Book review: Instructions for a Second-Hand Heart by Tamsyn Murray

This book is shortlisted for this years Bolton Book Awards which we are participating in in year 7 and 8 Book Club. This book has intrigued me from the start as I had a heart murmur as a child and spent time in hospital but nothing as severe as the characters in this story, but I could relate to it slightly and have an interest in this subject. Who knows when we may need a donor.

Blurb: Jonny isn’t like normal teenagers. Everyday he wakes up in hospital. Kept alive by a machine. Everyday he wonders if this is the day they’ll find a donor match for his heart. Everyday he wonders if this will be the day he’ll die – Everyday, Niamh fights with her perfect brother Leo. Every single day, Leo wins. Everyday, Niamh dreams of a life without Leo. But all that changed on the day of the accident, the day everything falls apart…l.

This book is told from two different perspectives, Jonny’s and Niamh’s. Jonny wants to know who his heart donor is and gets so close without being 100% sure. Could Niamh be a connection but they then become romantically involved and everything starts to fall apart. This story also shows how life can be difficult for a donors family and a person who receives a donation. Should they be happy? Sometimes they feel incomplete and want to know more.

AR level – 5.3

I rate this book 10/10

I am a donor! If you’re not and want to be a donor then please sign onto the organ donor register today! Don’t leave it too late! You never know when you may need your life saving, so please help to save others.


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