Heart on a Chain by Cindy C. Bennett
17-year-old Kate has lived her whole life in abject poverty, with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother, who severely abuses Kate. At school, her second-hand clothing marks her as a target. Her refusal to stand up for herself makes her the recipient of her classmates taunts and bullying. That is, until Henry returns.
Henry Jamison moved away six years earlier, just as he and Kate had begun an to develop feelings for one another. He returns to find the bright, funny, outgoing girl he had known now timidly hiding in corners, barely speaking to anyone around her, suspicious of even him.
Kate can’t figure out what game Henry is playing with her – for surely it is a game. What else would the gorgeous, popular boy from her past want with her?
Kate finally decides to trust Henry’s intentions, opening her heart to him. Just when it seems he might be genuine in his friendship, tragedy strikes, threatening everything Kate has worked so hard to gain. Can Henry help her to overcome this new devastation, or will it tear them apart forever?
Read: September 17, 2012
This is one of those books that tends to be overlooked because, well, the cover is awful. The story is sad and the cover is even sadder. I’ve put off reading this one for the longest time because I am always in the mood for light reads and rarely want to read about girls being abused. But I finally got around to picking this up and I’m glad I did.
The plot is relatively good. There are parts where I thought the characters were going to do something predictable but they ended up behaving differently. Although Kate was really stubborn, and there were parts when I wanted to yell at her to do something. Or say something. Or let other people swoop in and take care of her.
I also didn’t like how she kept pushing Henry away. If you like someone, like them. If you can’t like them, then don’t. I don’t like wishy-washiness, even if you are being beaten up. I also need to mention that Henry’s family is simply too good to be true. It provides such a black and white contrast to Kate’s own awful family, that it became almost unbelievable. No family is as perfect as Henry’s.
Henry was perfect as well. I don’t blame other readers if they would think that he fits too well into the knight-in-shiny-car category. You can’t also blame me if Henry earns a place in my top 20 leads, not because he’s handsome and smart and rich, but because he didn’t change when he returned. He treated Kate the way he treated her years ago and he stood by her side. I am a huge believer of loyalty, and he gets super points for that.
Oh, another thing that was too neatly tied at the end was how this girl who used to hate Kate became her close friend after news broke out about her abusive mother. This girl even physically hurt her when she started hanging out with Henry again. Remorse, yes. But sudden offer and (surprising) acceptance of friendship? Given how Kate was so adamant on not telling Henry her secrets and how she refused help so many times? Unnnhh.
Still, the ending was a good one. Again: I like hopeful endings, the kind that lets us think the story is still ongoing, the characters are still learning and better things await.
I enjoyed this book. 3.5 out of 5 stars.