Book Review: HEARTSTREAM by Tom Pollock

Genre: Thriller
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: Standalone



Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie.

Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want?

Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I absolutely loved Pollock’s WHITE RABBIT, RED WOLF, and was very excited to read his new book. I think my high expectations were the problem, because HEARTSTREAM is a very different book.

It’s not a spy-esque thriller, unable to know how much you can trust the narrator. It’s a far more human story, particularly Cat’s part, and is chillingly likely. The implications of Heartstream tech are interesting, but it doesn’t have as massive a role in the story as I’d thought, given the title. Both character’s felt very reliable, and the thriller aspect mainly came from Amy’s story line, trying to work out how she was getting out of this bomb situation.

This said, I enjoyed Cat’s story line more, all the secrets she was juggling as well as how much more likely it felt. I wanted to now how she was going to balance her secrets and what would would happen when it came out. Until maybe two-thirds of the way through, when the story lines intersect, Cat’s part feels more like a contemporary – so it’s surprising I liked it so much.

My main complaint was that the ending was very abrupt and unsatisfying. In WHITE RABBIT, RED WOLF the ending also equally sudden, but it came after the conclusion of the main story thread. Sure, plenty was hanging and maybe only half the story threads were tied up. However, it was still satisfying because the obvious goals had been tied up.

However, this time there didn’t seem to be a major conclusion. It just ended, right when it felt like the conclusion was about to start. Would everything be sorted out? Revenge had?

Instead, there was nothing.

Sure, maybe the connect idea was resolved, but not the hostage situation! I wanted more, simply to get some sort of resolution.

Overall, an interesting and thought-provoking book about power, but the ending just doesn’t sit right.

Read my reviews of other books by Tom Pollock

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