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I Hold Your Heart

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The tense, tender must-read book of the summer - perfect for fans of Louise O'Neill and Sara Barnard

'You make me feel like there's something good in the world I can hold on to,' Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it's almost hard to breathe. 'I love you, Gem. And I promise I'll hold your heart forever.'

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the fir
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 11th 2019 by Bloomsbury YA
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  187 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although, I Hold Your Heart is a teen romance, it's also for adults too. I connected with Gemma who is in love with Aaron, he is kind and caring. But Aaron has two sides to him, he has committed domestic abuse and controlling Gemma. He has stopped Gemma seeing her family and friends. In a temper, he accused Gemma of things that are clearly a rage of not just things in his head but jealousy. I connected to Gemma because when I was in my late teens I had two relationship one where I was frightened ...more
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
A really fascinating (though also harrowing) look at manipulative relationships, almost like a UKYA version of IT ENDS WITH US.

From the very beginning of IHYH, you get sense of faint unease. Aaron, the love interest, is incredibly perfect on the surface - attractive, thoughtful, has a dog and a nice car - but he turns up in the same place too many times for it to be coincidence and soon there are major red lights in his small actions and words. By halfway through, I actually wanted to shake the
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book got to me.

It is a story about how easily you can get tangled in the abusive relationship and how incredibly hard it is to get out.

The book was wonderfully well written. I loved author's writing style, even if the book is YA, the writing felt very mature and cultivated. The story got me from the first pages and I couldn't stop reading. I was simply captivated.

It was powerful and deep and I am so glad that I read this one.
Megan  (thebookishtwins)
Disclaimer: I received this free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Gemma is a confident, aspiring singer with a brilliant group of friends. She meets Aaron, who is confident, sensitive, and charming. He sweeps Gemma off her feet, he says just the right things, he makes her feel special and loved. But Aaron isn’t exactly all that he seems. His behaviour starts becoming increasingly erratic and controlling, and those around Gemma become increasingly concerned.

I Hold Your Heart wa
Aug 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I’d say my overwhelming feeling after finishing this one, was that it was a little bit boring. I was really surprised by that because the premise is fairly dramatic, and the cover somewhat promised drama with its barbed heart.

Domestic abuse is definitely a crucial topic, and this one doesn’t really shy away from it, although after the slow build up, the full scale abuse is somewhat skirted over in just a chapter or two. The build up was definitely cleverly handled, as an adult you cant understa
Donna Maguire

I had been looking forward to reading this one since I read the blurb and I read the book at work over a few lunch breaks and it was a complete distraction for me – so massive thanks to the author for helping me to escape on a daily basis!

The subject in the book is a topical one at the moment and there are sadly a lot of similar cases being reported in the news. The story had me thinking too, everyone thinks, including myself, that they can probably spot t
The Coycaterpillar Reads
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
It is always a welcome surprise when you receive a book especially in the YA category that blows you away both for the storytelling and the absolute importance that story carries. Where on earth was this story when I was an impressionable 17-year-old girl? This is the story I needed but I’m so very grateful that young adults have this. If you’re a parent of a teenage girl BUY T
Sandra "Jeanz"
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
It was the cover that first attracted me to this book, which is ironic when it is actually labelled as being a “draft cover”. I actually like this cover and when you have completed reading the book, you know it does really fit it well. Its main colour is red which is associated with love & passion. Then there’s the barbed wire in a heart shape, which beautifully represents what the relationship between Gemma and Aaron becomes. The byline of "When Does Love Become Possession"....this also describ ...more
Zubs Malik
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was not an easy one to read but more a necessary one. Especially for those young adults/teenagers venturing into first time love and relationships with the view of forever and happy ever after in their minds.

