Blog Tour Review – How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian


Hello Lovelies and Welcome to by Blog Tour Review for How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian. Free ARC copy provided by the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers.


One young woman’s journey to find her place in the world as the carefully separated strands of her life — family, money, school, and love — begin to overlap and tangle. 



Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Published: January 28, 2020

Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary

ISBN: 9781616208493

Format: Hardcover, 352 pages







All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy’s hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school—even if Izzy is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new athletic and popular boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy’s family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she’s been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.

How to Build a Heart is the story of Izzy’s journey to find her place in the world and her discovery that the choices we make and the people we love ultimately define us and bring us home.



Poignant, Riveting, and Filled with So Much Hope and Love



Poignant and riveting, How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian is a beautiful story about self-discovery, grief, family, forgiveness, friendship, and so much more. It’s emotional, it’s sweet, and it’s so real it made my heart ache, but also gave me joy.

After dealing with her father’s death and constantly moving, Izzy Crawford somewhat feels at home in Virginia. She likes her new school and classmates, she has a best friend who lives next door, she’s caught the attention of a popular boy, and her family has been chosen by Habitat for Humanity to build and live in a new house. But, Izzy doesn’t just let everyone in and she’s been keeping secrets from those close to her. What happens when her web of lies slowly begin to unravel and she can no longer avoid facing the truth?

I enjoyed Padian’s writing style, the pacing of the story is good, and the plot, while dealing with sensitive issues, is also engaging, heartfelt, sweet, and sometimes really fun. Padian explores topics about racism, bullying, addiction, abuse, violence, and mental disorder. There are a few situations that will make your heart feel quite heavy at times and I won’t lie… I cried on some parts and had to stop reading for a bit. But, what I love most about stories like this is when they surprise you and give you more than what you’re looking for. This book hurt in more ways than I could imagine, but it’s also meaningful and filled with so much beauty, hope and love.

Izzy is interesting and relatable, and I adored her. She’s not always the easiest to like, she makes mistakes, she’s incredibly stubborn at times, and she has issues and insecurities. But, Izzy is also strong-willed, smart, caring, and loves her family. I enjoyed her character development a lot and watching her discover what’s truly important in her life. The other characters are all quite lovely and I had fun getting to know them too. Sam is amazing and swoony. Aubrey and Roz has a piece of my heart and I just love Jack so much. Mark snuck up on me that I wanted more of him in the story. The parents are pretty awesome… well most of them anyway. Overall, the characters are fascinating in their own ways, complex, likeable, and realistic.

With an engrossing plot filled with hope and so much heart, characters who’ll steal pieces of your heart, and a sweet romance that’ll melt your heart, Maria Padian’s How to Build a Heart is perfect for YA contemporary lovers. It’s deep and also lighthearted. It’s fun, but also tackles serious issues. It’s inspirational, uplifting, and thought-provoking. I truly enjoyed reading this beautiful masterpiece and was captivated by Padian’s storytelling until the end. Definitely recommend you add this book on your TBR and I hope you fall in love with Izzy’s story just as much as I did.

I want to say thank you to the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


My heart is so full. Not in that heavy, weightofstones way. In that full-to-bursting, spilling over, looking forward way. There is no place I’d rather be, and no one else I want to be.

(Quote taken from ARC. Final publication might be different). 




Maria Padian has a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia. She is a freelance writer, essayist, and author of young adult novels, including Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress, Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best, and Out of Nowhere. Maria lives with her family in Brunswick, Maine. Visit her online at and find her on Twitter: @mpadian.




Thanks for stopping by sweeties. I hope you enjoyed reading this review and add this beautiful book on your TBR. Until next time, lots of love and kisses!


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