The perfect daughter is dead. And a secret is eating her family alive...
Jenna is given another shot at life when she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Eternally grateful to Callie and her family, Jenna gets closer to them, but she soon discovers that Callie’s perfect family is hiding some very dark secrets …
Callie’s parents are grieving, yet Jenna knows they’re only telling her half the story. Where is Callie’s sister Sophie? She’s been ‘abroad’ since her sister’s death but something about her absence doesn’t add up. And when Jenna meets Callie’s boyfriend Nathan, she makes a shocking discovery.
Jenna knows that Callie didn’t die in an accident. But how did she die? Jenna is determined to discover the truth but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.
2016 has certainly proved to be a busy year for Louise Jensen with the publication of her debut novel The Sister earlier in the Summer, which I've bought a copy of but not had a chance to read yet, and now the publication of her second book The Gift.
I was already intrigued by the premise of this storyline as soon as I read the blurb, I mean the gift of life by receiving a donor heart is something special but to then find out that things are not quite what they seemed who wouldn't want to find out more. And as soon as I started reading I too found myself questioning everything and if it wasn't such a busy time would have loved nothing more than to have been able to devour the book in a single sitting to get all my questions answered immediately.
From the opening page I was drawn to Jenna and could understand why she wanted to know about who her donor was, but could also totally understand why her family and friends were worried about her doing so. She'd already been through such a big ordeal with her illness which resulted in the need for the transplant, and her subsequent break-up with boyfriend Sam, so why put herself through the stress of contacting her donor's family who may not necessarily welcome the contact. And then of course once her suspicions were raised, she couldn't let matters rest which brought her into contact with some dodgy characters and left you wondering who she could trust and who was telling the truth. Even though Jenna was rightly so the central character in the book, I have to say Sam is my favourite and I would love to have someone like him by my side.
I wasn't originally going to mention the topic of Cellular Memory in my review as thought it would be considered a spoiler as it's a major factor in the storyline but seeing as the author has already written a blog post about it I've decided to include. I had heard in the past of transplant recipients taking on mannerisms and likes/dislikes of their donor but I'd never heard about donors recalling memories that are not theirs. To me I'd always associated memory with the brain which currently cannot be transplanted, but who knows what will be possible in the future, so reading Jenna's experiences was a real eye-opener and if I'm honest freaked me out quite a bit. I'm sure that if I was ever in that situation I would check myself into the nearest hospital to lock myself away! It was clear that Louise Jensen had done a lot of research into Cellular Memory but at the same time as this is a work of fiction I'm sure she has used some creative license too.
Would I recommend The Gift? Absolutely, it totally exceeded my expectations so I'm looking forward to what Louise Jensen has in store for us next, but in the meantime I have the advantage of going back and reading her debut novel.
I'd like to thank Kim at Bookouture for offering me the opportunity to read this fantastic book.