Review – Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by


Instructions for a Secondhand Heart

Tamsyn Murray

PUBLISHED BY POPPY December 5, 2017


Jonny knows better than anyone that life is full of cruel ironies. He’s spent every day in a hospital hooked up to machines to keep his heart ticking. Then when a donor match is found for Jonny’s heart, that turns out to be the cruellest irony of all. Because for Jonny’s life to finally start, someone else’s had to end.

That someone turns out to be Neve’s twin brother, Leo. When Leo was alive, all Neve wanted was for him (and all his glorious, overshadowing perfection) to leave. Now that Leo’s actually gone forever, Neve has no idea how to move forward. Then Jonny walks into her life looking for answers, her brother’s heart beating in his chest, and everything starts to change.

Together, Neve and Jonny will have to face the future, no matter how frightening it is, while also learning to heal their hearts, no matter how much it hurts.



Instructions for a Secondhand Heart absolutely broke my heart and then wonderfully pieced it back together. It’s painfully real, incredibly affecting, and just so beautifully written that I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Tamsyn Murray created such a lovely story about loss, self-discovery, second chances, and love. The storyline, while full of heart shattering situations, was riveting, sweet and at times even funny. The writing was undeniably moving, laced with beauty and sincerity, and just so utterly gorgeous that deeply affected me from beginning to end. The emotions I felt while reading this book made my heart hurt, but also filled it with so much hope and joy. I smiled, laughed, cried, loved, cried even more, and then smiled again. This was such a torturous, but positively emotional read that will stay with me for a very long time.

The characters in this book were so well-written and developed. Complex, flawed, and a little broken, but so real that you can’t help but just feel for them and cheer them on.

Jonny may have spent most of his life in the hospital and can be morbid at times, but he’s also genuine, charming, funny and really sweet. I completely adored him and rooted for him the entire time. Through the ups and downs, the happy and the very sad, I truly enjoyed following Jonny on his journey. He definitely stumbled and made plenty of mistakes, but along the way, Jonny also found something really amazing.

Neve’s stubborn, cold, and quite cynical that I had a difficult time liking her. I also didn’t enjoy her POV for most of the story – she was just so angry and negative. But Jonny’s friendship made her thaw little by little. With Jonny, Neve became someone different, a better version of herself – a girl who takes chances, trusts, smiles, laughs, and even falls in love. She was the hardest character to like, but by the end, I loved Neve as much as I did Jonny.

Speaking of friendships, the one between Jonny and Emily was so sweet and heartwarming. I loved their scenes together and wish there were more of them. Their inside jokes, their bantering, and the adorable way they cared about each other made my heart melt.

Instructions for a Secondhand Heart is an achingly delightful story about love, trust, friendship and forgiveness. Through Jonny and Neve’s journey, the author gracefully shows that even a terrible and painful situation can ultimate lead to something really beautiful. This book made me FEEL SO MUCH – it’s raw, emotional, sad, but uplifting in every way. If you’re looking for a story that will inspire, move, and teach you something about life, then I highly recommend this book.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from @TheNOVL in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


tamsynAbout the Author

Tamsyn Murray was born in Cornwall in the Chinese Year of the Rat. This makes her charming, creative and curious (on a good day) but also selfish, restless and impatient (v. v. bad day).

After moving around a lot when she was growing up, she now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, daughter and son. At least her body does. Her mind tends to prefer imaginary places and wanders off whenever it can but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a writer.

Tamsyn writes everything from picture books to YA. She teaches City University’s Writing for Children course in London. She loves hearing funny stories but advises people to be very careful what they say to her, especially if she has a pen in her hand.

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Thank you for reading my review and I hope you add this heartwarming book to your TBR.

Don’t forget to leave your comments down below. I’d love to hear what you think.

Sincerely Karen Jo

2 thoughts on “Review – Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by

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