Heartwood Box
A dark, romantic YA suspense novel with an SF edge and plenty of drama, layering the secrets we keep and how appearances can deceive, from the New York Times bestselling author.In this tiny, terrifying town, the lost are never found. When Araceli Flores Harper is sent to live with her great-aunt Ottilie in her ramshackle Victorian home, the plan is simple. She'll buckle down and get ready for college. Life won't be exciting, but she'll cope, right?Wrong. From the start, things are very, very wrong. Her great-aunt still leaves food for the husband who went missing twenty years ago, and local businesses are plastered with MISSING posters. There are unexplained lights in the woods and a mysterious lab just beyond the city limits that the locals don't talk about. Ever. When she starts receiving mysterious letters that seem to be coming from the past, she suspects someone of pranking her or trying to drive her out of her mind. To solve these riddles and bring the lost home again, Araceli must delve into a truly diabolical conspiracy, but some secrets fight to stay buried...

Heartwood Box Details

TitleHeartwood Box
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherTor Teen
ISBN-139780765397645
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Heartwood Box Review

  • Candace Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked the author’s Razorland series but I just couldn’t get into this one. Maybe because I don’t read a lot of mystery stuff? But her writing was just as good as her other books!
  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    I loved everything about this cover and synopsis and I’m pretty much here for everything Ann writes. I think I liked Araceli? She’s a little rough around the edges, but for the most part I liked being in her head. She’s sarcastic and strong. There are a lot of characters in this story and I’m not sure if that’s good or not. No one really felt fleshed out...if that was on purpose to show how Araceli was an outsider, it was effective. Plot wise, it okay. There are loads of moving parts and plot th I loved everything about this cover and synopsis and I’m pretty much here for everything Ann writes. I think I liked Araceli? She’s a little rough around the edges, but for the most part I liked being in her head. She’s sarcastic and strong. There are a lot of characters in this story and I’m not sure if that’s good or not. No one really felt fleshed out...if that was on purpose to show how Araceli was an outsider, it was effective. Plot wise, it okay. There are loads of moving parts and plot threads and it was overwhelming and a little boring at the same time. I was intrigued by the story, but never really captivated. Overall, it was an interesting idea, but it felt like there was too much of something and not enough of something else. **Huge thanks to Tor Teen for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Marta Cox
    January 1, 1970
    This book was most definitely a surprise. The author clearly decided to mess with her readers heads and mix more than one genre here so if it’s YA paranormal mixed with time travel and suspense that intrigues you then pick this up. The author herself has likened it to Stranger Things meets the Lake House and I couldn’t agree more. The story revolves around Araceli a young mixed race girl staying with her aunt in a town where people keep disappearing . The mystery apparently involves strange ligh This book was most definitely a surprise. The author clearly decided to mess with her readers heads and mix more than one genre here so if it’s YA paranormal mixed with time travel and suspense that intrigues you then pick this up. The author herself has likened it to Stranger Things meets the Lake House and I couldn’t agree more. The story revolves around Araceli a young mixed race girl staying with her aunt in a town where people keep disappearing . The mystery apparently involves strange lights in the woods but there’s also a creepy vibe in the aunts house so when a friend is ‘taken’ Araceli isn’t going to ignore it . Now here is when the author tricks us as she has also introduced a mysterious box that enables Araceli to communicate with a First World War soldier. See what I mean ? This book is a puzzle for the reader to solve with elements of the Philadelphia experiment alongside our intrepid heroine pitting herself against secretive and dangerous military types. Araceli most definitely leads the charge but the supporting characters just never really felt fleshed out to me. Plus the surprise at the end didn’t really feel right to my mind but I did like that everything got wrapped up neatly.This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    I read Like Never and Always last year and didn't think it could get weirder than that.  But Heartwood Box might have beat it for me.  Ann Aguirre writes the strangest books and I really like how her mind works.This book is such a mix of genres.  It has a mystery, it's a thriller at times, there is some sci fi, some historical fiction, ghost story, and some romance.  I'll do my best to write what I can without giving anything away.Araceli moves in with her great aunt for her senior year.  She us I read Like Never and Always last year and didn't think it could get weirder than that.  But Heartwood Box might have beat it for me.  Ann Aguirre writes the strangest books and I really like how her mind works.This book is such a mix of genres.  It has a mystery, it's a thriller at times, there is some sci fi, some historical fiction, ghost story, and some romance.  I'll do my best to write what I can without giving anything away.Araceli moves in with her great aunt for her senior year.  She usually travels with her parents, but they're going to Venezuela and they want Araceli safe.  They also think it will help her to go to college in the US.  Things are odd right away.  Araceli's aunt, Ottilie, is living in a very old fashioned house.  Stepping into it felt like stepping back in time.  Everything is old and a bit run down.  Ottilie's husband disappeared twenty years earlier.  She stays with the hopes that he'll come home.  Ottilie feels like he's near and even leaves food out for him every night.  Araceli quickly realizes that the house is strange and may be haunted.  There are cold spots and a light turns on by itself.  It turns out that the town is full of missing posters.  People have been disappearing for about twenty years, never to be seen again.  The warning is to stay away from the ghost lights in the woods.  Never follow them or you won't come back.  Araceli finds a box at her Aunt's with an old letter hidden in the bottom.  It was written pre world one by a boy named Oliver.  On her first day of school, Araceli is given an assignment to write a letter to someone.  She decides to write to Oliver and places the letter in the box.  When she goes to get it out in the morning, it's gone.  Later, a new letter appears from Oliver.  He replied to her.  At first, Araceli thinks someone is playing a joke.  But she starts having weird dreams of a boy she knows is Oliver.  He is the only one that can see her in the dreams.  Araceli and Oliver continue to write while Araceli decides to research more about WW1.  When Araceli's friend disappears, she decides to take action.  Araceli believes this research compound is involved, but she needs to find a way in.  Her friend and neighbor, Logan, helps her get close and she sees how secure it is.  In fact, they are chased away by security.  This is when Araceli realizes that these people will kill to keep their secrets.I loved the group of friends and Araceli's aunt.  Logan was a favorite of mine.  So much happens after this that I can't mention, but it was fast paced and hard to put down.  While there were some issues with the older communication (it didn't always feel authentic), the author explains why she used less slang in the author's note.  I gave this book 4  1/2 stars (rounded up to 5).  Thank you to Tor Teen for sending me a copy for review.Warnings for parental abuse, racism, and unknown disappearances, even of young children.  
