DISCOVER AN AUTHOR: Review of Shivaun Plozza’s Tin Heart

TIN HEART | Shivaun Plozza


Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: March 12, 2019


When Marlowe gets a heart transplant and a second chance at life, all she wants to do is to thank her donor’s family. Maybe then she can move on. Maybe then she’ll discover who she is if she’s no longer The Dying Girl.

But with a little brother who dresses like every day is Halloween, a vegan warrior for a mother, and an all-out war with the hot butcher’s apprentice next door, Marlowe’s life is already pretty complicated. And her second chance is about to take an unexpected turn…”

Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy from Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

First and foremost, thank you to Flatiron Books for sending me an ARC copy of Tin Heart! This wasn’t my first experience in reading Shivaun Plozza’s works. I was first introduced to Plozza when I received an ARC of Frankie from Netgalley. You can find my review for that book here. But in summation, I thought that book was brilliant. Not perfect, but full of character and heart.

It can’t be me. There is no “me” anymore. They’re seeing a girl with a borrowed heart.

Very much like her first book, Tin Heart is carried along by a strange cast of characters that can best be summed up as quirky. Marlowe, our protagonist, is a young woman who is also full of heart but is saddled with a great many issues, namely her identity. Following her reception of a new heart from an unknown donor, Marlowe struggles to determine her true self.

I thought the author addressed organ transplantation and the emotions that may be involved in that sort of situation quite nicely. Marlowe’s determination to find herself once more but to also find a way to thank her faceless organ donor was a messy business, though.

There were many moments of awkwardness, sadness, and pure happiness that were relatable and uncomfortable. Marlowe made bad decisions, but that’s the point. She was on a journey that took her to strange places and encouraged her to be reckless. There were so many frustrating moments in the book that really just made me cringe, but thankfully there were just as many moments in the book that struck me deeply.

Why the hell am I still not able to be in charge of what happens to me? When do I start getting to make the choices?

I really liked Marlowe’s family, though I thought both her mother and brother, Pip, were a tad bit too extreme in their quirkiness. At times I found it hard to sympathize as I thought they were just too unbelievable. But they were both still fairly lovable and the messages they carried were useful and powerful.

The family dynamics in Tin Heart are wonderful but I wasn’t too keen on the romance, as I thought it was off-balanced and happened too suddenly. It’s supposed to be a hate to love relationship, but it was missing some of the nuance that makes those types of relationships endearing. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Marlowe’s female friendships, mostly because they missed key stages of development.

Tin Heart is a lovely little book that packs a punch. There is plenty of dark humor and odd characters to keep you invested, and there’s plenty of emotion to make your heart skip. The writing is effortless, almost stream of consciousness, and the messages are profound. Even though not all aspects of the story are perfectly executed, Plozza has done her best to make you feel something.

My Rating:


Shivaun Plozza is an award-winning Children’s and YA writer. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Frankie, was a CBCA Notable Book, shortlisted for the Inky Awards, Highly Commended at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and won the YA category of the Davitt Awards. Her second novel, Tin Heart, was released in March 2018. Her short story ‘The Point’ is part of Where the Shoreline Used to Be, an anthology of YA fiction, and recently her footy-themed children’s story ‘The Challenge’ was part of Speccy-tacular: AFL Stories. Other short works have appeared in Above WaterVivid and The Victorian Writer. When she’s not writing she works as an editor and manuscript assessor.

Visit her beautiful website at:

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