When My Heart Joins the Thousand
Obviously I’m not what most people would describe as happy. But that has nothing to do with anything. Happiness is not a priority. Survival is.Alvie Fitz doesn’t fit in, and she doesn’t care. She’s spent years swallowing meds and bad advice from doctors and social workers. Adjust, adapt. Pretend to be normal. It sounds so easy.If she can make it to her eighteenth birthday without any major mishaps, she’ll be legally emancipated. Free. But if she fails, she’ll become a ward of the state and be sent back to the group home.All she wants is to be left alone to spend time with her friend, Chance, the one-winged hawk at the zoo where she works. She can bide her time with him until her emancipation. Humans are overrated anyway. Then she meets Stanley, a boy who might be even stranger than she is—a boy who walks with a cane, who turns up every day with a new injury, whose body seems as fragile as glass. Without even meaning to, she finds herself getting close to him. But Alvie remembers what happened to the last person she truly cared about.Her past stalks her with every step, and it has sharp teeth. But if she can find the strength to face the enemy inside her, maybe she’ll have a chance at happiness after all.

When My Heart Joins the Thousand Details

TitleWhen My Heart Joins the Thousand
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherHarperTeen
ISBN-139780062656476
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Mental Health, Mental Illness

When My Heart Joins the Thousand Review

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    I want to preface this review by saying that I am not autistic, not do I suffer from the disability that Stanley suffers from, and I can only speak as an outsider looking in; however, any and all own-voice opinions and reviews would be welcomed and I would be happy to boost your review if you DM me or drop me a comment! Why did everyone act like it was my fault when the other kids bullied me? Why was I always the one who had to change? Going into a book with a romance between an autistic MC and I want to preface this review by saying that I am not autistic, not do I suffer from the disability that Stanley suffers from, and I can only speak as an outsider looking in; however, any and all own-voice opinions and reviews would be welcomed and I would be happy to boost your review if you DM me or drop me a comment! Why did everyone act like it was my fault when the other kids bullied me? Why was I always the one who had to change? Going into a book with a romance between an autistic MC and her disabled love interest is the sort of thing that makes me feel very wary – will it be good, authentic rep? Will these characters be painted positively? Will I find myself knee-deep in tropes and cheap shots? Again, while I can’t speak from experience, I found myself feeling really pleased by the rep in this book and the way issues were handled. There were so many potential tropes that the author cleanly subverted, and I was so invested in this story and these characters that I genuinely did not want it to end. Happiness is not a priority. Survival is. Staying sane is. Pointing out that I’m not happy is like pointing out to a starving homeless man that he doesn’t have a sensible retirement plan. It might be true, but it’s entirely beside the point. As a child, Alvie was diagnosed with Asperger’s, and was told that she had to “get better”, or she would never get anywhere in life. Now, she’s 17 years old and determined to prove the world wrong, and wow, is she fierce. Her commitment to taking care of herself would be noble enough in any teen, but for her, the stakes are so much higher, and her fear of being put into a group home broke my heart. In fact, it was the very first thing in this story that was eye-opening for me: empathizing with the thought that someone could be threatened with having their freedoms taken away from them, just because they don’t interact with the world in what we’ve deemed as “socially acceptable”. Technically my condition doesn’t even exist anymore; if I ever go back to the doctor, they’ll presumably have to find some other label to stick on me. The specific words don’t matter. I’ll always be this way. Despite the fact that so much of the story is heavy, focusing on Alvie’s determination to simply survive through each day, her commentary on the world around her is refreshing and, often, really mood-lifting. She loves animals dearly and has some particularly wide words on nature as a whole, but also, she manages to point out how people, in their day-to-day lives, do so many strange or unnecessary things – whose authority was it to deem them as “normal”? The idea that autistic people don’t feel compassion is just an ugly stereotype, but it’s a viewpoint I’ve encountered even from some professionals, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. More than anything, though, I loved how kind Alvie is. She is so concerned with the world around her, and though she doesn’t always know how to express them, her intentions are always in the right place. Especially when she meets Stanley, the young man with the cane who comes to visit her park everyday. As she grows to know and care for him, Alvie cares more about his well-being than anything else, and she blooms into this incredibly loving and nurturing young woman, even when it means sacrificing her own happiness. Nothing about me is easy. If you asked me to choose who I loved more between Alvie and Stanley, to be honest, I don’t think I could. He matches Alvie’s compassion, but he’s terrified of not being “enough” – of being unable to protect her, or to be her equal, due to his own disability and mental health. Not only does he suffer from a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta – or, as he says, “a fancy way of saying my bones break easily” – but we also learn that familial abuse has given him terrible PTSD. We’ll come back to that in a moment, but it leads me to my next point: Does he assume that just because I’m different, I’m incapable of having a sexual relationship with anyone? That I’m unable even to feel desire? This story focuses on an incredible amount of sex, and the way that it is handled made me want to cry tears of joy, because it is absolutely the kind of rep that we need in YA/NA books. There is a tremendous amount of talk surrounding consent (especially due to Alvie’s touch