Author: Kelly Thompson
Illustrator: Meredith McClaren
Publisher: Dark Horse Originals
Pages: Paperback; 160
Recommended Age Group: 16+
Release Date: September 29, 2015
When the Man with No Name breaks Emma's heart, she wants to die. But you never die from these things; you just want to. In a moment of weakness, she wishes her broken heart away and a mysterious stranger--who may or may not be totally evil--obliges. But emptiness is even worse than grief, and Emma sets out to collect the seven pieces of her heart spread across the country, a journey that forces her to face her own history and the cost of recapturing it, and leads inevitably to a confrontation with the Man with No Name himself!
I do believe that my own heart might be a bit broken after reading this. Most of us have suffered heartbreak at one point in our lives. I think all of us have at some point wished we could just rip it out, in an effort make the pain stop. That's why Heart in a Box is so amazing. It's a concept that everyone can relate to, wrapped up in a fascinating story.
Let's start with Emma's character, and the fact that I totally loved her. Here was a woman who I could totally get behind. She looks like a real person. She acts like a real person. She makes terrible decisions on a whim, mostly due to heartbreak, like a real person. What I'm attempting to explain is that Emma is easy to love. Even if the story didn't always make perfect sense, she was what I hung onto. This perfectly flawed woman who just wanted to feel whole again.
Which brings me to the fact that everything isn't laid out in black and white. Kelly Thompson's story assumes that you're ready to let go of reality, and be swept away. Once I stopped trying to figure out exactly how Brock and his offer worked, I found myself enjoying this much more. It's a story about love and loss. About accepting the pain, with the joy, and sometimes letting someone else have a little piece of you. If you're willing to let it, Emma's story will quickly pull you in.
Look, I enjoyed this. That's the long, and the short of it. I especially love Meredith McClaren's slightly gritty, and toned down illustrations. I'm going to be on the lookout for more from these two for sure!