These Vengeful Hearts
Published September 8, 2020
About These Vengeful Hearts
Anyone can ask the Red Court for a favor…but every request comes at a cost. And once the deed is done, you’re forever in their debt.
Whenever something scandalous happens at Heller High, the Red Court is the name on everyone’s lips. Its members–the most elite female students in the school–deal out social ruin and favors in equal measure, their true identities a secret known only to their ruthless leader: the Queen of Hearts.
Sixteen-year-old Ember Williams has seen firsthand the damage the Red Court can do. Two years ago, they caused the accident that left her older sister paralyzed. Now, Ember is determined to hold them accountable…by taking the Red Court down from the inside.
But crossing enemy lines will mean crossing moral boundaries, too–ones Ember may never be able to come back from. She always knew taking on the Red Court would come at a price, but will the cost of revenge be more than she’s willing to sacrifice?
It took me a few chapters to get into this book. Revenge stories aren’t really something I typically enjoy, but this seemed like it might be more of a reckoning type situation rather than revenge, so I really wanted to give it a chance. Something about it reminded me of PANIC by Lauren Oliver, which I really liked.
Once I was a few chapters in, I started to get really into the story. I love the sisterly devotion between Ember and April. They respect each other’s autonomy, but they love each other and desperately want to protect each other, even when it hurts them.
I also found myself really drawn to Ember’s friendship (which I guess I use loosely?) with Haley. I liked that they have this transactional thing on the surface, but I totally sensed Haley’s loneliness and the potential for Ember and Haley to really bond over normal stuff.
As Ember gets in deeper and deeper with the Red Court, she faces some ugly truths about herself. I liked that she struggled with those parts of herself and even felt disturbed by some of the things that excited her.
On the whole, I felt like this was a pretty engrossing story– I read it in less than 24 hours– and though it explored some darker territory in terms of power and revenge, I didn’t feel like it glorified revenge.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Ember’s best friend, Gideon, is Korean and gay. Ember’s sister is paraplegic.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used infrequently.
Kissing between boy and girl. Kissing between two adults having an affair.
Ember’s sister was injured in an accident which caused a broken femur and a broken spine and left her unable to walk. The story includes some brief descriptions of that accident.
Ember and a friend swipe glasses of wine at an art gala. Ember takes a sip of beer at a house party where other teens are drinking.
Note: I received a free copy of THESE VENGEFUL HEARTS in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.
About Katherine Laurin
Katherine Laurin lives in Colorado with her husband, two sons, and tiny dog. When she’s not writing, Katherine enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, and listening to true crime podcasts. These Vengeful Hearts is her first young adult novel.