Hearts Unbroken (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I really liked this book. I like the main character, Lou, and thought she was well developed. I really liked the journalism aspect, the articles throughout the novel and the way it helped Lou develop. I really liked Lou’s relationship with her brother, and her brother’s role in the musical. I think the best part about reading this book, though, was reading about a Native girl! I’d only ever read one other book with a Native American protagonist, and I feel like I learned a lot about what it’s like to be Native in 21st century America. I really loved a lot of the side characters and thought it the novel had a nice plot that moved along well. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in social justice and books with strong female leads.

— Nava K., Tattered Cover Teen Advisory Board member


New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

About the Author

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the best-selling, acclaimed author of the Tantalize series and the Feral series. She is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and is on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Praise For…

Blending teen romance with complex questions of identity, equality, and censorship, this is an excellent choice for most collections.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

In a time when #ownvoices stories are rising in popularity among YA readers, this brings an insightful story to the conversation...this is truly a thought-provoking and educational novel.

Smith effectively presents the continuous microaggressions Lou faces as a young Native woman alongside the central narrative arc of the school play.
—The Horn Book

Product Details
ISBN: 9780763681142
ISBN-10: 0763681148
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: October 9th, 2018
Pages: 304
Language: English