Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon

A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon
Review by Maggie: May 17, 2012
Published August 1, 2011 by Allen & Unwin
Goodreads • Buy at Fishpond • Book Depository •
Preorder at Amazon

I know, you're not supposed to judge books by their covers. But publishers need to quit false advertising their books too. You put a smiling girl in a rainbow shirt on the cover? Excuse me for expecting a smiling girl in a rainbow shirt inside the cover.
(Language in video is hilarious but NSFW)

When there's a disconnect between the cover and the book, I usually feel a disconnect with the book itself. A Straight Line to My Heart, with that gorgeous cover and cutesy title and main character named Tiff, started off in line with my expectations. There's a meet-cute, a love interest, etc. However, it quickly veered away from the cute and toward a deeper, more poignant story that exceeded my expectations. This is the rare case where despite the misdirection of the cover, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book at all and I found myself unexpectedly loving this book.

A Straight Line to My Heart is about Tiff, recent high school graduate and wannabe reporter. She's the type of girl who says things like,
"If you can't get a boy, get a book, that's my motto."
Basically, I instantly liked her and related to her. Her world consists of Reggie, her adoptive father, Bull, her adoptive brother/father figure, and Kayla, her best friend. I expected Davey, the boy she meets-cute at the library of all places, to quickly become the center of that world. Thankfully, Bill Condon takes my expectations and shoves them where the sun don't shine. (Forks?) Davey is a thought, for sure, but Tiff's reality is that she's a high school graduate without college prospects. Her one prospect is an internship at a local paper, where she's immediately schooled by a wizened oldtimer named Shark. This is a slice of life story about the different elements that affect your life: family, friends, colleagues, work, and yes, that person you want to be more than friends with.

What I really liked about this book is that there is such a strong sense of family, but "family" isn't a mother and a father. It's Reggie and Bull. Reggie isn't even Bull's biological father but his stepfather. However, a lack of bloodline or traditional roles doesn't mean there's less of a family dynamic. Tiff actually has one of the best relationships with her family that I've seen in YA. After Bull says good night to her one night, Tiff thinks,
"We must have had a thousand moments like this, being together and happy. Not one of them stands out from the rest. I suppose it's like eating chocolate. You love it at the time, but after you've licked the last trace from your lips, it's just gone. 
I turn on my computer and write about today in my journal, so I can keep it."
It's such a simple sentiment but is loaded with so much feeling. That's how I would characterize the whole book really. There were so many little moments throughout the book that I loved. The ending was another little moment, but a big one to Tiff, and it was perfect.

Rating: 4/5 stars.


  1. Wow, this sounds really great Maggie. I love sweet, heart-warming books that also have a lot of depth. Depth = almost always ensures that I will enjoy something! Great review!

    1. Catie, this book reminded me a bit of Holier Than Thou and that book is definitely a Catie book!

  2. I am so glad you loved this, Magz. Bill managed to fit so much emotion into such a short story :)

    1. I don't know how Aussie authors manage to get so much in! Bill, Cath... love them!

  3. Oooh you make me really want to read this now! You're right, it looks like a fluffy love story from the cover (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that) but the family dynamic sounds so much more interesting!


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