With essences from Stephen King’s IT and Firestarter and Dicken’s Great Expectations, SHE HAS BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE by J.D. Barker is one of the most intriguing stories I’ve read this year.
“Her name was Stella, and I loved her from the first moment I saw her. Even after watching her kill a man who looked a lot like me, I couldn’t help but love her.” It was this opening that made me ask what the hell is going on here. At 704 pages (kindle version), Barker didn’t fail with one word, scene, or chapter to keep me mesmerized with Jack Thatch’s story.
From 1984 to 2020, we follow eight-year-old Jack’s journey and the people in his life: his aunt Jo (my favorite character in the book), Stella (the mysterious girl he meets every August 8th in a cemetery), Subject “D” (the little boy locked in a room that everyone fears), Dunk (Jack’s best friend and local drug dealer), and Mrs. Oliver (a Miss Havisham reincarnation with a Barker’s twist). Each character was wonderfully complex and added depth and an emotionally rich world to dive into.
There were so many elements in the book, a love story, a sci-fi element, a coming of age, horror, suspense, mystery, and action. Barker weaves all those genres in a richly creative way that kept me wondering, anticipating, and engrossed until the end.
SHE HAS A BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE is a haunting and beautiful story that will captivate you. Also, to all those who read the hardback book, kudos to you! That thing was like holding the Rock of Gibraltar up.