best friend, and,
Rebekah Gonzalez
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
*I received an Advanced Reader Copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

There are so many things about this book that I love. It is a very thoughtfully written book and it feels very authentic. I have very little in common with the main character, but I could totally relate to her. There was a lot about her that reminded me of myself at her age.

I recently reviewed another book that had very similar themes to this one; a biracial girl navigating grief and struggling to define herself.
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I'm a reader and an author: not a critic or a reviewer! I believe in the power of stories. So while I definitely have my opinions about the things I read, my primary goal is to share great books and promote literature, which is one of my great, abiding passions.

That said, I'm no longer going to affix stars to the books I read. I'll offer a comment or two, and maybe if I'm deliriously in love and