I lost her.
No, I didn’t lose her. I threw her away.
She was my best friend.
I was never supposed to fall in love with her.
I was careless.
She was heartbroken.
I was doing fine until she came back into my life and reminded me what love was supposed to feel like.
When it’s all said and done, she may not want to stay, but this time I’m going to do everything in my power to not let her go.
“Real love stories never end.”
I had high expectations when it came to Jensen and Mia’s story, and Claire Contreras delivered flawlessly. The exquisite writing, the flawed yet relatable characters and the beautiful second chance love story is what makes Paper Hearts an unforgettable read for me.
When I read Kaleidoscope Hearts and met Jensen and Mia, it becomes apparent that there’s something between them and that it went bad. So bad that Mia still refuses to be civil to Jensen even after five years. Claire Contreras gave us a glimpse of what went wrong with Jensen and Mia in Torn Hearts. Both of them made a decision that would forever alter the cause of their lives leaving devastation in its wake.
Ours was a story that would remain untold, because living it was painful enough.
Paper Hearts picked up right where Torn Hearts ended, so that goes without saying that you need to read Torn Hearts before starting this or you’ll miss a lot of the back story. Anyway, Mia is moving to New York putting her in the same city as Jensen, and this is where their second-chance love story begins.
Jensen and Mia had a lot of obstacles to overcome. For one, Mia is afraid of trusting Jensen again. And I don’t blame her for not jumping into a relationship with him immediately. She was devastated and betrayed by what happened. But I can’t say Mia was faultless either. I think they were both young, they both made a stupid decision, and most of all, they have a lot of growing up to do.
They say it takes twenty-one days to break a habit. It’s been approximately one thousand eight hundred and twenty six since I last held her hand in mine and I’m still waiting for the remains of her to break off of me.
Five years after their relationship crashed and burned, Jensen has a chance to win Mia back. And boy, did he pull out all the stops on that one. While PH is told mainly through Mia’s POV, we do get Jensen’s feelings via his weekly column. And it was revealing. I just loved how he allowed himself to be vulnerable like that. He groveled throughout the whole book. I really felt for him. You could feel his regret and sorrow for hurting Mia throughout the whole book.
“I’d walk on glass if that meant getting to you. I’d swim an ocean, climb a mountain, I’d do anything.”
I really loved how Claire Contreras built up Jensen’s character. I understood his motivations. I didn’t necessarily agree with all of his decisions but I understood and can sympathize why he made those decisions. That’s something that Ms. Contreras did throughout the book, not just with Jensen’s character but with Mia as well.
In Kaleidoscope Hearts, Mia was the crazy, fun BFF who’s always up for a good time. In Paper Hearts, we get to meet the other side of Mia. Her frustration at not being able to get over Jensen was palpable. I felt her struggle to forgive and trust Jensen again.
With one look he’d managed to bring my guard back down. If I stayed any longer, I would let him break down all the stones I’d built in the aftermath of his love, and I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t bear to let one night break me open like that.
The presence of Mia’s and Jensen’s family, their friends, including Jensen’s daughter added an interesting layer to the story. I loved Mia’s relationship with her own family. It’s so refreshing to read a contemporary romance where the heroine actually has a healthy relationship with her parents. Usually, it’s either they’re dead, alcoholic or abusive. And even though Jensen had the typical “dysfunctional” family common in fiction, he does have a foster mother who provided a more or less a stable home for him.
Did I mention that I really, really loved this book? It’s been a while since a book has touched me on visceral level, and Paper Hearts managed to do that. Claire Contreras’ writing was just gorgeous. The flow, the pacing, the dialogue—everything just worked so well. I am usually leery of overly romantic and wordy heroes but Jensen…what can I say, he slayed me from the get go. And the way he talks, his sensitivity is actually consistent with his character. He’s a writer. Words are his life. It simply fits.
“I’ve lived in pain since the moment I lost you. I’ve learned to live with it, but I haven’t learned to accept it.”
Read this book. If you’re looking for a second-chance love story with a healthy dose of sweet angst, I’d recommend this book. Paper Hearts definitely earns a spot on my favorites shelf. I won’t be forgetting Jensen and Mia’s story very soon.
“I love you, and there’s no negotiating with what I feel in my heart.”