Cover image for Tin heart : a novel
Tin heart : a novel
First Flatiron Books edition.
Physical Description:
326 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Australia : Penguin Australia Pty Ltd., 2018.
Marlowe hopes that meeting the family of her heart donor will help her move on from being "The Dying Girl," but family, neighborhood, and other complications hold her back.


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Bestselling author of All the Bright Places Jennifer Niven calls emerging talent Shivaun Plozza's charming and romantic second YA novel, Tin Heart , "from cover to cover swoon-worthy, moving, deep, and funny"!

When Marlowe gets a heart transplant and a second chance at life, all she wants to do is to thank her donor's family. Maybe then she can move on. Maybe then she'll discover who she is if she's no longer The Dying Girl.

But with a little brother who dresses like every day is Halloween, a vegan warrior for a mother, and an all-out war with the hot butcher's apprentice next door, Marlowe's life is already pretty complicated. And her second chance is about to take an unexpected turn...

Author Notes

Shivaun Plozza has published short fiction, poetry, and essays, and works as an editor. Frankie , her first novel, won the Sisters in Crime Davitt Award and was shortlisted for the Australian Children's Book of the Year and Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. Shivaun lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Reviews 4

Bookseller Publisher Review

Marlowe Jensen was The Dying Girl. Born with a congenital heart defect, no-one expected Marlowe to make it to her 18th birthday until she won the organ-donation lottery, and got a transplant. Now she has a stranger's heart in her chest and no idea who she is. Marlowe hopes she can find answers by connecting with the donor's family. Even after they request no contact, Marlowe is determined to learn about her donor by any means possible. Tin Heart combines the timeless narratives of coming of age, family feuds and the power of love with a complex exploration of chronic illness. Despite these heavy themes, it remains light-hearted, with a cast of endearing characters that includes Marlowe's perpetually costume-clad younger brother, Pip; her mum, who has just opened her own dream vegan shop . next door to Bert's Quality Butchers; and Bert's son and apprentice butcher Leo, who is as cute as he is annoying. Shivaun Plozza's debut novel Frankie delighted and devastated readers, and Tin Heart cements Plozza as a writer with a charming voice and a flair for flawed, lovable characters. Fans of contemporary rom-coms with grit, such as Cath Crowley's Graffiti Moon, will find much to enjoy here. Jordi Kerr is a freelance reviewer and YA advocate, formerly with the Centre for Youth Literature

Publisher's Weekly Review

A heart transplant means that Australian high schooler Marlowe is healthy for the first time in years, but she's still the shy member of a family-with her vegan activist mother and costumewearing little brother-that likes attention. Still, it's hard to stay under the radar once she's back in school, trying to make friends and deal with bullies, and gets caught up in an intense prank war with the adorable guy who works at the butcher's next door to her mother's vegan store. Could it be that she isn't so shy after all? That being healthy means she needs to find out who she really is? Convinced that meeting her donor's family will answer these questions, Marlowe barrels on despite their refusals, eventually getting caught in an elaborate lie and hurting the people she cares about most. Funny and direct, this book by Plozza (Frankie) is capable of balancing heartbreak, first love, mortality, and the absurd-or, as Marlowe puts it, "that moment when you're standing in front of Bert's Quality Butchers holding a speaker blasting 'Meat Is Murder.'?" Ages 14-up. Katelyn Detweiler, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Seventeen-year-old Australian Marlowe Jensenjust returning to high school after a successful heart transplantobsesses about her anonymous donor while also navigating relationships with friends, family members, and her first love.Marlowe, who is of Danish descent, narrates the tale in present tense. Among her many anxieties: "There is no me' anymore. They're seeing a girl with a borrowed heart." Although this and other insecure musings pepper the text, it is also filled with Marlowe's witty comments. Her zany, controlling mother and adoring younger brother provide additional humor: Mum, owner of the "vegan-organic-wellness store called Blissfully Aware," participates in showy, anti-establishment protests, and 10-year-old Pipwho seems youngeruses every possible occasion to wear outrageous, painstakingly created costumes. High school bully Eddie Oro and his bubble-headed followers are stock characters, but Marlowe's budding friendships with cool, gay Zan Cheung and maybe-the-sister-of-Marlowe's-heart-donor Carmen Castillejo ring true. So does the slow move from adversary to love interest with Leo, the next-door butcher's sonwhich begins with a series of escalating pranks on both sides. Without didacticism, the text offers a glimpse into two sets of rare challenges: those faced by Marlowe, grappling with the fact that her life was restored by another's death, and those faced by Carmen and her father, still grieving over 16-year-old Luis, whose organs were donated after a car accident.Readers will cheer for Marlowe's bildungsromansimultaneously unique and universal. (Fiction. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Who are you when you have someone else's heart? This question drives Plozza's latest as Marlowe struggles through the challenges of high school, boys, and living as a heart-transplant recipient. Rather than experiencing pure elation following her life-saving heart transplant, Marlowe mostly feels lost and guilty about the life that ended to save hers. While her fiercely vegan mother and costume-loving younger brother continually embarrass her, and the butcher's son next-door both infuriates and intrigues her, Marlowe sets out on a mission to find her donor's family in an attempt to thank them and to truly know the heart that beats in her chest. With a witty yet awkward main character at the helm, this story will quickly hook readers and keep them laughing, crying, and rooting Marlowe on, even as she continually makes questionable decisions. Between Pip's enthusiastic costume design and her new friend Zan's tough-but-tender personality, the dynamic supporting cast make the story even more lovable. A great read for fans of LGBTQ-friendly coming-of-age stories.--Rebecca Gonner Copyright 2018 Booklist