Heartbreaker // Claudia Dey

“Aerial view: two thousand square miles of forest. Population: 391. We started as a single busload searching for the end of the world.”

I won’t lie to you, this is a weird book. Not quirky-cute-hipster weird, just….weird. I wasn’t going to post about it, but here I am, three months later and I’m still thinking about it. To me, that’s often indicative of a good book. This is a rare case where I’m not actually sure, but I’d like to think so.

Perhaps it’s the constant stream of ’80s rock, perhaps it’s my fascination with cults, perhaps it is simply my love of the bizarre, but Heartbreaker has stuck with me. 

Pony Darlene Fontaine. The Heavy. Supernatural. Billie Jean. Gena Rowlands. Those are the stars of this novel. They live in the year 1985, in perpetuity. Pony is 15 when her mother gets up to go to the store and doesn’t return. The novel is spent figuring the how and why of the Territory in which she lives, the how and why of being a teenager, and the mystery of Billie Jean herself.

As odd as Heartbreaker is, it’s undeniably imaginative and a fresh take on cult fiction. I haven’t read anything quite like it, and Pony’s voice is particularly compelling (as is Gena Rowlands’). While the Twin Peaks comparisons are apt, the Stranger Things comparisons are misleading. It can be hard to follow at times, but Heartbreaker is a journey worth taking. 

*I received a review copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

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