What this book does, told through the eyes of two fictional characters (Gemma and Aaron) is highlight abuse at its core and how manipulative it can be to change your entire life. Sometimes, I could hardly bare to read on, one section in particular – had me up the better part of th
Karen Barber
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
From a distance, everyone thinks they can spot the signs of an abusive relationship.
From a distance, you think you know that some actions are just not what forms part of a healthy relationship.
But when you’re the one in that situation, how easy is it to tell?
When Gemma first meets Aaron she’s confident and outgoing, has a part-time job, dreams of singing and is just starting A-levels. Within weeks of meeting Aaron things are shifting. She starts giving up things that meant so much to her. Is it
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

TW - emotional abuse

"The tense, tender must-read book of the summer – perfect for fans of Louise O'Neill and Sara Barnard.

‘You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the fi
Karen Whittard
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
When Gemma meets Aaron she is at a point in her life where she is stressed out by exams and the pressure of life. Aaron is a welcome escape. He is warm, comforting, understanding and kind. Well until it all becomes a little too much, Gemma starts to feel a little too smothered and suddenly their relationship takes a drastic turn for the worst. It’s really easy to understand why Gemma falls for Aaron at the start and it’s so easy to fall and stay in a toxic relationship. But this book is so impor ...more
Tash Broom
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very powerful novel that dives into the depths of what it's like to be in an abusive relationship. A very important read.
Hannah-lynette Hunter
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

Karen Gregory’s third book has cemented her as the most current and much needed author out there. Her work isn’t about escapism, but about emphathy, relatability and recognision. Countless was such a popular book within my plending library in school that I had to purchase three additional copies to keep up with demand. It was also the book that developed a number of students into ‘reader’; begging for other books ‘like this’

Gemma and Aaron are such imp
Charlotte Burns
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I Hold Your Heart is the story of Gemma and Aaron, told in alternating chapters from both character's perspectives, which gives us a detailed insight into what each is thinking from the moment they meet until the end of the book. This book tackles some serious issues of emotional and sexual abuse, so take care in reading this if these issues are likely to be a trigger for you.

In Aaron's chapters we see his growing obsession with Gemma. I found him creepy from the outset, although in the early st
Barbara Band
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: YA
Gemma is doing her A levels and, whilst not the most popular girl at school, has a supportive group of friends and is planning on studying music, something she's good at. She lives with her parents and younger brother, Michael, where she is pushed slightly into the background as Michael is a promising footballer so her father is obsessed with him and all their family activities revolve around her brother.

Enter Aaron. And it's not long before they are in an intense relationship. Slowly Aaron pull
Morganas BookBox
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Puuh! * scratches forehead * That book definitely wasn´t what I expected it would be.
You know the feeling when you see a book title and you think "meh" but then you read the tagline and think " Oh?"

`When does love become possession?`

Oh? indeed. Seriously, I had so many things going on in my head. Young adult with the promise of a true crazy character?  I wanted the crazy. The full-on stalker, bat shit loon from our worst nightmares. Well, I got more than I asked for, I can tell you that much. An
Alyce Hunt
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I Hold Your Heart is an utter masterpiece.

Gemma first sees Aaron as she’s leaving one of her brother’s football matches, their eyes meeting across the pitch – sparks flying, a soaring orchestral soundtrack playing in the background – and she’s instantly attracted to him. Heading straight to her shift at the cafe with her best friend Esi, she can’t stop wondering whether she should have given him her number when – lo and behold – in he walks.

A huge fan of country songs, Gemma has always believed
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a fantastic and moving story! Karen writes some of the most insightful and moving stories that I just adore. An interesting look at gaslighting in a relationship and how it is hard to see the warning signs once you're in deep.

This is a story that starts off as a love story and it goes in a different direction. Gemma and Aaron start dating but, after awhile there is warning signs. He seems nice as first, he's a little bit older than her, drives her to collage, takes her on nice dates and buy
Kirsty Stanley
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This starts out like a love at first sight teen romance, where main character Gemma gets swept away by the enigmatic Aaron. As do we to a certain extent, despite knowing that something is going to go wrong.

Gemma is overshadowed at home by her football playing younger brother Michael and Aaron sees this - and her.

