Age recommendation: Teens
It is all I can do to not gush about Heart on a Chain. This novel is my first book by author Cindy C Bennett. I chose it because I wanted to read a high school fiction novel, and the synopsis of this book sounded interesting. I was concerned that there would be explicit content and words in the story, but I needn’t worry. There were no explicit scenes or strong language. Unless kissing is considered explicit, all who wants a clean read can read this novel.
The female protagonist and main character in Heart on a Chain is 17-year-old Kate Mosley. She lives with her drug-addict mother who abuses her for any minor mistakes made. Her father is an alcoholic who is rarely at home. Kate also faces abuse at school where she is friendless and “everyone’s favorite loser”. All this change when Henry Jamison returns.
Henry is the male protagonist in Heart on a Chain. He moved away six years ago and returns to find Kate changed from the confident, “funny girl who always smiled” and made others laugh to a girl being picked on by everyone and suspicious of him. He wants to be her friend, but Kate is constantly avoiding him. After a few weeks, she finally relents and allows him to befriend her. As he slowly gains her trust and she allows herself to trust him, tragedy strikes.
After I started reading Heart on a Chain, I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. It was such a sweet, touching story and yet, the harsh themes in it provided a balance that reminds a reader of real life. Kate has a vulnerable, peaceable, and soft personality, while Henry has a kind, charming, and courteous personality. This makes them both very likeable characters. Throughout the story, we see certain negative traits in them, but those are overshadowed by their goodness, especially in Henry’s character. That guy is such a perfect gentleman! It makes one wonder why perfect gentlemen only exist in books. If he ever existed, no doubt he would be the most popular boy in high school.
When I completed the novel, I immediately re-read it. I hardly ever re-read novels immediately after completion because I usually don’t have the time for it, but Heart on a Chain was so worth it. I enjoyed every single page of the novel. There were typos in it though, and if this book ever goes through reprinting, I hope they can be corrected then.
I highly recommend this book to all teens. It is rare to find a clean teen fiction book nowadays, and Heart on a Chain is a refreshing read because of its lack of explicitness. This is just the type of book I’d like to see in movie form. Furthermore, the story of Heart on a Chain also serves as a strong reminder that not all teens are fortunate. Many face abuse in home and school. It is how we deal with them that matter.