STARRED REVIEW
August 08, 2017

A teen takes a Faustian bargain

By Emily Lloyd-Jones
Dee Moreno’s way out from the confines of her miserable home life is a full academic scholarship to a prestigious Portland boarding school. When the scholarship funds are cut, Dee gets desperate enough to cut a deal with a demon. Or, daemon, as he prefers to be called. The general terms are one wish fulfilled in exchange for one body part, which, in Dee’s case, turns out to be her heart.
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Dee Moreno’s way out from the confines of her miserable home life is a full academic scholarship to a prestigious Portland boarding school. When the scholarship funds are cut, Dee gets desperate enough to cut a deal with a demon. Or, daemon, as he prefers to be called. The general terms are one wish fulfilled in exchange for one body part, which, in Dee’s case, turns out to be her heart.

Actually, the agreement is a lease on her heart, to be returned after two years of service to the daemon. Thus Dee becomes the fourth member of the Deamon’s Portland Troop of Heartless, already comprised of no-nonsense Cora, physics genius Cal and James, a scruffily cute artist. Dee is quickly introduced to the drill: The deamon summons the heartless to enter “voids,” where their mission is to set off explosives and then race for the exit before the void implodes. Ironically, now that Dee is officially heartless, she begins having romantic feelings for James, who is patient and sweet with her reticence.

Emily Lloyd-Jones conjures a just-right balance of creepiness and pathos in her imaginative construct of demons and their interactions with human beings. The depiction of Dee’s family life could use more substance so that readers are able to empathize with her drastic decision. The characters, while diverse in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation, are functional rather than fully developed. But readers looking for an interesting paranormal twist will enjoy this inventive story.

 

Diane Colson is the Library Director at City College in Gainesville, Florida.

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The Hearts We Sold

The Hearts We Sold

By Emily Lloyd-Jones
Little, Brown
ISBN 9780316314596

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