With beach picnics and expensive gifts Gemma falls deeper and despite friends concerns she fails to see the warning signs. And that’s because they are so subtle at first. Things that a
Jen Gallagher
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Karen Gregory is now one of those authors who, when their publisher sends an email to say advance proofs of their new novel is out, I could easily break the world record for hitting reply, typing SEND ME THIS IMMEDIATELY I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE, and hitting send. Thank the publishing gods, or Emily at Bloomsbury specifically, for getting this book into my eager hands, because oh my, is this one rollercoaster ride of brilliant YA writing.

Gemma is a confident, country music singing, girl with a sol
Jill Brown
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The abuse and 'gaslighting' theme of this book are very topical and important now more than ever so this was a very interesting read. Our main characters are Gemma and Aaron - Gem is a young lady in her A Level year at college with a part time café job and a large group of brilliant friends. Aaron is a couple of years older and a charming young man who makes Gemma feel loved, special and secure. But is Aaron as wonderful as he appears to be?
The story was so well-written and the abuse conveyed so
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was such a necessary and important book that I think everyone should read whether they're a teenager or not. The author does such a great job of making such a major subject matter like abuse and toxic relationships real yet still readable.

The story revolves around Gemma a typical teenage girl who loves country music and singing. Then she meets Aaron a cute older boy and of course, they fall in love however Aaro
☼ Sarah ☼
For an outsider looking in, it's very easy to say, "Why don't you just break up with them?" or "The way they're treating you isn't right", but as I Hold Your Heart sets out to prove, for someone in an abusive relationship, it isn't that simple. The warning signs rarely appear as glaring red flags; they can sneak up on you slowly, before you realise there's a problem.

In this book, we follow sixteen-year-old Gemma as she meets a boy, Aaron, who seems nothing short of perfect--but, of course, we a
Heather Howarth
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book in one sitting and was utterly absorbed by the relationship between Gemma and Aaron. The story is told mostly from Gemma’s perspective and you see her fall in love with Aaron almost overnight. He takes over her life to the exclusion of everyone and everything else - almost without her realising it. He plays on her frustrations with her family in particular, isolates her from her friends and previous life and takes away her freedom. All done without her realising it as she is so ...more
Sophie Elaina
Jul 03, 2019 marked it as dnf
Shelves: owned-e-arcs
There’s something about the way this is written that’s annoying me so much. And the fact that I don’t like any of the characters is topping off how much I really don’t feel like reading this. There isn’t anything specifically wrong with the way this is written or what I’ve read so far, and the way I can see the plot going is going to broach important topics that should be talked about more but I just never feel like picking the book up and continuing. I think the fact that I’ve only just past a ...more
Leah Bain
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: YA Fiction Readers
Recommended to Leah by: Wildest Dreams
"We build through the new harmonies, locked into the moment together, and when we're finished there's that heartbeat stillness that tells you magic's been created."

As with many books from this book subscription, I feel like I am just outside the age range the book was aimed at. This meant it was a difficult to enjoy the earlier school-based scenes of the text and the immature dialogue within it.

With that being said, I loved the development of the relationship between Gemma and Aaron. The slow bu
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I hold your heart is a YA novel about a young women's experience of a controlling and abusive relationship. It was interesting to read this story from both Gemma and Aron's perspective and gave an insight into how an abusive relationship can form even at such a young age- right from the start of the relationship until the end, including many of the most common signs.
Books like this one are important for discussion around current issues and I feel that it achieved this in the way that Karen had
Kate Henderson
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely adored this book!!! It was written so well! One of THE BEST books I have ever read about ‘coercive control’ AND it’s a YA book. THIS is a perfect example of why you cannot diss YA!
Not only was the writing itself superb,gripping and really easy to fly through but the actual overall plot was so real!
I urge absolutely everyone to read this! You will not be disappointed and you may even learn something!
I will now be reading all of The authors back catalogue! Love love love!!
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Karen is the author of the YA novels Countless, Skylarks and I Hold Your Heart. She wrote her first story about Bantra the mouse at the age of twelve, then put away the word processor until her first child was born when she was overtaken by the urge to write. Karen lives in Wiltshire with her family and is represented by Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge & White. ...more

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