Young Adult Book Review: A Healing Heart by Melissa A. Hanson

by Melissa A. Hanson
ISBN: 978-0615600741
Grades 7 and up
Reviewed from copy provided by author.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

On a bitter cold winter night Bailey Walsh’s family was killed in a traffic accident. Two years later as she lives with her aunt and uncle in Southern California, Bailey is still plagued by the nightmares of that terrible night. Everywhere around her are reminders of what she lost. Even her aunt, in a cruel twist of fate, is not just her mom’s sister, but her identical twin. Babysitting Riley, a spunky two-year old, is a sweet distraction and one constant light in her life. One day as she takes Riley to the park she meets Collin McKenna, a senior at her high school and her life is changed forever as he helps her find herself and realize her life is worth living. As the romance between them grows her broken heart begins to heal. However, still nagging in the back of her conscious is the fear that her new found happiness could come crashing down and she could lose everything she loves, yet again. Outside forces begin to tear them apart and Bailey must learn to trust in herself and realize that she is worthy of happiness. That sometimes love and healing comes in unexpected forms.

This is a sweet love story. A story of loss, love, and friendship.  I found myself quite enjoying this, more than I expected.  Both Bailey and Collin are very appealing, easy to relate to characters, in fact, I found myself wishing Collin was real. :) The relationship between the two developed naturally and believably. I also enjoyed the friendships between Bailey and Mia and Natasha, they added a nice humorous touch.  And I absolutely loved 2-year-old Riley, he reminded me a great deal of my adorable nephew.

While there are some grammatical errors and the plot is a bit melodramatic at times, I found that neither detracted much from my enjoyment of the story.  There is a mild amount of swearing which I could have done without, I didn't find it to be a major problem.  

I appreciated the fact that the romance is a clean, sweet appropriate romance between two high schoolers, who don't rush into things.  I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy a sweet, contemporary romance.


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