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  • Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    Full Review on The Candid Cover3.5 StarsHeartwood Box by Ann Aguirre is a book that I picked up unsure of what to expect. It is thrilling and mysterious, and it blends multiple genres to create something that I have never seen before. I enjoyed the main character and her determination to makes things right in her new town, however the ending didn’t work out for me, and it impacted my enjoyment of the book. This is still a fantastic read, but I would have enjoyed a different outcome.This book tak Full Review on The Candid Cover3.5 StarsHeartwood Box by Ann Aguirre is a book that I picked up unsure of what to expect. It is thrilling and mysterious, and it blends multiple genres to create something that I have never seen before. I enjoyed the main character and her determination to makes things right in her new town, however the ending didn’t work out for me, and it impacted my enjoyment of the book. This is still a fantastic read, but I would have enjoyed a different outcome.This book takes place in a mysterious town in which people suddenly disappear. The main character finds a wooden box with a letter inside and decides to write back as part of a school assignment, but she ends up receiving a reply from a boy named Oliver. As it turns out, Oliver is a soldier in World War I. I enjoyed how the book is a mix of genres, from contemporary to sci fi to thriller. As well, it is fast paced, and the writing style is very suspenseful. This is such a gripping read that I had trouble putting down.❀ CAPTIVATING MAIN CHARACTERAraceli is an enjoyable character, and I liked how she is always willing to take action. She is brave and truly wants the best for people, and she uses her communication link to the past to help out the soldiers. For instance, she is able to send battle information which in turn saves the lives of many. As well, I found Araceli’s voice to be captivating and realistic for her age, which is an important aspect for me. Ultimately, I found her character to be likeable and believable.❀ DRAMATIC ENDINGTo me, this book would have been around 4 stars, or even 4.5, but the ending didn’t satisfy me at all. I can’t go into details without spoiling, but the way the romance works out and the whole multi-generational thing take a wild turn. I appreciate the efforts made to tie everything together, and I can see some people enjoying the end, however, I was a little bit uncomfortable with the result. Normally, the ending of a book wouldn’t influence my opinion too much, but this case was quite dramatic.Heartwood Box is a unique story that blends multiple genres. I loved the concept as well as the main character, but the ending frustrated me and heavily impacted my overall enjoyment of the book. I would still recommend this one to those who are looking for a mysterious and fresh novel.
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  • Shelley
    January 1, 1970
    *Source* Publisher*Genre* Young Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction*Rating* 3.0*Thoughts*Ann Aguirre's Heartwood Box is a cross between fantasy, and science fiction, and speculation. Thanks to her parents spending time in Venezuela covering a story, because why not? Araceli Flores Harper is sent to her great-Aunt Ottilie's home on Long Island to spend the summer before she attends her final year of High School. Ottilie's husband disappeared 20 years ago. She still lives in the run down Victorian ho *Source* Publisher*Genre* Young Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction*Rating* 3.0*Thoughts*Ann Aguirre's Heartwood Box is a cross between fantasy, and science fiction, and speculation. Thanks to her parents spending time in Venezuela covering a story, because why not? Araceli Flores Harper is sent to her great-Aunt Ottilie's home on Long Island to spend the summer before she attends her final year of High School. Ottilie's husband disappeared 20 years ago. She still lives in the run down Victorian home she's always lived in. But, that's not the real story. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...
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  • Caryn {iam.caryn}
    January 1, 1970
    Aguirre herself tweeted that Heartwood Box is “Stranger Things meets The Lake House”. There’s really no better way to explain this book.I previously read Aguirre’s book The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things and I believe that it was the better book that I’ve read by her. My enjoyment of that book was why I was interested in reading this one. While Heartwood Box has an interesting premise, the execution wasn’t what I had hoped for.There were many instances when the conversational scenes were slopp Aguirre herself tweeted that Heartwood Box is “Stranger Things meets The Lake House”. There’s really no better way to explain this book.I previously read Aguirre’s book The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things and I believe that it was the better book that I’ve read by her. My enjoyment of that book was why I was interested in reading this one. While Heartwood Box has an interesting premise, the execution wasn’t what I had hoped for.There were many instances when the conversational scenes were sloppy and lacked depth and connection. I’ll be honest, if this had just been a regular contemporary I would have DNFed it. But the mystery and the weirdness had me hooked enough that I had to find out what was going on.But even saying that, all of the different oddities left the story feeling diffuse. Is it a contemporary book? Is it a sci-fi book? Is it a time travel book? Is it a mystery book? Sometimes having your book consist of so many different aspects can make it wonderful and wildly entertaining. But it just didn’t work here. It left me feeling disjointed by the lack of flow for 75% of the book.But the last 25% was where the book got good. Lots of action, explanations and heart. All of the oddness finally came together to fit and make sense. It was what I had been expecting and made me wish the whole book had been that enjoyable. It was the saving grace of the book really, and made it worth the read after all.
