Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down by Anne Valente is a novel about the aftermath and effects of a tragic school shooting and about how people grieve differently. Though, thankfully, I have never had to go through such an event, it is a beautiful and sad representation of our society.
This book takes place in modern times with modern technology (computers, phones, weapons) with an all too familiar hair raising, spine tingling horror of a high school shooting. When four juniors, whose main connection is being on the yearbook committee, start spending more time together to figure out how to immortalize the victims as well as keep the yearbook a happy thing, they form a strange friendship based on mutual needs of space/not wanting to be alone, grief, and needing to remember/needing to forget. As if the tragedy of the shooting wasn’t enough, someone starts to target families of the people that died and setting their homes on fire.
I rather enjoyed this book! The subject felt so raw and real, despite having never experienced first hand something so awful. There were times I had to take a break for a day though, because the scenes were intense and the emotions were too much. It’s dark and sad but also a great representation of a community coming together and falling apart at the same time. Though, I have vague feelings towards the end of the book due to a few unanswered questions but that’s okay. It was an incredible first novel!
PS. This book was won from a Goodreads competition.
Have you read Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down? Comment below!