Adam feels lost after the death of his grandfather. With his abusive father having abandoned his family, Adam is forced to become the man of the house, helping his mother to look after his younger sister, who after suffering from an accident, has lost her ability to speak. Adam feels as if he has been left with a heavy burden. That is until he meets William, a man who has received Adam's grandfathers donated heart, and who has no family of his own. With the help of William, Adam and his family start to get their lives back on the right track. However, not everyone in Adam's community approves of the addition to his family. Adam must fight to keep William and his family safe from those who are trying to take advantage of his families vulnerability
The book follows Adam, a teenager who's grandfather has recently passed away. What Adam doesn't know is that his grandfather was an organ donor, and donated his heart to a man called William. After visiting Adam's family, William soon becomes an integral part of their lives, becoming both a friend and father figure to Adam. I adored the relationship between Adam and William, and as the book progressed, it was clear just how much they cared for each other, and needed each other in their lives. Both Adam and William have experienced trauma in their lives, and I loved how they were able to come together and help each other through their problems.
The main theme that runs throughout this book is family. When we think about family, we think about people who are related to us through blood. However, family is a lot deeper than that, and we often see close family friends or the signinficant others of family members as our family too. People who we care about but who we are not related to can often feel more like family to us than the estranged aunt who we only see at funerals does, and this book portrayed that perfectly. William fits into Adam's family as if he has always been there, and I adored the lovely, wholesome family vibe.
Another sterotype that we seem to still have is the idea that family members have to look alike. We live in a world where biracial couples are something we encounter on a daily basis, and children often get adopted by parents of a different race to their own, yet the idea that families have to all be the same race ramains. The sad reality of this prejudice was shown in Adam's community, where his neighbours assumed that just because William was of a different race and religion, his intentions had to be be bad. It's sad that we live in a world wher we are not trusted if we try to help a stranger. People like Adam and William do exist in the world, but sadly society seems to want to keep us divided. Despite feeling sad over how Adam's community treated William so terribly, the fact that they didn't let anyone come between the family was a positive message, and showed that we can all love and help each other despite our differences.
There are some important but upsetting themes that run throughout this book, including illness, death, domestic abuse and racism. I found the racism particularly hard hitting, as it was extremely relevant to what is happening today. It was awful what Adam had to indure, and I felt bad for him for wanting to distance himself from the Muslim community for his own safety, knowing that joining in with a peaceful protest would turn into violence by white supremacists. Although this scene was upsetting, it was extremely important in showing how racism affects Muslim people like Adam, who only want to live in peace and not be labeled a terrorist simply for existing.
I found the scene depicting domestic abuse to be quite graphic, and felt as if it could potentially be triggering. Adam's father was truly despicable. Along with physically abusing Adam's mother, he also attempted to manipulate Adam. I did however love that Adam was able to get his revenge, and showed no remorse for it.
Although I loved the characters, I did have a couple of minor issues, particularly with Laila, Adam's love interest. I felt as if for the majority of the book, she served no purpose other than being the love interest, and I felt as if she could have been completely excluded and it would have made little difference to the plot. I felt as if the only important thing she did was let Adam tell her his problems, and stick up for him right at the end of the book. I also felt as if a little more backstory was needed on William, as we never really found out what happened to his own family, and why he didn't have a home.
So the ending, oh my god. I don't want to spoil anything, but Irfan Master has managed to completely break my heart. For some reason I was optimistic, and thought everything would be resolved, but instead I just ended up a sobbing mess. Honestly I don't know how I am going to recover from how heartbreaking the last few chapters were!
I am so glad I took a chance on this book! Although it is an important read and not the mindless fantasy I had initially gone searching for, I loved the wholesome view of what it means to be family. Irfan Master is an extremely talented author, and if you are looking for a good diverse contemporary book, this is it!
Out of Heart is now available to purchase!