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  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Laura Erne“This is where hope goes to die.”I knew after just one sentence that this book was going to be good. It kicks off with the main character, Araceli, and her perspective is hilariously pessimistic. Her clearly sarcastic observations help lighten the very dark things that seem to happen in this new yet, seemingly old town.“I like them all more when they accept that without asking a lot of questions. If we click, I’ll tell them about my life, Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Laura Erne“This is where hope goes to die.”I knew after just one sentence that this book was going to be good. It kicks off with the main character, Araceli, and her perspective is hilariously pessimistic. Her clearly sarcastic observations help lighten the very dark things that seem to happen in this new yet, seemingly old town.“I like them all more when they accept that without asking a lot of questions. If we click, I’ll tell them about my life, but I hate giving personal details for no other reason than to satisfy the curiosity of strangers. Any info I divulge should come by choice.”This is coming from a teenager and sometimes I seemed to forget that while I was reading because she’s so grown up. She thinks with years of experience that she can’t possibly have, which makes her wise and smart. Both Araceli’s thoughts and dialogue seemed to suit that of a teenager, but in her case, she lacked the naiveté usually associated with someone young. She was hilarious to read and everything seemed to flow very naturally. Her nature and demeanour seemed really relatable too which is always a great quality in a main character as it helps incorporate yourself as the reader in their story. Brilliant!This girl swears like a sailor too. Cliché I know, but it worked since she’s a teenager and most swear. Ann Aguirre used it to create extremely impressive, conversational tones in the main character. I think this really elevated something that could have been just mediocre to something great with substance! I like how she wasn’t afraid to add swear words because it is a YA novel. I found it more genuine because she swore and it added to the authenticity of the whole piece. They weren’t thrown in there just to be edgy either, they had a purpose and that helped establish the main character. Bravo!I am a history buff so when I found out that Aguirre incorporated elements that included a cute and nervous soldier who doubles as a love interest from WWI, she had me sold. I kept reading on and on just to find out what would happen. It got quite addictive! And, if I must say, his scenes and nervous flirting were adorable! The way they spoke in the early 1900’s was definitely a swoon-worthy touch.For the longest time I thought the romance in here was flat. It seemed like the main character wasn’t interested in any entanglement, which made sense as her life was just upheaved and chucked into a new environment. But then the romance seemed to come to her making it feel a little unlikely. First with the Heartwood box, transporting her to Oliver in the amidst of World War I and then again with the prankster schoolmate, Logan, who she meets at her new school. I hated how much she brushed off Logan with disinterest and I didn’t really get it because her fixation on Oliver seemed really unrealistic (which it was) but it didn’t stop her falling head over heels for him. I came to like him too and didn’t care that it wouldn’t make for a happy ending but that did make me dread finishing the book because now I was hooked on a relationship that couldn’t work.All that being said, I finished the book having not thrown it across the room in anger or left it damp with tears. I think with the concept Ann Aguirre posed for this story set her up for a hard finish and I think all things considered, she did a marvellous job. It kept fans for both love interests (in my opinion) happy and the mix of mystery and science fiction came to a satisfying conclusion where all your questions seemed to be answered.“I’ll end up as a legendary cat lady with twenty-seven felines who eat me after I die.”Oops, did I forget that this was also filled with hilarious one liners like this one?This is definitely a book to get you out of a reading slump, the unfortunate downside to reading. I was worried at first about not liking this, but I think the very addition of the sci-fi-esque elements created an illusion to the mystery behind the town that fit with the plot. It didn’t leave the story with words I couldn’t pronounce or the heaviness of knowledge associated with science that would leave you confused and then feeling stupid. It was a light, fluffy novel that took a multitude of genres that entice a variety of readers and I think it was executed very well!I give it a 7/10 only because the romance made me a bit angry at times and the predictability of the town and the strange occurrences was a little disappointing in terms of a wow factor. Don’t get me wrong though, this was a great book and I look forward to reading more by Ann Aguirre because her writing and ability to create incredible thought and dialogue to her main character made this book flow well and that’s a good thing. There were hints of Outlander, dashes of Wayward Pines and creepy, eerie feelings that remind me of the movies, Boy and Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Us.I definitely recommend this to anyone who has an interest in history, lovers of romance, geeks who love science fiction, and of course to all you scaredy cats who love all things thriller/horror. This book had it all and I think there’s something for everyone here, so try it out! It might just be the thing to help you out of your slump!
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  • Jessica Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    I will be 100% honest. I bought this book because of the cover and because the description promised some major creep-factors. The plot starts off strong, setting up a small town with way too many missing people and a seemingly haunted, aging house, but everything that comes after falls flat. The story takes a long time to get going, and it turns into more of a love story than anything else. The secret lab and time travel aspect remind me a bit of Stranger Things, but with less interesting charac I will be 100% honest. I bought this book because of the cover and because the description promised some major creep-factors. The plot starts off strong, setting up a small town with way too many missing people and a seemingly haunted, aging house, but everything that comes after falls flat. The story takes a long time to get going, and it turns into more of a love story than anything else. The secret lab and time travel aspect remind me a bit of Stranger Things, but with less interesting characters and stakes. It is also hard to get onboard with these teens because a lot of what they say sounds scripted - like the characters have been told what to say... Two stars for trying to do something out of the ordinary, but not quite reaching the fullest potential.Side note: One of my biggest pet peeves is when covers do not accurately represent the book, and I feel totally duped by the cover.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    Ann consistently writes stories that are unputdownable, timely, and leave me waiting for her next book. Heartwood Box has the cover from a 90s horror/thriller and one of the most unique sci-fi mystery within. Absolutely loved this.
  • Amber (The Book Bratz)
    January 1, 1970
    The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz I really wasn't sure what I was expecting when I began to read Heartwood Box, but I think compared to the summary I was expecting something a lot different. I also am not the biggest contemporary fan. I love fantasy and science fiction and things with heavy world building. So it was a little different reading something that takes place in the real world. Heartwood Box also takes place in New York, so I was really intrigued with that aspect. T The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz I really wasn't sure what I was expecting when I began to read Heartwood Box, but I think compared to the summary I was expecting something a lot different. I also am not the biggest contemporary fan. I love fantasy and science fiction and things with heavy world building. So it was a little different reading something that takes place in the real world. Heartwood Box also takes place in New York, so I was really intrigued with that aspect. The only thing that got me through reading Heartwood Box was the need to know what the mystery behind the town was. Other then that there wasn't much. I wasn't really invested in the story or the characters. The biggest thing about Heartwood Box that sticks out to me that on the first page Araceli mentions how she took the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) to the small sleepy town in which her great aunt Ottilie lives. But later on in the book it is mentioned that this unnamed sleepy town is about a half hour away from Silver Lake, New York which is ALL the way upstate in New York. Which is nowhere near Long Island. 336 miles away to be exact and 6 hours away. So, you're probably like: "Amber what is the point of this?" Well, Araceli technically should be taking Amtrak to get to her aunt's town. The LIRR is strictly Long Island, it runs from Manhattan and all the way to Long Island's Eastern tip (Montauk.) Basically, there is no way that the LIRR got Araceli from JFK airport to her new home 6 hours upstate. This little bit just annoyed me because it is something that is easily looked up and over looked. But this is part of New York and how you get from point A to point B. I feel like in this aspect at least there wasn't research done. Now, you're like: "Amber, this really isn't a big deal." But it bothered me. I couldn't connect with Araceli. I found her to be whiny and a bit selfish. I don't know if this has to do with that I don't read contemporary often so I am not use to characters who actually act their age and are still in high school. But I found her immature and only out for herself. I also feel as if as a character I didn't really know her, I knew she moved around about once a year and her parents sent her to live with her aunt while the investigated civil unrest in Venezuela. But that is about it. The only part of the novel I really enjoyed was the mystery aspect. Why can't she go into the woods? What are the lights? Why are people dissapearing? Why are there people wearing bio-hazard suits in the woods of the town? I wanted the answers to these questions and that is why I kept reading on rather then straight up DNFing it. I hate writing negative book reviews, but I also know that I am not going to love every single book I read. I am not saying that I though Heartwood Box was horrible, but there are a lot of things that could have changed or worked differently. This book and I just didn't mesh well and that's all there is to it really.
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  • Jaye Berry
    January 1, 1970
    I won't fully review until closer to release date but this was okay, not what I was expecting at all. I think the cover and the summary just gave me a different vibe over what the book actually is and that was a shame. There were a lot of things in here I've seen before and I didn't really like the romance either. I don't think Ann Aguirre is a terrible writer or anything, this was just a miss for me.
