Here’s To: Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary YA, Romance, Historical, Retelling

Pages: Hardcover, 272 pages

Published: Amulet Books, 1 May 2010

Source: Copy borrowed from a friend

'Anxious Hearts

“Evangeline,” he repeated, calling at a whisper. “Evangeline.” He was not calling that she may hear, he was calling that somehow her soul might know that he was devoted entirely to her, only to her. “Evangeline, I will find you.”

Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

A dreamlike, loose retelling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous love poem “Evangeline,” Anxious Hearts tells an epic tale of unrequited love and the hope that true love can be reunited.

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Tucker Shaw, who has been featured on the Today show, is the author of Everything I Ate and many popular books for teens, including Confessions of a Backup Dancer. His previous Amulet novel, The Girls, was a twist on Clare Booth Luce’s classic play The Women. He lives in Denver, where he is a food editor for the Denver Post.

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A page turner all the way to the end.

Anxious Hearts have this gorgeous cover and nobody can help themselves not to expect a lot. I didn’t really get the cover though. It was pretty much unrelated to what happened.

Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I was definitely chasing the ending, but there wasn’t much to chase to begin with. It was like chasing where the prolgue ends. But this book already has that. And an epilogue too.

Anyway, what you need to know is that the POV changes between Eva and Gabriel. It’s pretty simple: Eva and Gabe are from the present and Evangeline and Gabriel are from two hundred years ago. They have a very similar story to each other.

Now let’s move on to breaking down the points:

The story shifted a little bit too much to have a complete understanding on what was happening. The characters didn’t really evolve and time moved a little bit too fast.

I wasn’t able to have a real connection with any of the characters. Maybe just aside from Ada.

The friendship with Louise didn’t really stand out too.

The romance was hazy. Especially between Eva and Gabe. They moved too fast and no sweet stuff happened either. It was all on words, the parts I’d consider sweet, romantic. Gabriel and Evangeline’s was much better and felt more real.

Nothing was real. No base. No roots. No whatever.

On the bright side, anyway,

It started out real well. I guess at some page, we took a wrong turn and well, it has become whatever it is now.

The writing was fair.

I love the physical book. Very pretty. Especially the pages during the alteration of the point of views. I love them.

Overall, it was good. Nothing stands out too much. In the end, a lot of my questions were left unanswered. There was a problem with the characters and nothing much about the plot. Maybe it’s with the change of points of views that we have took a wrong turn, after all. Nothing grew. I was anxious (pun not intended) to find out what was happening. At first I didn’t want to see Gabriel and Evangeline but then they faded a bit too. Just when Eva and Gabe’s story is finally building up, the POV will change and everything’s ruined. The next time we read in Eva’s POV again, it’s not much anymore.

This is the kind of book that I wouldn’t recommend on a whim, and definitely not the first book that will come to mind if someone asks me for a recommendation. Something to be read at your own risk.


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