|Heart on a Chain|
by Cindy C. Bennett
"17-year-old Kate has lived her whole life in abject poverty, with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother, who severely abuses Kate. At school, her second-hand clothing marks her as a target. Her refusal to stand up for herself makes her the recipient of her classmates taunts and bullying. That is, until Henry returns.
Henry Jamison moved away six years earlier, just as he and Kate had begun an to develop feelings for one another. He returns to find the bright, funny, outgoing girl he had known now timidly hiding in corners, barely speaking to anyone around her, suspicious of even him.
Kate can’t figure out what game Henry is playing with her - for surely it is a game. What else would the gorgeous, popular boy from her past want with her?
Kate finally decides to trust Henry’s intentions, opening her heart to him. Just when it seems he might be genuine in his friendship, tragedy strikes, threatening everything Kate has worked so hard to gain. Can Henry help her to overcome this new devastation, or will it tear them apart forever?"
The situations in this book felt so overdone and dramatic that I didn't really care that much. However, I have a feeling that my middle school kids who want more books like A Child Called It will love it. There were many things I didn't find believable, so it was hard to invest myself in Kate's problems. She huddles in a corner on the floor every lunch and no adult notices? She's beaten up several times (once actually in the school) and everyone just calmly accepts her falling or accident stories? It all felt very contrived - just a way to make the story more heartbreaking. And then at the end a certain character had a 180 degree turn around that was completely ludicrous. However, there was a sweet love story and a happy ending.
Areas of concern:
No bad language. Some kissing. Violent abuse perpetrated on the main character several times