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  • Kelsea
    January 1, 1970
    Have you ever encountered those stories, pieces of art, new foods, or other things that you weren’t sure about at first, but they slowly began to grow on you? This describes my experience with Heartwood Box. The weird thing is that this didn’t even happen while I was reading the book. It began to happen after I finished and thought about it. The story keeps coming back to me -- it’s the type that lingers. It’s an unusual tale and my instinct while reading it was to rate it 3 stars. When I finish Have you ever encountered those stories, pieces of art, new foods, or other things that you weren’t sure about at first, but they slowly began to grow on you? This describes my experience with Heartwood Box. The weird thing is that this didn’t even happen while I was reading the book. It began to happen after I finished and thought about it. The story keeps coming back to me -- it’s the type that lingers. It’s an unusual tale and my instinct while reading it was to rate it 3 stars. When I finished it, I thought 3.5 stars. And now that I’m writing my review days later, I’m tempted to give it 4 stars.Weird, right? This occasionally happens to me, but it’s pretty rare. Usually my rating holds or I want to downgrade it later (I know, I’m terrible). So as you can see, this one is a difficult one to rate and review. I think it’s because my feelings about each aspect of the book varied to such extremes.The Good:I enjoyed the pacing of the story, the creepy vibe, and the mystery itself, which kept me guessing throughout! Each time I had to put the book down, I looked forward to picking it back up. The MC is biracial and her inner commentary on how that affects her life, as well as her observations on how racism affected those around her, were thought-provoking. They were not the focus of the story, but they were well incorporated. As for the feeling of the book, Heartwood Box gave me Stranger Things vibes, in that it took place in a small town where weird things were happening, there were kids trying to solve larger mysteries, and the story dipped into multiple genres. This book was unusual and disconcerting, which was just what I hoped for from a creepy Tor Teen title!The Not-so-good:As for the parts I didn’t love… well, the romance did not work for me at all. I understood the reason the author included it in the story, but I didn’t find it believable. There were also parts of the story that felt a little too easy -- obstacles that probably should have been more difficult for the characters to overcome. And the MC’s parents felt like a vague afterthought than real people.In the end, the story left me plenty of food for thought. It’s enjoyable and it’s different. I can completely understand why some of the other early reviewers felt lukewarm about the book - like quite a few other Tor Teen titles, it’s a tale with a really specific audience, though it would be hard for me to define precisely who that audience might be. I think it’s worth experiencing for yourself -- just know going in that there is a LOT in this story, so even if not everything clicks for you, there’s a good chance that something in it will pique your interest!Free advanced copy provided by Tor Teen through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Darcy
    January 1, 1970
    This one started out slow for me. Araceli was a fish out of water as she arrived in town and knew something was up. Between the letters and the missing people things were weird. I was glad that Araceli finally started to confide in people, but that seemed to make things worse. Finally Araceli and her friends took action. It was here that things went a bit over the top, from the misfit band of teens fighting to fix things to Araceli and her falling "in love" with Oliver. I saw the twist at the en This one started out slow for me. Araceli was a fish out of water as she arrived in town and knew something was up. Between the letters and the missing people things were weird. I was glad that Araceli finally started to confide in people, but that seemed to make things worse. Finally Araceli and her friends took action. It was here that things went a bit over the top, from the misfit band of teens fighting to fix things to Araceli and her falling "in love" with Oliver. I saw the twist at the end coming.
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  • Lil_socks
    January 1, 1970
    First off, huge thanks to you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for giving me an arc of the book to readI was really excited to read this book as the mysterious and time traveling aspects were what caught my attention almost immediately when I read the synopsis. But then, I actually read it and I'm sad to say that I was disappointed. This letdown mainly stemmed from how the story was told and how it played out. Heartwood Box Follows Araceli, A POC characters who move to A small subtly racist tone in New First off, huge thanks to you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for giving me an arc of the book to readI was really excited to read this book as the mysterious and time traveling aspects were what caught my attention almost immediately when I read the synopsis. But then, I actually read it and I'm sad to say that I was disappointed. This letdown mainly stemmed from how the story was told and how it played out. Heartwood Box Follows Araceli, A POC characters who move to A small subtly racist tone in New York not too far from New York City. She moves here to live with her great aunt because her parents are both Journalists working in the middle east in the middle of a war. so it makes sense why they had her move. That's about the only thing that makes sense as though dan in a good way, well missing people aren't really good. Then there's the totally off limits lab out in the letter coming for a slider fight n the first war.Like said before there’ s a good story here, but the way it’s told ruined it for me. To simply put it there’s a lot going on in this book but seemingly not enough time to go into any detail. This makes things to me seem like they've been tacked on or not fully developed. this includes characters, certain scenes that have just been sort of glossed over, and major plot points just there with little explanations. The later of which becomes more prevalent near the end of the book.I think that is this book or even made int a series then it would be great because then the author would have time to delve into everything instead of just leaving things as they were.
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  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    January 1, 1970
    What an odd, odd story.There was so much happening, so many separate storylines that it had me confused. Was this sci fi? Was this contemporary? Was this a mystery? It felt a little all over the place...FRTC
  • Yolanda
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThank you to MacMillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this eArc.Heartwood Box is a mystery story that builds slowly in the beginning and packs a punch at the end with an ending that is somewhat bizarre but it works. I thought it was creative and different. My reaction was more like, what?……🤔While reading this book, I was wondering if this was a ghost story but some things didn’t add up especially when there are people going missing in this strange town. I 3.5 starsThank you to MacMillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this eArc.Heartwood Box is a mystery story that builds slowly in the beginning and packs a punch at the end with an ending that is somewhat bizarre but it works. I thought it was creative and different. My reaction was more like, what?……🤔While reading this book, I was wondering if this was a ghost story but some things didn’t add up especially when there are people going missing in this strange town. I mean if it was just haunted, why would people go missing? Also, this is the second book I’ve read this month with references to World War I! That’s pretty cool since most people are engrained in World War II history, so I like having the spotlight be on WWI.I enjoyed the diversity represented with the characters. Araceli is a strong young lady who grew up abroad in Central and South America, so she’s seen a lot of things, especially with parents who are investigative reporters. But this town is something different and she has a challenging time figuring things out.I thought the ending was a nice twist and a bit strange. But I still enjoyed it because the story is well written. It flowed nicely from a slow mystery, which took me a few days to get into and then it took a turn with full on action and time-travel in the last part of the book. Yes, it did that.Overall, I like this book! It’s not usually the type of genre I read but it was a nice change of pace.
