Freaky Friday: The Heart Does Not Grow Back

Posted 7 November, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Freaky Friday: The Heart Does Not Grow BackThe Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini
Published by Macmillan on November 4th 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Black Humor, Coming of Age, Fiction, Literary, Science Fiction, Superheroes
Pages: 320

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE...Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise?

I have some mixed feelings about this book. The premise is unique, the voices of the characters are distinct, and Venturini makes some interesting and excellent thinking points about the human condition, grief, and loss. However, the first half of this book is a bit of a mess. Maybe it was me, or maybe it was the editing but for the first solid half of this book I had no idea where Venturini was going. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was ready to get the show on the road.

The first half of the book is Dale loafing about, generally feeling tortured and something resembling survivors guilt. The story between Dale’s catastrophe and the main action of the book meanders along for much too long. 

However, once Dale and Mack come up with an ingenious 21st century plan on how Dale can put his powers to use (and perhaps find redemption) the story takes on a life of its own and is becomes something more than a ‘superhero’ novel (which this reader finds to be a bit of a mischaracterization of the genre that this book falls into) and becomes a deeper look at all the deep and important things that it seems the Venturini set out to explore. 

If you’re unsure about this book definitely check out Guiltless Reader’s review here!

What do you think, Reader? Does the synopsis sound appealing to you? What’s your favorite superpower? (Mine’s China, get it?)

I’m excited to be participating in the tour for Fred Venturini’s The Heart Does Not Grow Back, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here and the other fabulous posts that have been written on it! 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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