Thursday, December 21, 2023

Puzzleheart by Jenn Reese


I will start with the positives. I loved the cover and parts of the interior shown (cleverly in the shape of a heart--a hint the house is sentient, perhaps?). The winter scene and fantastic house let off vibes of Greenglass House. 

Perigree and Perigree's father have fallen on hard times and after many years of no contact, Perigree's father has reached out to his mother. The reunion was not the Hallmark variety. But Perigree's grandmother is not the only one turning a cold shoulder; the house itself seems to have something against the visitors. 

The book offers some puzzle-like challenges and readers will follow Perigree's progress along with a new friend made while staying at grandmother's. Through the process of solving the puzzles, the two young people are able to share with each other some of the pain they have both experienced. There are some perilous moments and near-death experiences that may be too intense for younger readers. 

Note: The main character, Perigree, had the preferred pronoun "they/their/them." Using a plural pronoun in a book is quite distracting because the reader is constantly evaluating whether the reference is in fact plural or just referring to Perigree. I went ahead and finished the book to complete this review.  The inclusion of plural pronouns is a deal breaker for me in a book. It not only muddies the clarity of language, but it forces upon the reader what I consider a false reality. I read for pleasure, not to be preached at or manipulated and I would caution parents to consider carefully what their children read. This is not one I can recommend.  

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Puzzleheart through NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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