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  • Annie Deo
    January 1, 1970
    Review originally posted at my blog.--This book caught my interest with that gorgeous cover and the blurb which per the author's pitch is Stranger Things meets The Lake House. I recently binge-watched season 3 of Stranger Things, I'm a massive fan, so those vibes got me excited, and I'm old enough to have watched The Lake House when it was released 13 (!!) years ago, which makes me feel decrepit as the main character notes "If my great-aunt knows about it, then it's probably pretty old."Unfortun Review originally posted at my blog.--This book caught my interest with that gorgeous cover and the blurb which per the author's pitch is Stranger Things meets The Lake House. I recently binge-watched season 3 of Stranger Things, I'm a massive fan, so those vibes got me excited, and I'm old enough to have watched The Lake House when it was released 13 (!!) years ago, which makes me feel decrepit as the main character notes "If my great-aunt knows about it, then it's probably pretty old."Unfortunately the sci-fi thriller conspiracies didn't mesh well with the time-crossed love story, with not enough attention given to either leading to both plots feeling inadequately developed in the story. The premise was excellent as I could see the bones of a great book here, which is why I kept reading even when I was tempted to give up, but it was frustrating to see the lack of sufficient follow-through on either of the main elements because it kept me from being emotionally invested. The Lake House aspect was particularly weak - our protagonist Araceli exchanges only a couple letters with Oliver, a soldier in World War I, before she's looking forward to hearing from him as the bright spot in her day (despite being mostly convinced that this is an elaborate hoax) and after a handful more, they're suddenly in love. It was completely unconvincing, which made Araceli's reckless decision to send intel to help Oliver even more idiotic - I could see how being in love would make you disregard the possible consequences to changing the timeline, but when I didn't even believe that love story, it made me feel even more detached and irritated with Araceli. In contrast, watching Araceli unravel the mystery of what was afflicting the town and investigating the secret lab in the woods was much more interesting and a compelling enough hook to keep me turning the page. I couldn't work the cause behind the supernatural phenomena or what exactly the shady scientists were up to and how it was all related, the author successfully bamboozled me there! I just wish that Araceli's circle of friends were more well-developed because I couldn't distinguish one from another - I normally worked out who they were from context when the group was hanging out and exchanging banter, but this obviously wasn't possible in the action sequences. The worst part is that Araceli had a best friend that she'd been communicating with online for years before coincidentally moving to her town and this built-in friendship was left to flounder instead of being given the page-time it deserved because Araceli's interactions with Logan, the boy next door, was prioritized instead! It made no sense to me that the girls were supposedly so close and excited to meet up in real life, but then Araceli had no plans to catch up with her as soon as she arrived in town - it felt like a plot hole that Araceli turned up for her first day of school only to find out it was a public holiday because Eunsoo didn't mention this for some reason when Araceli said she'd see her at school the next day! It seemed contrived just so that Araceli could meet Logan, which seems unnecessary as he lives right across the road from her.When it actually IS the first day of school, instead of arranging to meet at a landmark like the front gate or the library or something that stands out, Eunsoo simply tells her that she'll be wearing a black hoodie with their favorite band on it. Mobile phones DO exist in this book, but apparently not to facilitate friends catching up, even though that's the main function of a teenager's phone! It's a shame that Eunsoo was set up as a character who would be important at the start because she ended up figuring so little into the plot that she could've been removed altogether without affecting anything, which is unfortunately true for a few characters and plot elements in this book that were equally undeveloped.Overall, this wasn't for me, but the mystery aspect was fun and quite unique. I also appreciated Araceli being a biracial character and how this was subtly incorporated with micro-aggressions from the kids at school (intentional or not, like Logan mimicking her accent) and bonding with another girl over being the few POC in a predominantly white town. --Disclaimer: I received a digital copy free from Tor Teen via Netgalley for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I loved it! Araceli is staying in a small town in upstate NY with her great aunt Ottilie. Her parents are investigative journalists who report on dangerous situations and they did not want her with them for their assignment in Venezuela. Instead Araceli is to finish high school and take her SATs - the normal American teenage experience. But...Strange things happen in this town- there's many missing people (including Ottilie's husband Archibald), ghost lights in the woods, and ghostly presences e I loved it! Araceli is staying in a small town in upstate NY with her great aunt Ottilie. Her parents are investigative journalists who report on dangerous situations and they did not want her with them for their assignment in Venezuela. Instead Araceli is to finish high school and take her SATs - the normal American teenage experience. But...Strange things happen in this town- there's many missing people (including Ottilie's husband Archibald), ghost lights in the woods, and ghostly presences eating food and walking around in people’s houses. Also there’s Fairhaven Lab, which is surrounded by gates and guards with its staff handling highly classified experiments. She makes friends with class clown and abused neighbor Logan Reed as well as the only other students who are POCs in a mostly white school. The town as a shady history of racism and rumors of former Nazi training camps. Araceli tries to adjust to life there by joining the dance team and spending time with Logan, who has a crush on her. Araceli finds a Heartwood Box in her Great Aunt’s junk room- a box which she eventually uses to communicate with a World War I soldier named Oliver. At first, it is a fluke- she puts a homework assignment in the box and it disappears. Then a response from Oliver appears and Araceli begins to communicate with him, slowly falling in love with him while sending him treats, a necklace and information to help him survive in upcoming battles. (Around the same time, Logan is hit with ghost lights, disappears and no one remembers him, which is odd.) When her friend Eunsoo and her dad become the next ones in town to disappear, Araceli and her friends decide to investigate the lab to figure out what is going on. It turns out that everything is associated with the Heartwood Box. The Box was a prototype for a form of time travel called a "time slip." The lab has six boxes in the woods and people get caught in this time slips, so they are neither here nor in another time. With some assistance from two employees - Eunsoo's mom and Dr. Edward Perry, and using Araceli's Heartwood Box as a locator, the teenagers destroy the boxes in the woods but Araceli is captured by evil Dr. Sofia Bruner, granddaughter of the famous German spy. Dr. Bruner wants to perfect time travel so she can change the timeline. She wants Germany to win World War I thinking that it would be better for the world, not thinking of all of the damage that messing with the timeline would cause. While captured, Araceli uses her Heartwood Box to send two messages: one to Oliver to tell him to move on and be happy and to raise his children to be good people, and another to the original inventor of the Heartwood Box to tell him to destroy his prototype before people like Dr. Bruner can use it for evil purposes. Dr. Perry frees Araceli, they destroy the prototypes in the lab and she throws the Heartwood Box into the time slip. When she wakes up, everything is different - all of the missing people are back as if they had never been gone, there is no Fairhaven Lab, her best friend is now Miguel not Eunsoo, she's not on the dance team, her parents are on assignment in Antarctica, and no one remembers what happened. Dr. Perry shows up at her school - he remembers what happened but its fading. He wants her to check if she still has the Heartwood Box so that she can destroy it while he destroys the other early prototype, before it is erased from his memory. He agrees that this reality is completely different and Araceli tells him about the two last letters she sent in the Heartwood Box, which is probably the reason. Araceli goes home and the Heartwood Box is there. She has Logan take her to a junk yard to destroy it. She cries because Oliver is now lost to her and she won't know what happened to him. Logan takes her to his house, where his parents are now no longer abusive, and tells her that he likes her and that he has ever since he heard her name. It turns out that his grandpa's first love was named Araceli... and his grandpa was OLIVER!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHH! He shows Araceli a photo album and there is her Oliver - the one she had been writing to. As Logan leaves the room, Araceli finds a letter in the album addressed to her in which Oliver said that he did what she asked him to do and hoped that she too would find happiness as his love for her has never died. And here comes Logan Oliver Reed, who was meant for her. Awesome.