aversions and sensitivity to stimulus), and the characters are unafraid to sit down and talk about what is or isn’t comfortable for them. There’s a lot of sex positivity regarding one night stands and casual sex, but there’s also mention of how emotional sex can be between two individuals who care deeply for one another.Both characters are virgins, and there are conversations about how terrifying that first time can be, or how toxic masculinity affects young men who don’t have sex immediately after puberty. There’s just so much important content about sex in this book, including the fact that, in this m/f couple, the guy is the one who’s “not ready”, and the girl is the one who has to tamp down her carnal desires and be patient. I just loved their whole relationship so much, for so many reasons, that I couldn’t even list them all here. “When the ones who hurt you are the people who love you most… no one ever tells you how you’re supposed to deal with that.” Finally, the last major topic Steiger addresses: abuse, in many different forms, as well as the guilt that can come with being an autistic or disabled individual with loved ones who don’t share your struggles. There is a lot of talk about feeling like a burden, or feeling “not good enough”, and Alvie shares a few flashbacks to painful moments and things her mother said to her, as well as an incredibly traumatic experience her mother put her through as a preteen. Despite all of these focuses on the negative outcomes of Alvie and Stanley’s respective family problems, the theme throughout the book remains the same: it should never be an autistic, mentally ill, or disabled person’s responsibility to feel guilty, useless, or broken. Instead, it should be society’s responsibility to learn how to offer compassion, empathy, accessibility, and understanding.When My Heart Joins the Thousand isn’t your typical contemporary, and these aren’t your typical YA characters. This story is so unique, and so precious, and so heavy, and so special. I am so, so happy to have had the opportunity to read it, and I sincerely hope that Steiger writes more important work like this in the future.Content warnings: ableism, PTSD, mental illness, assault, suicide, abuse, homophobia.All quotes are taken from an unfinished ARC and may differ from the finished product. Thank you so much to HarperTeen for granted me this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
    more
  • Sam Kozbial
    January 1, 1970
    Whoa! That was gut punch. Some tears were shed, but by the end, they were happy tears. Full review to follow.*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    When My Heart Joins The Thousand offers a beautiful insight into growing up and learning to accept your self.Alvie has only another year until she will legally be free - free from fear of being returned to the foster care system, free to continue living on her own terms, free from the continual assessment of others as seeing her as something different, something other. When a young man enters the sphere of her daily routine she is at first shaken, but then takes up the opportunity to prove that When My Heart Joins The Thousand offers a beautiful insight into growing up and learning to accept your self.Alvie has only another year until she will legally be free - free from fear of being returned to the foster care system, free to continue living on her own terms, free from the continual assessment of others as seeing her as something different, something other. When a young man enters the sphere of her daily routine she is at first shaken, but then takes up the opportunity to prove that even she can enjoy the closeness of others. But her relationship with Stanley is nothing like she imagined. As Alvie faces the challenges of living alone, fights for her freedom, and faces her past, it is her relationship with Stanley that prompts her to reassess everything she knows about herself and love.Well, that is one intense prologue. Talk about getting thrown right into the story. Actually, intense is the perfect descriptor for this book. It tackles so many important themes in an upfront and honest way. It is intense in an unputdownable way and I greatly enjoyed reading Alvie's story.Alvie is a wonderful narrator and main character - she is the driving force behind this book and the reason it is so powerful. It is her story, told in her way. Alvie has Aspergers. At times, it defines who she believes she is and what she can do, but this book focuses on her journey of seeing herself outside of her diagnosis and outside of her past. When My Heart Joins the Thousand captures all the complexities and ups and downs as Alvie fights to become emancipated, as she faces the continued challenge of others' judgment or expectations, as she struggles to balance steady employment and housing, and as she meets Stanley and assesses how this will change the routine of her life. Alvie is a unique, individual, and deeply layered character - perfect for this character-driven novel.Alvie and Stanley's relationship is both heartbreaking and incredibly sweet. Neither of them has anyone else on whom to lean. They need each other and yet they are both so afraid of hurting each other. Their romance may not have a conventional start, in fact, there may not be anything 'standard' about their relationship, but instead it is authentic and incredibly moving. I loved Stanley. Loved his deeply caring nature. Loved his patience with Alvie as she both pushes him away and pulls him close. As Alvie slowly learns more about him and his story, it was so easy to fall in love with him. When My Heart Joins The Thousand is suitable for a very mature young adult audience. I would actually classify it as new adult fiction, due in part because of the frequent and detailed sexual content, but also because the challenges the characters face are very much relevant for an older young adult reader. That said, I think it is the perfect addition to this crossover category, offering a much-needed, well-considered, and powerful approach to issues surrounding coming of age, relationships, and independence.When My Heart Joins The Thousand is a powerful novel that captures the anguish of being different and the magic that comes from being accepted for who you are. Romance, self-discover, and triumph over emotional trauma combine in this heartfelt novel. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library.
