Hey, hey, my wonderful pighearted people!
(Just in case you were wondering, that’s a compliment!) It’s time for my stop at the “Pighearted” booktour that’s hosted by TBR and Beyon Tours. Mine is not the only post – obviously – so don’t hesitate to look at the other posts!
Charlotte’s Web meets My Sister’s Keeper in this charming story told from the alternating perspectives of a boy with a fatal heart condition and the pig with the heart that could save his life.
Jeremiah’s heart skips a beat before his first soccer game, but it’s not nerves. It’s the first sign of a heart attack. He knows he needs to go to the hospital, but he’s determined to score a goal. Charging after the ball, he refuses to stop…even if his heart does.
J6 is a pig and the only one of his five brothers who survived the research lab. Though he’s never left his cell, he thinks of himself as a therapy pig, a scholar, and a bodyguard. But when the lab sends him to live with Jeremiah’s family, there’s one new title he’s desperate to have: brother.
At first, Jeremiah thinks his parents took in J6 to cheer him up. But before long, he begins to suspect there’s more to his new curly-tailed companion than meets the eye. When the truth is revealed, Jeremiah and J6 must protect each other at all costs—even if their lives depend on it.
Right from the start, I knew that I would cry my eyes out at some point. It was just how the book was set up:
While I thought that the end felt a bit drawn out, the pacing was rather good. The story is told by alternating between the Boy, Jeremiah, and the Pig, Jeremiah-6, or J6 for short. J6 is not really a pig, he is a special pig. He was especially grown to grow a human heart, fitted with stemcells from Jeremiah who was born with a heart condition. J6 is incredibly smart. He understands most of what people say to him, knows how to read and spell and has a great and funny personality. I loved J6. His need to be part of a family, to be a brother, just warmed my heart and also broke it in many tiny pieces.
While Jeremiah was kind of whiney and even obnoxious at some points, I actually quite liked him. He’s a boy that had to live with a dangerous heart condition his whole live and all the drawbacks that come with it. Of course he would be stubborn and also anxious. I loved how he changed the more contact he had with J6 and how much he grew to love this little pig.
The story is full of compassion and emotions. It plays with the idea of so called chimeras, animals with human cells that could be used to grow organ transplants. According to the author’s note, these kinds of projects are already in the works. It makes you think about the morals of harvesting organs from animals that might have more than just human cells, that might have some kind of concience, be able to learn like a human or are able to reason like a human. It was an interesting thought.
The book is very character driven. I loved to follow J6 and Jeremiah, to see how they experience the same kind of occurences differently. I loved the sibling bond they had. I also liked Justus and Jazmine, Jeremiah’s sisters. They had different kind of views on J6.
I’m afraid this review is a bit jubled, but in the end, I really loved the book. I loved the characters and I loved to follow their experiences. The book gave me a look to think about and a lot of feelings and I enjoyed the pacing and the topic. I would definitely recommend the book but maybe also advise to take some tissues with you while reading, just in case.
For four years Alex Perry taught English Language Arts and reading to Houston middle schoolers ranging from 6th-8th grade, but she now lives in Arkansas with two large dogs, a husband, and one small baby. Alex is the author of PIGHEARTED coming fall of 2021 and is represented by Melissa Nasson of Rubin Pfeffer Content.