A tense and astonishing young adult thriller, Heartstream is a book that is not short of action and secrets revealed from characters’ pasts. If you are a fan of twists and turns or are looking for a book like the famous TV show Black Mirror, then this may be the book for you. The way the author explores feelings, actions, and secrets about characters was highly effective in the telling of this story. Characters are not what they appear to be at first glance. Below is a summary of the book and some spoiler-free Roses and Thorns as part of my review (please see About section if you are unfamiliar with this). A spoiler section is found at the bottom which explains the ending for anyone who needs clarification. Don’t worry though, this comes with a spoiler warning beforehand!

heartstream book by tom pollock book cover and book review

Book Description: I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie. Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.

Please see About section if you are unfamiliar with the following Roses and Thorns reviewing method:

Roses

  • Suspense galore!
  • Great characterisation of Cat in particular. Any more said would require spoilers.
  • Great twists.
  • The role technological advancement plays in this book is reminiscent of Black Mirror.

Thorns

  • The jumping between two perspectives may be a bit confusing at the beginning (but it makes sense later in the novel)
  • The ending made it seem like there’s a second novel (apparently there isn’t). Some questions about the characters were left unanswered.

Rating: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Spoiler Ending

Ending Explained:

Amy comes home after her mother’s funeral and sees a crazy-looking woman in her house who appears to want to kill them both. It turns out that the swapping between perspectives was relevant to this story as this strange woman is revealed to be Cat (the girl who had fallen in love with a famous music band member and had a secret relationship with him). Cat and Evie were friends and shipped two band members together as part of an obsessed fandom. Cat became pregnant and the band member promised to go public about their relationship but he lied. Evie acts as a flase friend to Cat by helping her into a mental hospital but actually made a deal with the band member to hush up the baby issue until Cat denies ever being a mum to the baby. Cat gives birth to the baby and Evie takes her away. She bribed the doctor to keep Cat prisoner in the mental hospital and Cat never denies having had a baby so is not released until after Evie’s death. Amy is Cat’s daughter who was taken away from her and Evie was Amy’s fake mum who kept her real mum prisoner. The town mayor is now the ex-band member who doesn’t want the truth to get out. Cat and Amy reconcile and escape together.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Heartstream by Tom Pollock and Optional Ending Explained

  1. Great post! I too found the same thing about the confusing start when I read this last year! Not bad, I reccomend Roald Dahl! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

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