    more
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    This book did an excellent job of making me care about its characters. Alvie is a 17-year old girl with Asperger's, and her journey is one that is emotional and awful and beautiful. I so rooted for her!I'm so glad that books like this one and TV shows like Atypical are depicting those on the autism scale who seem often misunderstood and mistreated. It feels like a small glimpse into their lives, and I appreciated this book's unflinching look there.This is great story that truly moved me - I hope This book did an excellent job of making me care about its characters. Alvie is a 17-year old girl with Asperger's, and her journey is one that is emotional and awful and beautiful. I so rooted for her!I'm so glad that books like this one and TV shows like Atypical are depicting those on the autism scale who seem often misunderstood and mistreated. It feels like a small glimpse into their lives, and I appreciated this book's unflinching look there.This is great story that truly moved me - I hope everyone picks it up.
    more
  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    Well that was equal parts beautiful and harrowing. As all good YA is, I suppose. That said, it's the third book I've read in 36 hours with a female first-person protagonist suffering from social anxiety or mental illness or autism or etc. I need a break.
    more
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    MY RATING: 4/5 STARSI received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book guys. This book made ripped me open, exposed the ugliest bits of me, made me cry and laugh, made me feel, and made me everything. My Heart Joins the Thousand has got to be my favourite read this entire year so far and I know 2018 just started but I know it'll be a top favourite book of mine by the time December comes along. My Heart Joins the Thousand tells the story of Alvie, a girl who has aspe MY RATING: 4/5 STARSI received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book guys. This book made ripped me open, exposed the ugliest bits of me, made me cry and laugh, made me feel, and made me everything. My Heart Joins the Thousand has got to be my favourite read this entire year so far and I know 2018 just started but I know it'll be a top favourite book of mine by the time December comes along. My Heart Joins the Thousand tells the story of Alvie, a girl who has asperger's syndrome. After the tragic death of her mother, Alvie chooses to be legally emancipated and to live life by herself. She has a job at the local zoo, rents out an apartment by herself, makes ham sandwiches, and occasionally people watch in the park nearby. Her life is routine and she likes it that way. She keeps to herself so when a boy, close to her age, catches her eye, she's intrigued by him. Who is this boy that is sitting on the bench in her park and invading her space? Alvie and Stanley soon become friends after a series of email exchanges and phone chats. They're both different. Stanley suffers a rare condition where his bones are so fragile, he can break anything from a simple fall. They are two people who don't quite fit in society. They're outsiders that find each other. I loved everything about this book because it was emotionally so raw. Readers will have a chance of experiencing everything Alvie experiences. I felt like I was her when she suffered anxiety attacks or when she didn't know how to react when other people said something out of the ordinary or acted differently. There were so many times I suffered bookish hangovers because I was in Alvie's mindset. It was refreshing to read something that really sucked me under. The backstory of Alvie was so much more complicated than I originally thought. It touches upon sensitive topics that are taboo and hard to discuss and understand. I loved it.The problem with this book is that the story takes place in kind of a perfect world. In real life, I highly doubt two teenagers can make enough from a job that pays the minimum wage to afford rent for two apartments respectively without any help from a roommate. Did I mention that Stanley doesn't even work? The world felt isolated. It felt like AJ Steiger put a dome on these two characters. Furthermore, there was kind of some instalove. I'm not going to lie. Alvie is intrigued by Stanley by a mere glance. But it's not so bad because they did exchange emails for weeks so I guess that's some time. Also, I found it really hard to keep track of time in this book. I didn't know if 3 weeks passed or 2 months passed in this book. It just kind of springs up on you that so and so have been chilling with themselves all this time. MY RECOMMENDATION PLEASE READ THIS BOOK GUYS
    more
  • Dayla
    January 1, 1970
    This was so ridiculous adorable, but heart wrenching. RTC!
  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a new essential addition to any contemporary fan's library. Alvie is an independent girl with Asperger's who is in the process of seeking emancipation to stay out of a group home. She knows everything about animals, and her favorite book is Watership Down. Asperger's and autism in girls and women is something that many don't seem to understand or even know about at all, and is often left undiagnosed. I am thrilled that this book not only exists, but portrays one story of many that c This book is a new essential addition to any contemporary fan's library. Alvie is an independent girl with Asperger's who is in the process of seeking emancipation to stay out of a group home. She knows everything about animals, and her favorite book is Watership Down. Asperger's and autism in girls and women is something that many don't seem to understand or even know about at all, and is often left undiagnosed. I am thrilled that this book not only exists, but portrays one story of many that can be relatable to some, as well as a learning experience for those who are unfamiliar.
    more
  • LaRonda (Flying Paperbacks)
    January 1, 1970
    Full RTC closer to release date.Do you know when the last time I cried happy tear? It's only happened once... Favorite book of 2018 don't @me .*I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review*
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fast read but very sad with all the issues in this book. two outcasts find love with each other. One has bones that break easily and one has asperger's . I liked that the romance happened slowly and loved that alvie had support through the social worker. She had a very rough life and didn't really get the love that she needed. I now need to read watership down since this book was brought many times.
    more
Write a review