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  • Liz (Quirky Cat)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of Heartwood Box through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Heartwood Box is the newest novel by Ann Aguirre, and it is an amazing blend of different genres. It's young adult, and has romance, supernatural, and science fiction elements as well. It's a time travel tale, but also a tale of a teenage girl trying to do what is right. And it's so amazingly dark and brilliant. It's also a very introspective novel, in its own way. It makes you think. About assumptio I received a copy of Heartwood Box through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Heartwood Box is the newest novel by Ann Aguirre, and it is an amazing blend of different genres. It's young adult, and has romance, supernatural, and science fiction elements as well. It's a time travel tale, but also a tale of a teenage girl trying to do what is right. And it's so amazingly dark and brilliant. It's also a very introspective novel, in its own way. It makes you think. About assumptions. About what we can do to change our presents, and how that'll affect the future. About a lot of things, really. This tale follows Araceli Flores Harper. A teenage girl dropped off in a very remote town. Supposedly it was for her own safety, but she ends up in more danger than she could have ever expected. But her presence may be exactly what this town needed – because there is something dark going on, and nobody but Araceli seems inclined to do anything about it.(view spoiler)[ Warnings: Heartwood Box is a brilliant story, but like any dark novel, it has some edges to it. In this case there are missing persons (including children) and implications of racism. There's also an abusive relationship within, though it technically is never confirmed. Heartwood Box was an absolutely thrilling and chilling novel. And I'll be honest with you – it was nothing like what I expected. In a good way. It was dark and supernatural, but the description doesn't do it justice. There is so much more to this novel. And I love that. I love how many different elements were blended together to make this piece of work. It made for something truly unique and original, while still having a lot of familiar tones. That made it oddly comforting, if that makes any sense. Though at times I think it also added to the tension – because reflexively I knew when something bad was likely to happen. There were elements of this book that reminded me of other stories. However, I will give Heartwood Box complete credit for a few things here. For one, Ann Aguirre owned up to any of the connections by referencing them directly. And for another, she made these bits her own, doing something new with them. I expected the tension and fear, but I was surprised by many of the other emotions that this book brought up. I certainly wasn't expecting to well up at times. Though that was a nice surprise. I love novels that get under my skin. And Heartwood Box certainly did that. As for the main character in this novel – Araceli – I was fascinated by her. She's a well designed character, for starters. Her backstory is so unique compared to so many of us who are stuck in one place. Yet it was easy to understand why she didn't love that lifestyle, while still being fully capable of learning so much from it. I adored her conviction and willingness to put herself on the line for her friends. It made her endearing. I love that Ann Aguirre is experimenting with her writing. And that Heartwood Box was the result of that. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! (hide spoiler)]For more reviews check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
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  • Dani Iglesia
    January 1, 1970
    *A big thanks to the publisher for approving my request for this book in exchange of honest review*This book give me nerves to the ultimate emotions, unexpected twists and unexpected ending. It’s clearly good book to read, you’ll have everything to feel in this book: Creepy, Suspense, and Romance. I didn’t get bored, for real, every chapter is moving in different scenarios and getting me a bit jumpy while reading. It’s dark and romantic read, it’s already one of my favorites.The story have so mu *A big thanks to the publisher for approving my request for this book in exchange of honest review*This book give me nerves to the ultimate emotions, unexpected twists and unexpected ending. It’s clearly good book to read, you’ll have everything to feel in this book: Creepy, Suspense, and Romance. I didn’t get bored, for real, every chapter is moving in different scenarios and getting me a bit jumpy while reading. It’s dark and romantic read, it’s already one of my favorites.The story have so much going on, there are so many facts that will cease your mind but in a good way. My brain didn’t overload because of the too much information that gathered together in this book. It’s weird to think of it, because I think the story have like lined up genre. I’ve read; ghost taunting, romance, sci-fi, action, suspense and even a little bit of history – I mean, WOW, everything just goes smoothly, goes with the flow and everything is linking together. It’s just crazy how the writes this, she’s pretty smart and feeling witty about it.The twists of the story is okay, I like the fast paced action and non-stop looking for answers thingy but it takes really long to figure out. I think it’s because of the book is jumping in two different scenarios and it’s slows down the story. When they start colliding, it’s a blast of action and a lot of things happened quickly. AND the ending, my heart drop, UNEXPECTEDLY. One of my favorite ending ever, it’s really cheesy and I tear up a little because I didn’t expect it to happen. I’m TOTALLY shocked to be honest!Onto the characters, so we have Araceli – having that name is a legend – a girl who travels to US to finish her high school and lives with her Great-Aunt Ottilie. So Araceli is smart, loves to dance and I think always curious. She’s been always a good friend to her squad and persistent to solve any mystery around the town. Then Logan, sweet young boy and loves poking around Araceli. It’s just painful to read him in this book, I really didn’t like that the character was fading in the void but I liked her personality though. He’s nice and I think he’s trying to be loved by his parents. Lastly, Oliver, her pen pal from WWI. He’s a fighter and his love for Araceli was perfect. But I don’t really feel attached to him unlike to Logan.Overall, this book is a journey of emotions and different people in a haunting town. It’s captivating, it’ll give you the chills when you read it, it’s a casual read but I really liked it. This is my first time to read her book and might not be the last, I’m impressed to her writing and I cannot wait to read more!
