I Expected More // REVIEW: Instructions for a Second Hand Heart by Tamsyn Murray

Title: Instructions for a Second Hand Heart
Author: Tamsyn Murray
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Publisher: Usbourne Publishing
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Usbourne Publishing (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || The Book Depository || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Kobo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Jonny isn't like "normal" teenagers. Every day he wakes up in hospital, kept alive by a machine. Every day he wonders if this is the day they'll find a donor match for his heart. Every day he wonders if this is the day he'll die.
Every day, Niamh fights with her "perfect" brother Leo. Every single day, Leo wins. Every day, Niamh dreams of a life without Leo. But all that changes on the day of the accident: the day EVERYTHING falls apart.
This is a story about facing the future no matter how frightening. This is a story about healing your heart, no matter how much it hurts. 
If I could sum up this book in one sentence, it would be: I expected more.

I flipped close the last page a few hours ago and I’ve spent that time being so mad at what a horrible friend Jonny was and how there was such a lack of chemistry between Jonny and Nimah.
So, let’s break it down:

I liked how this sounded, I did. Your new romantic interest is the boy who has your dead brother’s heart? Sign me up.

As soon as I read the description, I knew it was a book I’d want to read one day. It certainly is a unique plot, and I thought it would be fun to read.

I should also mention that I could see the amount of research Tamsyn put into the book. It never once felt like the information or the medical treatment that the characters were going through was anything less than 100% accurate.

While the plot was good, the actual execution wasn’t that great.
Image result for instructions for a second hand heart
For starters, there was no chemistry between Jonny and Nimah. All I could tell was that Nimah fell for the first guy or even person that paid her any attention and Jonny for the first girl he had a reason to talk to. There texts were bland, and HOW THEY MET WAS SO STRANGE.

More than that, the story progressed rather strangely. The way Nimah behaved with her parents, the way there was this random bout of depression and suicide that were sped over SO SO FAST with vague “we spoke for days about it” and “my family that never spoke to each other meaningfully will now never lie to each other”

If you’re going to handle grief, you should handle it well. If you’re going to put in suicidal thoughts and depression, it shouldn’t be glossed over.


I hated how Jonny came into contact with Nimah, and then wouldn’t tell her the truth about how he found her. There were a series of horrible lies that had me cringing. And then Nimah was jealous of a poor girl suffering on a hospital bed and said she would “allow” Jonny to speak to his friend.

Jonny ABUSED the fact that he had been given a heart, stopped taking his medicines and HUNG OUT WITH A BUNCH OF SMOKERS? It just contradicted everything he went through all so that he would make friends. I was SO SO MAD.

I really hated how he treated Em. She was always there for him, but he didn’t once understand that he might be jealous that he’d gotten better and pretty much thought her irrational when she thought he was jeopardizing his new chance at living. ALSO, HOW THEY ENDED HER STORY LINE MADE ME SCREAM. NOT COOL.

And then Nimah managed to get JEALOUS about it. I was so done.


Basically, I expected this book to be so much more. 2.5 Stars at best. 
Tamsyn MurrayHertfordshire-based writer of books. Lives with one husband, one daughter, one son, one mad chocolate labrador, one aged tabby cat, five gorgeous bunnies. Likes animals (no, really?), Marmite and messing about on stage. Dislikes spiders, celery and arrogant people.

Have you read any harrowing books on Organ Donation? 
Who are some of your favourite fictional siblings? 
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

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