Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey
Random House Group: 8/21/18
eBook review copy; 272 pages
Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey is a highly recommended, quirky, unique character driven novel that is part dystopian, part alternate reality.
The territory is an isolated cult/settlement that was founded in the
north decades ago. In the territory is it 1985, including the music, TV
shows, listening to Walkmans, album covers, shoulder pads, track suits,
and more. The narrative is told in three parts from the point-of-view of
three different characters: the girl, the dog, and the boy.
The girl is fifteen-year-old Pony Darlene Fontaine. Pony is our first
introduction to the territory and the one who begins the story of her
mother, Billie Jean Fontaine, who has taken the truck and left her
family. Billie Jean arrived in the territory seventeen years earlier,
married The Heavy, Pony's father, and tried to fit in with the
townspeople who never totally accepted her. Now the town is helping to
search for her, but never beyond their own borders. Pony is an excellent
character who is examining her circumstances, her mother's life, and
has a plan. She is also the one who introduces us to a sinister way the
territory makes money.
The dog is the Fontaines' and brings a unique perspective and keen
observations to the story about Billie Jean, the community, and all the
characters, while furthering the narrative thread. The boy, named
Supernatural, adds additional information and completes the story,
allowing a complete picture to emerge.
Telling the story only through the first person perspective of these
three characters and what they know is utterly extraordinary. I was
uncertain about Heartbreaker for almost half the novel and then
the story began to emerge and take shape. It increasingly became a
compelling, fascinating look at a community, setting aside their
isolation and the peculiar features of the cult, through the eyes of
three very different, unique characters.
The ending was the clincher and increased my assessment of the whole
novel. I also keep thinking about the novel based on the ending and want
to re-read it someday to catch information and clues I might have
My review copy was courtesy of Penguin
Random House Group.