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  • Kristie Elston
    January 1, 1970
    Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre is a young adult novel that is part romantic mystery part science fiction thriller. This novel definitely packed the sci fi compared to Like Never and Always which was why I was kind of disappointed in that book. Heartwood Box follows the story of Araceli Flores Harper as she is sent to live with her Great Aunt in New York, while her parents are going to war torn Venezuela which they deem is too dangerous for her. Araceli has traveled all over the world but she isn’t Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre is a young adult novel that is part romantic mystery part science fiction thriller. This novel definitely packed the sci fi compared to Like Never and Always which was why I was kind of disappointed in that book. Heartwood Box follows the story of Araceli Flores Harper as she is sent to live with her Great Aunt in New York, while her parents are going to war torn Venezuela which they deem is too dangerous for her. Araceli has traveled all over the world but she isn’t quite ready for what awaits her in a remote town in New York State. The first thing she notices are all the posters of people who have gone missing from the town. Then she starts to receive mysterious messages in a box that appear to be coming from the past, while Araceli’s Great Aunt leaves out food for the husband that disappeared twenty years ago. Araceli begins to believe that the mysterious lights in the forest and the creepy laboratory close to town have something to do with the disappearances. The story has a lot going on and it’s pulling Araceli in different directions in order to solve the rash of disappearances. She decides to use her parents’ journalistic traits in order to investigate. It begins to get real personal when the one person Araceli knew before coming to town disappears. She does what no one else in town has done, actually investigate (thanks to a corrupt cop). Araceli is an opinionated teenager and she has no problem telling it like it is especially when it comes to racism, as a Mexican American who has mainly grown up outside of the United States so she has definitely seen some things. She acts like she is proud but when someone tries to inquire about her accent or heritage she gets super defensive and refuses to answer. I get not wanting to tell people about yourself but I didn’t like how she handles those situations. I didn’t quite get the romance aspect at first, especially since she thought someone was messing with her but then she abruptly falls in love. It just seemed to happen very fast. Then a bunch of timey whimey science things happen. I found the ending to be quite satisfying. The science didn’t have to be fully detailed to understand what was happening in the context of the story. I loved the writing and the mystery. I kept me intrigued with what was happening and kept me enthralled with the story. I didn’t want to put this book down until I knew exactly what was happening to this town. FTC Advisory: Tor Teen provided me with a copy of Heartwood Box. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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  • Justine
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for the chance to read and review this book.This was just such a bizarre story! At first it reads as a mystery. Then quickly turns to paranormal. It goes through almost all the genres you can think of! Mystery, thriller, paranormal, romance, science fiction, and even historical fiction. And somehow it all worked! Araceil comes to stay with her great aunt for her last year in high school while her parents are working in Venezuela. They think she will be safer i Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for the chance to read and review this book.This was just such a bizarre story! At first it reads as a mystery. Then quickly turns to paranormal. It goes through almost all the genres you can think of! Mystery, thriller, paranormal, romance, science fiction, and even historical fiction. And somehow it all worked! Araceil comes to stay with her great aunt for her last year in high school while her parents are working in Venezuela. They think she will be safer in this small town. When she arrives she see this wall full of missing posters. How could so many be missing from this small town? That is part of the mystery.Her first night she hears weird sounds in the next room that she aunt has filled with junk. Araceli goes in there to investigate. Once in there she sees nothing. Not even an animal. But she sees this wooden box. Her aunt did say she could use anything in that room. So she takes it to put her small things in. Once safely in her room she inspects the box. Finds a old letter and reads it. And puts it back. On her first day of school she is told to write a letter to someone. Anyone. After school she sees a poster for the dance team try outs. And she goes home. Once home she asks her aunt if there was a place for her to use for dance practice. Her aunt tells her as long as she doesn't do it late at night she can use the attic. But she will have to clean it up. She goes up to look at it. She sees the cord to turn the light bulb on, pull down and turn the light on by itself. Calmly she walks to turn it off and runs to her room. There is the paranormal. Knowing that a letter to her parents would be too personal to read to the class, she writes back to Oliver. Once done she puts it back in the box and goes to eat and then bed. In the morning she goes to get the letter and both it and the original are gone. There is another mystery. When she gets back from school she finds another, new letter in her box. From Oliver. How did it there? Is someone playing a joke on her? But she writes back. And she keeps getting letters and sending them back to Oliver. Soon she falls in love. There is the romance.How is it historical fiction? Oliver is serving in War World One. And the science fiction come with the heartwood box. And it all seems to work! I never would have thought a book like this would work as well as it does. I recommend this book to anyone that likes any or all of these genres.
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  • Anna || MyBookishDream
    January 1, 1970
    Heartwood Box starts out very strong. The setting of the small town with many people missing was very interesting, especially when it seems like it’s being haunted by the people who went missing. The plot in the beginning was very intriguing as well. As I continued reading the story I became less and less interested. The reason for that is that the plot was overloaded. This book was only 288 pages long and yet there were so many different plots and plot threads, it was just overwhelming. As it w Heartwood Box starts out very strong. The setting of the small town with many people missing was very interesting, especially when it seems like it’s being haunted by the people who went missing. The plot in the beginning was very intriguing as well. As I continued reading the story I became less and less interested. The reason for that is that the plot was overloaded. This book was only 288 pages long and yet there were so many different plots and plot threads, it was just overwhelming. As it was overwhelming I stopped caring about it and it ultimately became boring. There is just too much going on in this story.Araceli was an alright character. I liked her more in the beginning and I stopped caring about her the more I read, which is a major theme with me and this book. There were too many side characters in this story. No one felt fleshed out and they were more used as devices to further the plot than they were actual characters. Most of them were used to show how much of an outsider Araceli really was. Granted quite a few of those characters were people of colour, I’m not sure we got to know about them enough and I really can’t speak about the representation. Heartwood Box was overloaded with characters.Overall I didn’t enjoy this book all that much, as you can see by my rating and review. I think Heartwood Box would have been better if it was longer, or some of the plot elements were cut out. This book just felt overloaded with everything. Personally I wouldn’t recommend it.Content warnings: (view spoiler)[domestic abuse, violence, racism, World War I themes (hide spoiler)]Review on my blog My Bookish Dream
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  • Andrea Johnston
    January 1, 1970
    I originally requested this book from Net Galley as it sounded like an ooky-spooky haunted house tale to thrill and chill. However, the further and further along I got into the novel, the more it appeared as though this work was having some serious identity issues. For quite some time, the work struggles with what it wants to be: a thriller, sci-fi, historical romance, relatable teen/YA fiction, but henny, that moment when it all comes together? That is what readers LIVE for.Heartwood Box beauti I originally requested this book from Net Galley as it sounded like an ooky-spooky haunted house tale to thrill and chill. However, the further and further along I got into the novel, the more it appeared as though this work was having some serious identity issues. For quite some time, the work struggles with what it wants to be: a thriller, sci-fi, historical romance, relatable teen/YA fiction, but henny, that moment when it all comes together? That is what readers LIVE for.Heartwood Box beautifully blends and balances numerous genres, keeping the tension and the pace cranked to the MAX. Pair that with a brilliant diverse cast, taking on tough issues such as abuse and racism, and we have ourselves a winner. The only strike against this story in my opinion is that at times the writing can be quite "young" (for example, using "OMG", "he's thirsty for me" and the like). However, I fully understand that this was written with a particular audience in mind so younger readers will perfectly identify with it and not skip a beat. A fabulous novel with a lot of heart and, really, something to offer every kind of reader, Heartwood Box is an easy recommendation and one that libraries should rush out to have on their shelves!
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  • Ally Watkins
    January 1, 1970
    I FINISHED THE DANG THING. I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. And, I’ll note that I had every intention of finishing this before it came out, but I just did not want to pick it up. I don’t think that’s the book’s fault, but I had a buggy file that wouldn’t let me make the text bigger, so I was reading tiny text on my average-sized phone and... it wasn’t great. Araceli has just moved to a sleepy town where people just... go missing. She’s living wi I FINISHED THE DANG THING. I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. And, I’ll note that I had every intention of finishing this before it came out, but I just did not want to pick it up. I don’t think that’s the book’s fault, but I had a buggy file that wouldn’t let me make the text bigger, so I was reading tiny text on my average-sized phone and... it wasn’t great. Araceli has just moved to a sleepy town where people just... go missing. She’s living with her great-aunt, and something just seems odd about the whole shebang. When she finds a box in her attic that allows her to communicate with a soldier from WWI, she’s both a bit creeped out and a lot intrigued. Little does she know that that box has more to do with the mysteries of the town than she could ever imagine...The book itself was just okay. I enjoyed some of the mysterious aspects, and there was a romantic plot line that was super sweet, though I don’t know how I feel about the way it ended. Something about the voice of the narrator was just the tiniest bit inauthentic to me, just enough that it prevented me from really being sucked into the story. I will say that I’ve never read a cozy, old-time, creep-factor mystery story that was actually a sci-fi before, but it was a cool, unique combination. Overall... it was fine. Didn’t blow my mind, wasn’t terrible... just fine.
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  • Mrs. Kenyon
    January 1, 1970
    Araceli’s parents have decided that she needs to spend her senior year with her great-aunt Ottilie in a small New York town. They thought it would be a safe and quiet place for her to get ready for college, but they didn’t know that people have been going missing for over twenty years and there are mysterious lights in the woods that Araceli is explicitly told to NOT follow. After Araceli begins receiving letters from a GI during the First World War, she wonders whether it is all one big prank o Araceli’s parents have decided that she needs to spend her senior year with her great-aunt Ottilie in a small New York town. They thought it would be a safe and quiet place for her to get ready for college, but they didn’t know that people have been going missing for over twenty years and there are mysterious lights in the woods that Araceli is explicitly told to NOT follow. After Araceli begins receiving letters from a GI during the First World War, she wonders whether it is all one big prank or is there really a mystery that needs to be solved.Heartwood Box is a stand-alone science fiction mystery where the characters are easy to relate to and the story was very easy to fall in to. Aguirre has taken many mysterious storylines and has blended them into a superb novel. When I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about the events and what might happen next. I also really liked that it was not part of a series and I was able to unravel all the mysteries in a short amount of time. I recommend Heartwood Box to all fans of mysteries, even if you don’t normally like science fiction.
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  • Caitlin Janke
    January 1, 1970
    I went into a Heartwood box thinking it was a typical mystery/ thriller. I was totally wrong. This story has so much going on but I'm not sure that's a good thing. The main character is determined to figure out the mystery of the missing people. At the same time she gets letters from a stranger. She has to balance her new life while trying to figure out the mysterious town. I feel the plot had too many events happening for one story. At times it worked for the story and other times it felt like I went into a Heartwood box thinking it was a typical mystery/ thriller. I was totally wrong. This story has so much going on but I'm not sure that's a good thing. The main character is determined to figure out the mystery of the missing people. At the same time she gets letters from a stranger. She has to balance her new life while trying to figure out the mysterious town. I feel the plot had too many events happening for one story. At times it worked for the story and other times it felt like it bogged the plot down a bit. It was a good story overall and I was able to enjoy it, I just wish it didn't feel like there was too many ideas pushed in. As you get into the story it becomes more scifi than a usual thriller.I wasn't expecting there to be as much of a scifi intertwined into the story. With all the twists and turns I felt it fit the thriller and mystery genres as well. This is definitely a mixed genre book. If your not a scifi fan you might enjoy for the mystery but I think scifi lovers will enjoy it the most.I received an advanced copy through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    Heartwood Box was a surprise. I read nothing about it before I opened the book. The mixture of sci-fi and haunted town was great. I liked Araceli as a character, and I thought she was well fleshed-out. The other characters were better than one-dimensional, but not great. I'd like to know more about the other characters' backstory or motivations. Racism was a major theme, but I don't think it was adequately addressed. In the beginning, the characters of color self-segregate for safety. In the end Heartwood Box was a surprise. I read nothing about it before I opened the book. The mixture of sci-fi and haunted town was great. I liked Araceli as a character, and I thought she was well fleshed-out. The other characters were better than one-dimensional, but not great. I'd like to know more about the other characters' backstory or motivations. Racism was a major theme, but I don't think it was adequately addressed. In the beginning, the characters of color self-segregate for safety. In the end, they still self-segregate, and nothing changed with that, while seemingly everything else changed. With the pull of different genres, clues, and impossible romance, not every thread was wrapped up in the end. The ending felt rushed and choppy. I still have many questions, all starting with "why?" I would love to talk with others who read it and find out if I missed something, or if there really were plot holes. Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor Forge for the advanced review copy.
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  • Annarella
    January 1, 1970
    This book mixes different genres in a masterfully way and the result is an engrossing and entertaing novel that keeps you hooked till the last page.The beginning is a bit slow and the descriptions are quite creepy reminded me of some horror setting. When the pace of the book quickens you're in for a lot of actions, twists and turns.I liked the well written and fleshed out characters and the creepy and well described setting.It's the first book I read by this author and won't surely be the last.H This book mixes different genres in a masterfully way and the result is an engrossing and entertaing novel that keeps you hooked till the last page.The beginning is a bit slow and the descriptions are quite creepy reminded me of some horror setting. When the pace of the book quickens you're in for a lot of actions, twists and turns.I liked the well written and fleshed out characters and the creepy and well described setting.It's the first book I read by this author and won't surely be the last.Highly recommended!Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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